Youâ€™re all familiar with Blair Thomas right?
Well, if you werenâ€™t aware of him, Thomas was a celebrated running back out of Penn State who was drafted by the New York Jets with the second overall pick in 1990.
Thomasâ€™ hype was off the charts (think Trent Richardson of today), but he never lived up to his billing, only rushing for 2,236 yards and scoring seven touchdowns in six seasons.
When it comes to fantasy, you always want to stay away from busts (like the infamous Blair Thomas) and in this column I will evaluate three running backs with enough red flags to be considered busts.
Michael Turner: Atlanta Falcons
There are several warning signs suggesting the demise of Turner.
Now 30, Turner has logged a lot of carries over the last few years as the Falcons workhorse.Â While Turner did not get a lot of carries when he was LaDainian Tomlinsonâ€™s understudy in San Diego, he has been overworked in Atlanta the last couple of years.
With the Falcons once again having playoff aspirations, they will want to keep Turner fresh. Falconsâ€™ running backs coach Gerald Brown has already stated that the Falcons want to get more use out of their second-year back Jacquizz Rodgers.
Rodgers will undoubtedly get the majority of the third-down snaps and with the Falcons morphing into more of a passing team with Roddy White and Julio Jones at their disposal, Turner and the running game will be a secondary weapon as opposed to a primary weapon, as it has been in the past.
Turner will still get the lionâ€™s share of the carries and he has proven to be durable, but Turner is no longer a draft pick worth investing in the first two rounds.
Steven Jackson: St. Louis Rams
Much like Turner, it appears Jackson could also be slowing down at 29.
While trying to carry the pathetic Ramsâ€™ offense, Jackson has been showing some cracks in his game and the burden of trying to carry the load is starting to show.
In the last three years, Jackson has never been good for more than six total touchdowns in a season and last year he saw a significant drop in carries (330 in 2010 to 260 in 2011).
Although Jackson is still the unquestioned No.1 back for St. Louis, the Rams felt compelled to draft running back Isaiah Pead in the 2nd round of this yearâ€™s NFL Draft. With the selection of Pead, the Rams will likely want to lessen the load for Jackson.
Jackson should be targeted as a low-end No.2 running back.
Shonn Greene: New York Jets
Now entering his fourth year with the Jets, Greene has done nothing to separate himself from the running back pack.
For the last two years, Greene was given every opportunity to be the lead Jetsâ€™ running back, but he continually underachieved and lost carries to LaDainian Tomlinson.
In his first three years in the league, Greene has only three more touchdowns (10) than he has fumbles (7).
With the Jetsâ€™ offense a jumbled mess and with Tim Tebow possibly playing his way into their red zone offense, Greene is about to become even more of an afterthought.
Greene should be targeted as nothing more than a No.3 running back or flex play.
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