The most important position to get right in fantasy football is the running back.
Making a mistake on your RB1 can have a detrimental effect on your entire season. Unlike other positions, the waiver wire isn't filled with replacement running backs, ready to offer double-digit points on a consistent basis.
That means wasting your pick on a bust is the worst thing possible for your team. Heading into the 2018 fantasy football draft, skip these three running backs who will have a high average draft position, but scream bust.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
OK, he wasn't a bust in 2017, but he continued to add wear on his body. He's 29 and in running back years, that's nearing the end of a productive life.
Much like DeMarco Murray (a bust in 2017), McCoy has had to shoulder too much of a load in his career. McCoy ranks 35th all-time in most carries by a running back in NFL history. Only four active players -- Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch -- have more career carries than McCoy. While those four are considered as low-value running backs in fantasy football, McCoy still holds a spot toward the top.
That's a mistake based on age and amount of volume he's incurred during his career.
McCoy is still the only option on the Bills, so there's some value in his ability to be the lone running back with any value. However, there's just too much evidence of aging running backs with less production. I'm not risking a top-24 pick on the risk involved with McCoy.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Will Hyde return to San Francisco? It's looking highly doubtful, so that puts his fantasy football future in flux. Even if he does return to the 49ers, I'm still not loving his production.
After San Francisco's bye week in week 10, Hyde eclipsed 55 rushing yards only twice, with one of those efforts happening in week 17 against a Los Angeles team resting many of its starters. That's not a good sign with a running game guru in Kyle Shanahan.
Hyde really isn't much of a target out of the backfield in the passing game, either, and he doesn't seem to fit with Shanahan's running style. Hyde finished 11th overall among running backs in fantasy scoring, but he was pretty average for the most part in total yardage. He failed to reach the 1,000 yard mark in rushing and he went for under 4 yards per carry. That's not good enough and with the value many will put on Hyde, he's not going to pan out.
His workload will decrease for the 49ers and there's too much mystery in how he will adjust to a new roster if he signs somewhere else.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots
Will a New England running back get some hype heading into 2018? With the way Lewis finished 2017, that may be the case.
For the second straight year, the Patriots showed off a top-tier running back who kept surprising fantasy football onlookers during the year. In 2016, it was LeGarrette Blount. In 2017, it was Lewis, who was able to finish the season with six double-digit fantasy point efforts in the final eight games.
He was a nice surprise toward the end of the season and contributed to stellar playoff runs for fantasy owners.
However, to believe that will continue in 2018, is tough to trust. Other than Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Stephen Gostkowski, there aren't many players you can guarantee as fantasy options on a weekly basis on the Patriots roster. That definitely includes running backs.
The biggest issue with Lewis is he averaged just a little more than 13 touches per game, which ranked 34th among running backs. If he's being valued higher than a mid-level RB2, that's too high in 2018.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH