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Don’t Eat The Cheese: 2019 Fantasy Football Running Back Busts

2019 Fantasy Football
Picking Saquon Barkley breaks the number one golden rule in fantasy football. Don’t Eat The Cheese! Who are the other 2019 running back busts? (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

2019 fantasy football don’t eat the cheese series part two is here. Did you pick Le’Veon Bell in fantasy last year? If you did, you probably lost your league. If you would have listened to me, you wouldn’t have picked him. Picking the wrong running back can ruin your whole fantasy season. Avoiding the busts is half the battle. Fantasy is all about avoiding risk. Don’t eat the cheese on the next Le‘Veon Bell. Let’s examine who we should cross off our list for 2019 fantasy football leagues.

Don’t Eat The Cheese: 2019 Fantasy Football Running Back Busts

*For the record, I’m not using any verbiage for snake drafts. If you’re a loser that still does snake drafts instead of auction style, take a hard long look in the mirror and realize how big of a loser you are. If you would rather play checkers rather than chess, by all means. Just don’t talk to me.

7: Lamar Miller (Houston Texans)

There are a lot of golden rules in fantasy. It’s still 2019 and people continue to not figure them out. Here’s one; always go for upside. Lamar Miller provides zero upside. We know what Miller is. A below average running back that in reality never gives you explosive weeks. Miller is going to rush for under 1,000 yards and less than 6 touchdowns. That’s what he is the past two years and not getting any younger. The Texans offensive line also stinks. There’s no upside here with a low ceiling. That’s never what you want in fantasy.

6: Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders)

Golden rule number one in fantasy football. Avoid running backs on bad teams. Enter Josh Jacobs who is a running back on a bad football team. The Raiders are a last place football team. From what I’ve seen on Hard Knocks, that’s not changing anytime soon. Running backs on bad teams suffer. It means more passing situations trying to catch up. I’ve also seen the hype train get taken way too far on Jacobs. Nothing Jacobs did at Alabama warranted a first round pick. He’s also NEVER been a bell cow back. Now suddenly Jacobs is a 300 touch back? I’m not buying it.

5: Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Can we just be honest about this. Leonard Fournette either sucks or just doesn’t care. The talent has not translated to success. Fournette averaged 3.9 yards per carry in 2017 and 3.3 yards per carry in 2018. Jacksonville is probably a worse team when he’s on the field. It’s a one dimensional offense where the defense knows he’s getting the ball. Fournette also comes with off the field issues and injury concerns. Hard pass here.

4: Kerryon Johnson (Detroit Lions)

Running backs need touchdowns. If they don’t score touchdowns on a weekly basis, the value drops dramatically. Detroit refuses to use Kerryon Johnson as the goal line back. If that doesn’t change in 2019, he’s not worthy of a high pick. The talent is undeniable. Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry. That’s great. He also only scored 4 touchdowns in 10 games. That’s not good enough. LeGarrette Blount became the touchdown hog in 2018. Now it’s going to be CJ Anderson. It’s a big deal.

2019 fantasy football
The Le’Veon Bell scare of 2018 makes it difficult to put a lot of faith in Melvin Gordon for 2019 fantasy football leagues. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

3: Melvin Gordon (Los Angeles Chargers)

Melvin Gordon had a great season in 2018. Now he’s holding out and requested a trade. The problem is the Chargers offense is more productive when Austin Ekeler is on the field. The longer Gordon sits, the more Ekeler gets an opportunity. Gordon is playing a dangerous game. Even if we assume Gordon comes back, why wouldn’t Ekeler get more carries if he earns them? Gordon might want less carries anyway in a contract year. This just feels ugly.

While Ezekiel Elliott is in a similar situation, it feels like he has a much better chance of getting a new contract. Jerry Jones has already said he thinks a deal will get done. Over the past 3 years, Ezekiel Elliott has 11 more games of 20 rushes in a game. In terms of volume and production, Zeke is too good to pass on. I’ll take the risk. With Gordon, hell no.

2: David Johnson (Arizona Cardinals)

I don’t feel as confident about this one. This is more coming from the fact that I can’t see a way David Johnson is a top 5 or so back in fantasy. He finished 9th in 2018. The Cardinals have some Chip Kelly to them this year. Maybe they come out firing for 10 Weeks. This is still also a bad football team. The offensive line is not great. Kyler Murray might also steal a bunch of Johnson’s rushing yards and touchdowns. This is a really hard one but I’m staying away.

1: Saquon Barkley (New York Giants)

If you pick Saquon Barkley, you are being negligent to the number one fantasy rule. DO NOT PICK RUNNING BACKS ON BAD TEAMS. They will always disappoint. Write it in stone. The Giants were a bad team last year but they also had Odell Beckham. That opened up the offense at least a little. The Giants do not have a dependable receiver on the roster. Golden Tate suspended! Corey Coleman torn ACL! It’s a lot of Cody Latimer cheese. That means more loaded boxes. It’s another year older for Eli Manning who’s been washed for 5 years. Remember, the Giants won 5 games in 2018. They were within one score in 8 of the 11 losses. They might not have been great but they were competitive for a lot of games. I’ll take the under for both of those numbers in 2019. Again, that means less rushing opportunities. Trailing equals more throwing.

Another thing we are forgetting is the inefficiencies of Saquon Barkley. This is a man who runs backward… A LOT. All of the attention goes towards Barkley with Beckham gone. I’m not saying Barkley won’t be a solid fantasy player. I am saying that he won’t be the top running back in fantasy like so many other experts project. I’ll take that bet from anybody.


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