3 Running Backs to Avoid Drafting in 2014 Fantasy Football

By Bill Pivetz
Arian Foster
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 15 over and Week 16 on the horizon, the fantasy football season is almost coming to a close. Many owners won their semifinals game with the help of Jamaal Charles or more surprisingly Justin Tucker. On the flip side, a lot of owners were sent packing as a result of one of these players’ high-scoring game.

If you are eliminated from the playoffs you may be looking back at your draft and where you went wrong for what changes to make in 2014. You’re not alone. Maybe you drafted a second running back when you could have drafted the fifth-best wide receiver. Though you don’t have a Delorean to go back in time, you always have an opportunity to avoid making the same mistakes.

Here are three running backs to avoid drafting in the 2014 season.

Darren Sproles: Sproles is a running back drafted mostly for his pass-catching abilities. He averages 76 receptions in the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints and is one of Drew Brees‘ most reliable receivers. However, this season has been more down than up for Sproles, especially from a fantasy perspective. He has five or less fantasy points in the last five games.

He will still have some PPR value, but as for standard leagues there isn’t much value. The emergence of Pierre Thomas has also affected Sproles’ value. Thomas has 24 more fantasy points than Sproles and could be the Saints’ No. 1 running back heading into 2014. Sproles should not be drafted as a No. 3 running back in standard leagues.

Arian Foster: The Houston Texans‘ franchise running back underwent season-ending back surgery in early November. Backup Ben Tate took over and has played really well in Foster’s absence. In most, if not all, fantasy drafts Foster was taken with a top-five pick. He was playing up to that value in the first few games of the season, but then he went down. Owners were then rushing to either add Tate or another fifth-string back.

With the questionable quarterback play, Foster could come back and be a top-five back in 2014. However, the status of his back is up in the air. Percy Harvin was out all preseason and most of the regular season with a hip injury and has played one game. Unless reports come out that Foster will 100 percent be ready for Week 1, avoid him at all costs. He will just be taking up a valuable bench spot for you. Take someone like Knowshon Moreno or Eddie Lacy in Foster’s place.

Darren McFadden: It seems like every year fantasy experts are telling you to avoid drafting McFadden. But every year, he ends up being owned in 90 percent of leagues whether by an Oakland Raiders fan or someone looking for a late-round steal. McFadden continues to let fantasy owners down. He is one of the most injury-prone players in the league. He has missed five full games with hamstring and ankle injuries this year and 19 of the last 39 games, almost 50 percent of games.

McFadden was drafted in leagues as an RB2 and performed at an RB2 level in the first three games. He had 33 total fantasy points in the first three games, but then the real McFadden began to show. Unless he’s sitting there in rounds 10-13 and you’re just looking for some running back depth, do not even think about drafting McFadden. He has burned too many fantasy owners as a fantasy starter in his short career and can surely do it again in 2014.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.

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