If you head to the 2015 fantasy football leaderboards at the running back position, you'll see a number of names that you probably haven't thought of in a long time. Danny Woodhead ranked at No. 6. Jeremy Hill and Charles Sims were top-20 names. Ronnie Hillman, James Starks and Jeremy Langford all cracked the top 30.
You'll also see the names Lamar Miller (No. 5), T.J. Yeldon (No. 25) and Duke Johnson Jr. (No. 27), all of which may fit into that same category of, "Oh yeah, that guy!" And on Monday afternoon, all three of those names were in the news once again, thanks to the injury-ravaged running back corps of the San Francisco 49ers.
Believe it or not, all of those names logged work in 2020. Johnson had the biggest role, turning 77 rushes into a measly 235 yards for the Texans in 11 games. However, as always, he was more of a receiving threat than anything else, and he added 28 catches for 289 yards to that total. He was cut in February following the 2020 season.
For Miller and Yeldon, work was much harder to come by. Miller, a 2018 Pro Bowler and two-time 1,000-yard rusher, missed the entirety of the 2019 season with a torn ACL that he suffered during the preseason. He signed with the Patriots, Bears, and Washington Football Team since that point, but only recorded any regular season work for Chicago, playing in one game and recorded two catches.
Yeldon never quite turned into the second-round value that the Jaguars hoped he'd become — though he didn't exactly step into the best offense in the world — and he spent both 2019 and 2020 as a backup for the Bills who saw very limited on-field work.
Of course, anyone is better than no one, and the 49ers are dangerously close to the latter. Raheem Mostert is already done for the season, and the trio of running backs who entered Week 2 against the Eagles — Elijah Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon — to respective shoulder, ankle and concussion injuries. However, one or all of them could be back and ready to roll relatively soon.
And now for the fantasy advice related to this hellish backfield scenario? Avoid, avoid, avoid. Mitchell seems to be the name to own still, even after a less-than-stellar performance in Philly and a shoulder injury, but it's hard to justify plugging any of them in your starting lineups at this point. The 49ers running game won't go away, but any sense of consistency or star power is impossible to pinpoint right now.