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Bust RB Candidates for Fantasy Football in 2023

NFL Fantasy



We’re running through our 2023 fantasy sleepers and busts series with a look at 2023 RB bust candidates. Check out more in the series here:


Looking to avoid lame duck RBs with your early draft picks? Here are four potential RB bust candidates for the 2023 fantasy season. These four running backs are currently being drafted inside the top 24 at their position.

2023 Fantasy Football RB Sleeper Candidates

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry rumbled for over 1,500 rushing yards and 13 TDs last year on 349 carries, giving him 1,249 rushing attempts over the last four years. Those numbers are, of course, absurd, but the 29-year-old RB has a lot of mileage, and it’s starting to show in some of his averages.

Henry YPC averages:

  • 2019: 5.1
  • 2020: 5.4
  • 2021: 4.3
  • 2022: 4.4

It’s fair to wonder how much more he can handle at an elite level. There were rumors prior to free agency that Henry was being shopped around as a trade target, but nothing came out of that — at least yet. The Titans already traded their best player (A.J. Brown) and may still look to move the $10 million RB as they enter a rebuild. 

Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris Fantasy Football Running Back Busts

The volume-king was exposed in 2022, and while he’s both a “bounceback” and “bust” candidate for 2023, I lean more toward the bust side. According to our expected fantasy points tool, no RB did less with more in 2021 than Najee Harris. He followed that up by being the sixth-least-efficient ‘back in 2022.

His raw final numbers are good — 300-plus total touches, 1,200-plus total yards, 10 TDs — but he started losing significant work to Jaylen Warren over the final month of the season with Warren scooping up around 10-15 touches per game. 

It is worth pointing out he had a Lisfranc injury during training camp last year, which may well have impacted him all year. But the back-to-back seasons of inefficiency is the larger concern here. He may simply be replaceable, and the Steelers may come to that conclusion soon.


Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

An elite talent, Aaron Jones now has two things working against him:

Jones has a career YPC average of 5.1 — truly elite — and gained 1,121 yards on just 213 rush attempts last year. But he scored only 2 rushing TDs last year after scoring just 4 in 2021. He has caught 50-60 balls each of the last two years with 11 combined receiving scores, but with Rodgers leaving, the entire Packers offense is now a giant question mark.

That’s not to say highly efficient, pass-catching RBs can’t thrive in fantasy (Jones is a great example, so is Austin Ekeler), but Jones will also be 29 this year in an offense that’s losing one of the best QBs of all time. Throw in the fact it’s an offense that already has a touchdown-maker at RB (Dillon), and Jones has more working against him than for him this year.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Dalvin Cook Fantasy Football Running Back Busts

The rumors of a Dalvin Cook trade continue to swirl, and fuel was added to the fire when Alexander Mattison — one of my top RB sleepers for 2023 — landed a second contract with the Vikings that looked closer to starter-level money than backup-level money.

FTN’s Jeremy Popielarz already highlighted Cook as a dynasty player to trade away in 2023, writing, “[Since 2020], we have seen a steady decline in Cook’s play and fantasy production, with his PPG average dropping from 24.1 to 15.9 in 2021 to 14.0 in 2022. His yards per carry have dropped as well, from 5.0 in 2020 to 4.7 to last year’s career-low 4.4.”

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