2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Busts
DeMarco Murray, PHI
Murray is still being selected in the second round of most drafts, sometimes he even goes in the first. Nonetheless, he has very little going in his favor this season. I would not be shocked if he ends up not even being a RB2 in 2015. Personally, I don’t want him as my flex. Of course he’ll go way before I could make him my flex anyway. My point is, I will own zero shares of Murray this season. He is an injury prone back that just completed his first 16-game season of his four-year career.
During his breakout All-Pro season, he totaled an absurd 497 touches. No player in the history of the league has ever bounced back from workload like that, let alone an already injury plagued back. This is Larry Johnson all over again. He will no longer have the Cowboys dominant offensive line to run behind either. That’s not to say Philly doesn’t have a good O-line, nevertheless, they are not close to the Cowboys. Then again, no one is, but cutting their Pro-Bowl guard Evan Mathis doesn’t help matters either.
It also won’t help that Murray will be sharing touches with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles this season. That’s two more backs than he had to share with on a regular basis last season. Don’t be shocked to see Murray have one of the most prevalent declines in fantasy football history. If he plays double-digit games this season, it should be considered a success.
Matt Forte, CHI
Forte is the one guy on this list I don’t expect to be bad; he just won’t live up to expectations. Forte was so great last season because he caught 102 passes. That won’t happen again. Expect him to catch about 40 less passes. This kind of drop off will really hurt his PPR value. All those targets will now be going to Justin Forsett in Baltimore. It was Marc Trestman’s offense that molded Forte into a PPR stud of such tremendous proportions, but Trestman is now the Ravens’ offensive coordinator. Forte won’t come close to 102 receptions under John Fox.
Also, Fox is known for utilizing multiple backs, so don’t be shocked if another runner sees more snaps than expected. If you take away volume, Forte really wasn’t all that great last season. He only averaged 3.9 yards per carry and rushed for six touchdowns. On the verge of turning 30 during the season, Forte has a lot of red flags that could lead to him falling short of his usual RB1 projections.
C.J. Spiller, NO
Now that Spiller is in New Orleans people believe he is going to emerge as this ultra-productive PPR option. Well, he’s not. You can’t plug an inferior talent in and expect them to do what Darren Sproles did. Sproles is one of the greatest pass-catching backs of all-time. Spiller, on the other hand, is a subpar route runner with mediocre hands. He isn’t a great blocker and doesn’t work well in traffic. On the ground, he can’t be utilized between the tackles. This whole situation is based off false fantasy hype. On top of that he’s extremely injury prone. By the way, Spiller had knee surgery on August 14 and may not be ready for Week 1. When he returns, odds are he’ll get injured again. The guy is always hurt, and he isn’t all that great when healthy.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR
Stewart has all of a sudden become a fantasy darling now that DeAngelo Williams is finally out of Carolina. First and foremost, he hasn’t stayed healthy for a full season in four years. Over the past three seasons he’s missed 20 games. Stewart hasn’t rushed for 810 yards or five TDs since 2009. Why on earth do fantasy owners think that this guy is about to make some kind of glorious comeback? It’s not like he has a ton of PPR value either, he’s only caught more than 25 passes once in his entire career. If you want to draft a Panthers’ running back, grab Cameron Artis-Payne about nine rounds later. He has more value and will come very cheap. Pass on Stewart this year, he’s destined to be a bust.