Fantasy football can be an unpredictable game. Even the best team is going to end up with a bust or two throughout the season. Minimizing risk is the name of the game, especially in early rounds.
There are a couple of running backs sticking out to me that are best avoided. This is not to say that they will have a bad year. They are just being drafted higher than I am comfortable with.
Doug Martin TB
Martin was excellent last year. He was a steal for a lot of fantasy owners. I think that it would be foolish to expect the same type of production for another season. If he is healthy, I think that he is actually a solid bet for about 1300 total yards. That is a big question mark. Martin has only been healthy 50 percent of the time early in his career. The years that he missed time, he topped out around the 400-500 yard range both times. That is a scary floor for a running back that is likely to cost you a second or third round pick.
Jamaal Charles KC
Charles has suffered two catastrophic, season ending injuries in his career. The injury history is a bit of a red flag, but not the reason that I am counseling patience with Charles. His touches and yardage were in decline even before his latest injury. The Chiefs have shown that they can run the ball with any back that they trot out. Odds are there is going to be something closer to a running back by committee in Kansas City to spare some of the wear on Charles. If you can grab Charles in the third round or thereabout then go for it. Earlier than that, I would be wary.
Matt Forte NYJ
Matt Forte has been a household name for a long time. That time is now coming to an end and it could be abrupt. The Jets have a very nice running game. This is a point in Firte's favor. I think that it is likely Forte either falls short of RB1 numbers or gets dinged up. I would rather wait until much later in the draft and grab Bilal Powell. If you are in a PPR league, Powell is even more attractive. He is going to see a lot of targets. This may be a function of my living in New York, but I am seeing Forte being drafted much earlier than is warranged. He is a 30 year old running back that has been in decline for two seasons. Check out the yardage totals and touchdowns:
2013: 1339 & 9
2014: 1038 & 6
2015: 898 & 4
Maybe he turns it around on a new team and more offensive talent. Just be careful how early you go with that gamble.
All three of these players are guys that I could see myself having. But only if they see a significant fall in value in a given draft. Be sure that you do not end up with a whole roster of risky players. Minimize your risk and maximize the reward.