Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines controversy as ‘a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views.’
After this article, I hope to inspire many discussions that are met by a plethora of different views, or as we now know, controversy.
It’s inevitable that there will be around three running backs ranked in the top 12 that fail to reach expectations. They’ll be turning their owners’ hair grayer, upping their blood pressure to dangerous levels, and ultimately breaking their hearts.
Bell cow running backs are becoming extinct, and the few that have survived the poachers are rightfully prized. So, to achieve your goal of accumulating the best fantasy team on paper, you spend premium money to get a guaranteed top running back.
But that’s where you’re wrong.
It’s a toss-up. With injuries and committees the way they are, getting a back who will consistently earn you mucho points is finding a needle in a haystack.
In 2017, fantasy owners gave the keys to their fantasy franchises to guys like DeMarco Murray, Jay Ajayi, and David Johnson. No matter the reason, these owners were let down, left clawing on the sides of the hole that continues to deepen, unless they were the smart ones who signed/drafted Kamara or Hunt.
But I digress — we’re not here for a history lesson.
Let’s discuss the three running backs that are most likely to deflate all hopes and dreams worse than Peter Griffin does to Meg in any episode, ever.
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
Don’t tell the others, but I root for Alvin Kamara more than any of these three players.
His fun attitude and playmaking ability remind me of Reggie Bush in his early Saints days. He has pizazz and flashes out of nowhere. He has great ball catching abilities coupled with great awareness between the hashes.
Although this may be true, I’m nervous for Kamara with the whole world watching. The sophomore slump is something that should be lingering in the back of owners’ minds. Defenses have had a full offseason to break down Kamara’s best abilities, which admittedly only takes it from extremely difficult to almost extremely difficult to game plan for the star second-year RB.
Then we throw in the four-game suspension for Ingram, which almost solidifies him as the #5 or #6 running back in this year’s draft. That’s a high price for someone who did his best work against light front defenses. Kamara ran the ball against eight or more defenders only 16.67% of the time. The only player who ran the ball fewer times against stacked defenses was Giovani Bernard.
With that being said, Sean Payton is a mastermind who set Kamara up for success and will continue to do so.
There’s just something about the sophomore year that has me looking at drafting Kamara with my top pick, especially when it’s the 5th or 6th pick in the draft, with a huge look anguish on my face.
In a word, do I think Kamara will be a bust? Maybe not. Do I think he’s going to live up to his rookie stats, and then some? Also no, I do not. If the choice is Kareem Hunt or Alvin Kamara, take Hunt and run.
Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
After two straight 1,000+ yard rushing seasons coupled with two straight seasons with over 13 total touchdowns, Freeman’s 2017 campaign seemed out of character.
He amassed only 865 yards and eight total touchdowns.
The defense has the play dead to rights, but Freeman is really good in case you didn't know.. pic.twitter.com/FoPn8EDLKN
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) October 4, 2017
He had his lowest numbers since his rookie year in targets, catches, receiving yards, rushing yards, touchdowns, yards per game, and the list goes on and on.
Maybe it was due to lingering injuries (Freeman did only play in 14 games). Maybe it was the new offensive coordinator not knowing how to use him correctly. Or maybe it’s the fact that Coleman is starting to eat more and more into his touches.
Freeman just didn’t look the same, according to the eye test. It makes me nervous that a lot of his success was from the waterfall that started with Kyle Shanahan.
Therefore, I don’t have a ton of hope for Freeman moving forward. They paid him a lot of money to be the man in town. But with a rough year last year and Tevin Coleman’s success, I am smelling a 50/50 split in the backfield, and that’s not encouraging.
This may raise Coleman’s draft stock, but it surely diminishes Freeman’s. I can’t spend a late first or early second round pick on a player who might be phased out
Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings
Listen, everyone, we saw Cook for four games last year. It seems like fantasy football twitter wants to hand the throne over to him, despite that tiny sample size.
We, as owners, love the potential. That’s what we are looking for. Cook gave us just enough to have us drooling for almost 365 days, just waiting to see him come back.
— NFL Podcasts (@NFL_Podcasts) June 14, 2018
Sometimes that creates a false sense of urgency to draft a player. Even though he was dominant in the games he played in, it’s still yet to be seen how he will hold up over a 16 game season. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Adrian Peterson, and how he came off of an ACL tear and rushed for 2,000+ yards. But these Vikings are a different team, and Cook is a different player.
Cook will be given the opportunity to put in work and be a star running back, but if he starts to string together a few bad games, Latavius Murray is still in town and did a tremendous job filling in last season.
Basically, it’s the fear of the unknown that has me proceeding with caution when it comes to Cook. In the late rounds, I may be taking a flyer on Murray, just in case.
Altogether, I’m not telling you to stay away from these three players, but I am trying to get you thinking about the most likely eventuality: that at least three of the top 12 backs will be an utter disaster. Who do you think they’ll be?