Let’s take a look at some of the running backs who “experts” have been predicting will have a great season, but won’t. When I listen to fantasy talk this time of year, I often find myself shaking my head. Let us think back to last season. Did people really think guys like Toby Gerhart and Zac Stacy would really succeed? I know I certainly didn’t. Let’s take a look at some halfbacks you should avoid this season.
C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
Anderson comes into this season as one of the top rated backs in all of football and rightfully so. In the final six games of the 2014 season, Anderson rushed for 648 yards and eight touchdowns. Anderson, 24, seems like a sure-fire top-5 pick in fantasy drafts when in reality he may be one of the riskiest picks in all of fantasy football.
With a healthy Montee Ball back in the fold, it appears the third-year pro from California could end up sharing a large number of carries in Denver’s offense. While Anderson is absolutely a better fit for coach Gary Kubiak’s zone running scheme, Ball could end up being a goal line vulture which would decrease the fantasy value of Anderson. C.J. Anderson could be one of the best fantasy backs in 2015, but he comes with tremendous risk. After entering the 2014 season third on the Denver depth chart behind Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, could he revert back to that status with a costly fumble or two? It’s possible, of course the running lanes in Denver may not be as open as they were last year with the departures of Orlando Franklin, Manny Ramirez and the season-ending injury to Ryan Clady.
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
I have seen many fantasy rankings where McCoy is considered to be a first-round fantasy pick, which has me at a complete loss for words. McCoy, 27, has been blessed to be surrounded by coaches who were offensive geniuses for his entire career in Philadelphia with Andy Reid and Chip Kelly. Having been traded to Buffalo, I think his draft status should plummet for obvious reasons.
Greg Roman will be his new offensive coordinator and is obviously not the play-caller Kelly is. The seventh-year pro from Pittsburgh may also find himself running into defenses that stack the box because of the lack of quarterback presence. A lot of people are suggesting the Bills could be potential playoff contenders this season, but I just don’t see it. Kyle Orton was a big reason for Buffalo’s 9-7 record last season, as Buffalo’s quarterback battle is largely being overlooked. We know Matt Cassel stinks, and the same goes for E.J. Manuel. The Bills one true savior could be Tyrod Taylor but he is largely unproven. If Buffalo’s quarterbacks struggle, I fear defenses may make it impossible for McCoy to have a good season with 8-9 men in the defensive box.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Marc Trestman was fired this past offseason, which may prove to be costly to Forte’s fantasy stock. Forte will almost certainly not catch 100 passes again as new head coach John Fox may opt to give more carries to backups Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie third-round pick Jeremy Langford. With that in mind, Forte will be entering his eighth season and will turn the haunted 30 in December. Considering his heavy workload over the course of his career, it’s safe to say Forte is bound to break down sooner rather than later.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
Stewart’s high fantasy ranking is one that truly has me dumbfounded. I have seen Stewart in similar rankings to Melvin Gordon and Justin Forsett as I simply cannot see how Stewart will outperform either of the two. The biggest concern for the Oregon product is his injury history. Stewart, 28, has only managed to play a full 16-game season three times in his seven-year career. Cam Newton’s ability to eat up a large number of rushing touchdowns has me weary of how good Stewart can be in 2015. For those considering taking Stewart, I would advise a handcuff selection of Cameron Artis-Payne to protect against Stewart’s injury history.