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The Worst Rookie Fantasy Football Running Back Seasons Of The Last Decade

You guys pretty stoked to draft Le’Veon Bell in the 6th round of your fantasy football draft? Montee Ball in the 5th? They seem like great values at the moment; and they probably will be. Fantasy football teams can made my these rookie runners by they can also be demolished by them.

However, last years incredible trio of rookie runners (Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, and Alfred Morris) seem to have changed people’s opinions and made fantasy drafters forget just how awful drafting a rookie fantasy football Running Back can go.

Check out this list of running backs with high pedigree who disappointed in their rookie year:

1. David Wilson/Lamar Miller/Ronnie Hillman

While no one was drafting these guys like uber-studs last year, all of them had an ADP that included some opportunity and none of them posted a startable fantasy game until Wilson in week 16. By that time, if you were holding any of these players still, you have greatly hurt your roster.

2. Mark Ingram

They traded up for him! First round pick! Most explosive offense in the league. If you ever want to spend a hilarious evening laughing at the misfortune of others, go look at the Football Guys Message Boards and find the Mark Ingram thread. The 474 yards and 5 touchdowns that he posted didn’t even come close to meeting the value owners had set for him.

3. Ryan Mathews

Mathews learned how to disappoint fantasy owners early. After being selected in the 1st round by the Chargers, he promptly was being drafted in the 2nd and 3rd round of standard leagues and responded with a 678 yard season where he missed 7 games.

4. Donald Brown

Sensing a trend here? Brown was another 1st round selection, heading into an explosive offense with a very cerebral QB who was ready to use a solid pass catching back again. Instead, Brown played in only 11 games and had less than 400 total yards.

5. Reggie Bush

This might be the most disappointing season on the entire list. Bush was fresh off of winning the Heisman, was going to play for Brees and Payton, and he was ready to tear the scene up. Instead, he settled in as a bit player, and couldn’t live up to expectations even though he posted a top 20 fantasy season. That’s tough life, Reggie.

6. Laurence Maroney

Retrospectively, it’s pretty easy to see that Maroney just wasn’t any good. That didn’t stop fantasy owners form thinking he was the next Corey Dillon and then being disappointed when he couldn’t reach 1,000 total yards or double digit touchdowns.

7. Cedric Benson

Who would think that anyone could be more disappointing than Ronnie Brown? Here ya have it. After the Bears took Benson with the 4th pick in the draft, Benson played in only 9 games all year, gained 272 rushing yards, and didn’t score any touchdowns at all. That’s straight worst case scenario.

8. T.J Duckett

A common thread through these disappointments is injury and that’s exactly what happened to Duckett. He got selected in the first round by the Falcons, but that couldn’t get him playing in more than 11 games and capped him off less than 600 yards.

9. Willie Green

Cleveland was finally gonna have something nice! Wait. No. No they weren’t. The expectations for Green were high, but he barely scraped to 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns. For a rookie running back to justify the bright-eyed enthusiasm, they have to get to 10 touchdowns or 1,400 combo yards. Just the nature of the running back position raises the bar for the young guys.

10. Deuce McAllister

May be the best name in this list, or all of football. True story: I bought a Deuce McAllister game-worn jersey card his rookie, that’s how enthused I was. He responded with 91 rushing yards. Yeah. That happened.

11. Ron Dayne

Let this be a warning to anyone planning on drafting Montee Ball. The success rate of really productive Wisconson running back transitioning to the NFL is not a pretty one. Dayne was a darling coming out of college, and was just miserable as a rookie, with 3.4 yards per carry, 781 total yards and only 5 touchdowns.

About Davis Mattek

Davis Mattek is a 20 year old English major at Kansas State University who founded his own website, Sports Wunderkind, late in 2012. In addition to running his own site, Davis is a full-time contributor at Fantasysports.org and a part time contributor at Dynasty League Football, The Fantasy Fix and Rotoviz.

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