2021 Fantasy Football RB Busts: Running Backs To Avoid In Drafts
With 2021 fantasy football drafts approaching, here are some 2021 fantasy football RB busts and overvalued players to avoid.
2021 fantasy football average draft position comes from FantasyPros’ half-point PPR consensus ADP.
2021 Fantasy Football RB Busts: Overvalued RBs To Avoid In Drafts
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (4.7 ADP, RB5)
Let me set the record straight; by no means is this an indictment on Saquon Barkley‘s talent. He is all-world as an athlete and has proven he can be the best running back in the NFL when healthy. Coming off of a gruesome knee injury that delayed his surgery by nearly a month, however, he now has much less appeal at the top of fantasy drafts. Barkley is still a worthy first-round pick, but not in the top five where he’s currently going.
Given the possible limitation to start the season and the risk he runs of post-surgical soreness or nagging, Barkley’s expectations need to be lowered a bit. He missed time in 2019 as well, so staying on the field has been an issue for him. First-round picks should be as safe as possible, but right now Barkley’s health is still a viable concern.
Accordingly, there are at least seven or eight running backs that should be going ahead of Barkley in fantasy drafts. He’s worth nabbing if he falls to the end of the first round, but I can’t justify using one of the first few overall picks on him this year.
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Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP 30.7, RB17)
The Eagles’ offense scares me in general, which makes it hard to feel good about Miles Sanders. While he’s clearly skilled, he also has obvious flaws in his game, particularly with his running vision. Sanders struggles to read holes between tackles and makes the wrong cut at times, bouncing into defenders more often than a fantasy manager would like.
Sanders is a good receiving back when his hands work and can operate as a pseudo-scat back despite his limitations as a blocker. He struggled mightily as a pass-catcher last year, however, barely hauling in half of his targets (53.8%). He had fumbling issues last season as well, fumbling four times in 12 games after only doing so twice in 16 games the previous year.
While Sanders’ sophomore season was a disappointment, his fantasy outlook doesn’t appear substantially brighter this year. Philadelphia’s offense is in transition with significant changes at quarterback, head coach, offensive coordinator, and the wide receiving corps compared to last year. Sanders is still the feature back, but with so many moving parts the offense could be a bit of a mess, especially given the rough state of the offensive line.
Assuming Jalen Hurts sticks at QB, he could also diminish Sanders’ fantasy value considerably, especially in the passing game. As a run-first quarterback, Hurts will consume carries and be more likely to run the ball himself rather than dump it off to Sanders in the backfield.
Sanders’ third-round ADP would be a bargain if another QB was under center or if Philadelphia’s offensive line was trustworthy, but there are just too many red flags with his performance and team situation to draft him that high.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (104.7 ADP, RB37)
Zack Moss was a letdown in his rookie season. While he was productive in college, it’s tough to make much of a dent when your team’s best running back is also its quarterback (Josh Allen). With Allen stealing goal-line carries and savvy OC Brian Daboll calling plays, Buffalo will remain non-traditional in the red zone, limiting Moss’s touchdown potential.
Moss already appeared to lack speed and burst before sustaining a high-ankle sprain last season that required offseason surgery. Whether that has lingering effects remains to be seen, but even if he is fully healthy he should still probably be avoided in fantasy leagues. Moss isn’t going to sustain a large enough role game-to-game with Allen and the similarly talented Devin Singletary eating up valuable touches.
While his ADP isn’t horrendous, a fringe top-100 pick for a plodder only makes sense if he is the clear-cut RB1 in the room. You’re better off drafting higher upside players or taking Singletary 50 picks later instead.
For more 2021 fantasy football draft tips, listen to our Take The Points podcast with Marcus Mosher and Adam Kramer: