The old adage has always been that fantasy titles are not won or lost in the first few rounds, but how well you draft in the middle-to-late rounds. To an extent that is true, but not entirely, and it’s especially true when it comes to fantasy football.
If you make the wrong decision early, you may leave yourself with little chance for recovery. With that thought in mind, here are a few running backs that I likely won’t be drafting this season:
Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
The clock on Turner’s productivity could be quickly coming to an end. At age 30, he’s had over 300 carries in three of the past four seasons, a workload that is going to have a negative effect on a back that utilizes a brutalizing style between the tackles.
While he did rush for 1,340 yards and 11 TD in 2011, the production really slowed in the second half. After a strong September (5.6 yards/carry), he failed to produce better than 4.0 yards/carry in each of the next three months. In December, when fantasy owners needed him most, he managed just 220 yards and one TD over four games.
The numbers are also skewed by a huge game on January 1, where he demolished Tampa Bay for 172 yards and two TD. That’s the type of game that gives hope after three sub-standard months, though it really shouldn’t.
Throw in the fact that he is a complete non-factor in the passing game, and there are a lot of reasons for skepticism. Considering his current ADP of 19.16 according to Mock Draft Central, there is way too much risk to use such an early selection.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
We all know what is possible when he is healthy. The problem is that we really won’t have a clue if he is or is not until the season has started.
At this point, we need to see him on the field to be sure, and that likely won't happen enough until after your draft has come and gone. Just consider, with Toby Gerhart in place, even if he is close to 100 percent, the Vikings may opt to take things slowly with Peterson and ease him into things.
Now, you throw in the recent brush with the law, and things get even more complicated.
Considering that you would likely have to use a first-round pick to acquire him (ADP of 12.82), there really is too much risk for me to consider. Maybe I am going to miss the boat, but I would much rather go with a safer option than get burned.
Carolina Panthers Running Backs
I figured I would lump them all together, because the story really is the same. Can you tell me, on any given week, if Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams or Mike Tolbert is going to get the bulk of the carries? A two-back system is one thing, but a three-back system brings far too many questions and concerns.
When you add in the fact that Cam Newton could easily vulture a few goal line carries, things just get even worse.
If I am selecting anyone out of this mess, it would be Stewart because he has the most upside, but he would have to be a bench option. The fact is that it is going to take several consecutive weeks of productivity before I have enough confidence to utilize him in my starting lineup.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
The truth is that I could see myself selecting Charles if he drops down draft boards, but his current ADP of 15.86 says otherwise. There is just too much risk considering he is coming off a season-ending injury and that the team brought in Peyton Hillis to help reduce his touches.
In a PPR league I would be more apt to take the risk, as he should play in all passing downs and make an impact. However, don’t ignore the risk and assume you are getting the Charles of old. If he does slide into the third round, however, I wouldn’t hesitate.
What are your thoughts of these running backs? Would you draft them? Who else are you trying to avoid?
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: