What Running Backs Are On the Verge of Breaking Down


These players are the  “straws that stir the drink” for most of the  NFL teams offenses.

Quarterbacks are envious of them because of the glory  they receive.  In fantasy football, they are the most sought for position during drafts.

They are the most interesting position in the NFL: Running backs.

Running backs are one of the most important positions in fantasy football. When the term of “overused” is labeled on a certain running back, many become weary of selecting them during their draft.


When you are deciphering of how to determine if you a running back can be labeled as being overused, you have to look at the following issues below:

  1. High attempts increase the risk of a serious injury.
  2. High attempts reduce effectiveness of player.

Some notable players who suffered an injury because of  heavy work-loads throughout their careers are as followed:

  • Ricky Willliams broke his ankle in 2000 after averaging 29 attempts per game in 5 games before the injury occurred.
  • Priest Holmes tore his ACL in 2004 after having a whooping 148 attempts in only 8 games.  Prior to his injury, he had three games where he had over 30 rushing attempts.
  • Edgerrin James tore his knee in 2001 after consecutive games of over 25 rushing attempts.
  • Maurice Jones Drew, who had 343 rushing attempts in 2011, missed 10 games in 2012 due to a foot injury.

When you are selecting running backs during your draft, it is essential to select a player who will not face any potential injury in the middle of the season.

 The following running backs are players who could be at high risk due to how many rushing attempts they have compiled in the past.

Arian Foster Houston Texans

Arian Foster

2011-2013 Rushing Attempts: 762

Age:  27

Attempts Per Game: 20

Cause for Concern?

Yes.  The “Unicorn” compiled an endless list of injuries in 2013 which forced  him to only play in eight games.  His hamstring injury flared up during training camp, and he has been having a limited role thus far in preseason.  Foster will be the focal point for the Texans offense yet again in 2014, but this is not a great thing to have in mind when you think about all the injuries which can flare up for him.

Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks


2011-2013 Rushing Attempts: 922

Age:  28

Attempts Per Game: 19.2

Cause for Concern: 

There is a long history of running backs who break down at this “old” age of 28.  Despite of his heavy work-load from 2011-2013, he has averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns per season over that same span.   Lynch will be beginning the 2014 season coming off consecutive seasons of over 300 rushing attempts.  Lynch has yet to show any signs of wear and tear from his heavy work-load he has faced in Seattle.  Could this be the year where the wheels finally spin off for Lynch?


Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers


2011-2013 Rushing Attempts: 817

Age:  31

Attempts Per Game: 17

Cause for Concern: 

If there was one running back who can deemed as a player who receives zero fantasy football respect, it would have to go to Frank Gore.  Gore registered three straight seasons of rushing for more than 1,000 rushing yards, but why is his average draft position in the late sixth round in 2014? Durability is the easy reason as to why, but the decrease in productivity is the better answer.  Gore posted a career worst 4.1 yards per carry in 2013 and the 49ers have plenty of running backs in their system who can replace him at any minute.  He has the 15th easiest schedule for running backs, but I have a hard time believing he will be able to stay off of the injury report when he faces Seattle, Arizona, and the Rams twice during the regular season.