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USATSI

It's running back week here at CBS Sports, and we're taking a deep dive into the position. While wide receivers have become the dominant players for Fantasy managers, especially in PPR, we know running backs still matter in a big way.

Here, we're looking at running back bust candidates, and we'll focus on sleepers and breakouts this week as well. For this column, I'm looking at players who I believe are being drafted too soon based on the CBS Sports Average Draft Position data on Aug. 10.

At the right cost, I would gladly draft these players on my Fantasy roster. However, based on their current price, I will likely avoid these five running backs in 2023.

Derrick Henry
TEN • RB • #22
Att349
Yds1538
TD13
FL3
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I've been wrong enough times about Henry being a bust that I'll caution you might want to do the opposite of what I'm saying here. And I don't mind drafting Henry at all toward the end of Round 2. But he's being drafted in the first round again on CBS Sports with an ADP of 11.5, and I can't sign off on that in PPR. We all know Father Time is undefeated, and at some point even the stars start to slow down. He turned 29 in January, and that's not good for a running back. While he bounced back from the foot injury he sustained in 2021 that limited him to eight games -- he played 16 games in 2022 -- he has a lot of mileage on his massive frame with over 380 total touches in two of the past three seasons. The Titans offensive line is going through a makeover this year, but Pro Football Focus still ranks the unit last coming into the season. Henry has been amazing when healthy over the past four seasons, averaging more than 18.1 PPR points per game every year since 2019, but I'm concerned he's reached the end of his run as an elite Fantasy option. I don't plan on buying a lot of stock in Henry this year.

Breece Hall
NYJ • RB • #20
Att80
Yds463
TD4
FL1
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We're starting to see Hall's ADP slide, and he's at 32.3 here as the No. 13 running back off the board. But that's still too soon for me, and the earliest I would consider drafting him is Round 4. There's still the potential of Dalvin Cook joining the Jets, and that could crush Hall's upside. But even if Cook goes somewhere else, Hall still has to prove he's healthy, and the history of running backs coming back from a torn ACL in the first year isn't good. Hall also remains on the PUP list as of Aug. 9, and we haven't heard much about his progress. That isn't a big deal now, but the longer he's out the more concerned you should be. At some point this season, Hall could once again prove dominant like we saw in his rookie campaign, but I'm not drafting him as a top 15 running back this year.

Kenneth Walker III
SEA • RB • #9
Att228
Yds1050
TD9
FL0
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Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Walker (groin), who hasn't practiced since the first day of training camp, is running full speed and should begin cutting soon. That's good news. But Walker being out has allowed Zach Charbonnet to showcase his skills, and that could be a problem for Walker this year. With Charbonnet pushing for touches, I can't justify drafting Walker in Round 4 with an ADP of 43.9. Walker was fantastic as a rookie in 2022, and it was a surprise to see the Seahawks select Charbonnet in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Clearly, Seattle felt Walker needed help, and we'll see what areas Charbonnet will keep Walker off the field. I don't mind Walker in Round 5, but I'd rather target Charbonnet in Round 9 to get a piece of this Seattle backfield.

Isiah Pacheco
KC • RB • #10
Att170
Yds830
TD5
FL2
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Pacheco should be the lead running back for the Chiefs, but I don't want to draft him in early Round 6 with an ADP of 63.9 in PPR. He's being drafted ahead of other running backs I like better in Rachaad White, James Cook and Alvin Kamara, among others. While he's expected to be fine for Week 1, he's still battling injuries in camp to his hand and shoulder. And his absence has allowed other running backs in Kansas City like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon and Deneric Prince to potentially push for playing time. McKinnon will definitely have a role in the passing game, and that's where Pacheco is likely at a huge disadvantage. He did have five catches for 59 yards on six targets in the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals, but otherwise he had 14 catches for 136 yards on 15 targets for the rest of the season. And he only scored six total touchdowns, including the playoffs, and no running back has more than seven rushing touchdowns while playing alongside Patrick Mahomes during his tenure with the Chiefs. So if Pacheco is struggling for touchdowns and not catching the ball then we're looking at a trap back, which is something you want to avoid at this point in the draft.

Javonte Williams
DEN • RB • #33
Att47
Yds204
TD0
FL1
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The season after Dalvin Cook suffered a torn ACL, he averaged almost three-PPR points per game fewer than he did prior to getting hurt. Saquon Barkley saw a nearly seven-PPR point per game decline from when he was healthy to the first season after his ACL tear. J.K. Dobbins only had a one-PPR point per game decrease in his first campaign back from a torn ACL last year, but he was also limited to eight games. There are other examples of running backs coming back from a torn ACL, but this is a recent sample size of how these guys tend to struggle in their first season off the injury. Williams thankfully avoided the PUP list to open training camp, but I'm not convinced he's going to be fully back to his old self. He's still going to share touches with Samaje Perine, and Williams has never been a full-time running back going back to North Carolina when he split playing time with Michael Carter. I'd gamble on Williams in Round 7, but I'm still more inclined to pass on him here and target Perine as early as Round 8 in all leagues.