There are several options for RBs that I would not draft this season. Avoiding running back busts in Fantasy Football has become increasingly difficult. With the lack of true three down backs, and the naturally high risk of injury that comes with the position, it’s very easy to swing and miss when drafting your starting RBs.
I’ve mentioned before how I believe RBs drafted in the first two rounds (David Johnson, LeVeon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Lamar Miller, and Eddie Lacy) are high risk picks. However, they all offer a potentially very high reward if things go well for them. When looking at RBs that I don’t want to draft, I’m looking at RBs who carry a high risk factor for where they’re being drafted, but also don’t have the upside near the RBs listed above.
There are three RBs currently being drafted in the third round that all have high risk factors, combined with a limited upside. Those three backs are; Thomas Rawls (ADP 31), C.J. Anderson (ADP 34), and Carlos Hyde (ADP 37). Anderson and Rawls are both undrafted free agents and only have 338 and 147 career carries respectively. They both also have talented rookie RBs behind them that will be looking to steal some playing time.
Hyde is in a different scenario. He was a second round pick following a great college career at Ohio State. He also doesn’t appear to have much competition in the backfield. The 49ers offense looks like a disaster though. They finished dead last in the league in offense last year. They have a terrible offensive line, questionable QB play, and no receivers on the outside to help stretch out the field.
Anderson and Hyde are at least healthy. Rawls is coming off a serious ankle injury, and he’s not expected to see any playing time in the preseason. This makes Thomas Rawls the RB I would refrain from drafting.
Don’t Draft This Running Back
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (ADP 31)
Rawls was great last season. He literally came out of nowhere as an undrafted FA rookie who nobody had ever heard of. He leapfrogged Christine Michael and Robert Turbin to be the No. 2 RB behind perennial pro-bowler Marshawn Lynch. Lynch got hurt, and Rawls exploded on to the scene.
Rawls averaged 5.6 YPC behind a porous offensive line (Lynch averaged 3.4 YPC by comparison). Rawls set a record for the most rushing yards in his first six games by any undrafted player. He also set the Seahawks single game rookie rushing record with a 209 yard performance against the 49ers. Rawls finished the season with 830 rushing yards and four TDs on only 147 attempts before his season ended in Week 15 with an ankle injury.
That all sounds very nice. Now for the bad stuff. Rawls’ biggest issue is durability. Rawls runs with a “beast mode” type mentality, but at only 5’9″, 215 pounds, this leaves him highly susceptible to injury. In three years at Michigan, Rawls barely saw the field and transferred to Central Michigan his senior year. He earned the starting job, and was very productive. However, injuries limited him to only seven games. It’s highly unlikely Rawls will see more than 200 carries this year.
The Seahawks drafted rookie RBs C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins. Even worse, Head Coach Pete Carroll just stated a couple days ago that he wants to use Christine Michael and Rawls as a 1-2 punch. The Seahawks offensive line appears to be one of the weakest units in the league as well, adding to the degree of difficulty for whoever is toting the rock.
The Seahawks offense is also undergoing a transformation into a shotgun/spread/heavy volume/short passing attack. With a talented stable of receivers, and one of the leagues best QBs in Russell Wilson, this scheme makes the most sense for this offense. It will also minimize the pressure on their offensive line.
That leads into the last issue with Rawls, he has little to no receiving ability, catching only nine passes last season. I wouldn’t touch him with a 30 foot pole in PPR leagues. I really like Rawls as a player, but his circumstances heading into this season are far from ideal from a Fantasy perspective.
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