The Duel

5 Most Overrated NFL Running Backs Today

Max Staley
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans / Frederick Breedon
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Cover Photo: Getty Images

The entire running back position has been massively devalued in the NFL recently due to the increased emphasis on the passing game. Even though running back isn't nearly as important as it once was, there are still some backs who have reputations that greatly exceed their actual value.

Let's break down the five most overrated running backs in the NFL heading into the 2019-20 season.

5. Sony Michel, New England Patriots

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Getty Images / Jamie Squire

Sony Michel was a stud in the postseason for the New England Patriots, but his production had a lot to do with a heavy volume of carries and an elite offensive line. In the modern NFL, running backs need to catch the ball, and Michel just hasn't developed that part of his game. In fact, Michel was so ineffective as a receiver, defenses often knew if New England was throwing or running based on whether or not he was in the game. While Michel proved he can certainly be a top-tier back at some point in his career, he isn't there yet despite some people already placing him in the conversation.

4. Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets

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Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox

Le'Veon Bell is considered by many to be the best running back in football, but when he sat this season out, the Pittsburgh Steelers plugged James Conner in and didn't miss a beat. Conner tallied 973 rushing yards and 497 receiving yards in 13 games, which isn't too far off from Bell's career averages. While Bell is undeniably a great back, Conner's production shows the Michigan State product could be as much a product of the Steelers offense as anything else. Throw in his health issues and off-field issues and you know why he's on this list.

3. Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens

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Getty Images / Chris Graythen

Mark Ingram is a solid player, but he's likely best suited in a platoon situation, not as the feature back of a franchise. While Ingram amassed 1,540 total yards and 12 touchdowns in the 2017-18 season, his production regressed to the mean last season (645 yards, 6 TDs). Ingram is good, but he isn't the player that many are making him out to be.

2. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Getty Images / Michael Reaves

Leonard Fournette was drafted to be the Jacksonville Jaguars' bell cow, but he's struggled with injuries and some attitude concerns. Fournette only averaged 3.9 yards per carry during his rookie season, and that number fell to 3.3 yards per carry in his sophomore season. Fournette's reputation has been bouyed because he was the No. 4 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, but he just hasn't produced like an elite back.

1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

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Getty Images / Andy Lyons

Despite Derrick Henry's tantalizing size and athleticism, he has been one of the least consistent backs in football. While Henry tallied an impressive 1,059 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns last season, most of that production came over the final four games of the year. If we remove those four, Henry's season is well below average. Before that explosion, Henry had just 474 yards and six touchdowns through 12 games on just 3.7 yards per carry. Henry is viewed as a dominant back, and while he certainly has the potential to be one, he'll need to improve his consistency.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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