Before you say anything, yes zero RB is a viable strategy to win your fantasy football leagues. No, it does not mean we don’t draft a single running back to our team… Wise guy. What it does mean is that we will be using early draft picks on other positions such as wide receiver, tight end, and quarterback. Then we address running backs later in the draft. Though many would argue this is actually an effective strategy. With all that being said let’s dive into how to properly implement a zero RB draft strategy.
Zero RB Strategy to Win Your League
It goes without saying that you’ll get way more out of a zero RB build in a PPR league than in a half-PPR league or standard-scoring league. Lately, there have been many wide receivers outperforming their ADPs, whereas many running backs underperform. Keep in mind Jonathan Taylor was the lowest scoring rb1 since Devonta Freeman in 2015. During this past season, Jonathan Taylor was the only running back to finish in the top 10 in PPR fantasy scoring. While there were two wide receivers to make the top 10 (Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams). Now if we were to check the top 25 fantasy PPR scorers there were only 5 running backs whereas there were 8 wide receivers. Keep these things in mind when deciding if you want to go with a zero RB build.
Draft position is key when it comes to deciding on a zero RB build. If you have one of the top 5 picks, chances are you’re better off starting your draft with a running back. However, with picks 9-12 then you should start considering going rogue and taking 2 wide receivers to start your draft. The reason for this is because this is one of the few ways to gain an edge on the early draft picks. For example, let’s say the person with the number 1 pick selects Jonathan Taylor. Then let’s say you have the number 12 pick. If you select 2 running backs, then you are now allowing the guys with a top-tier running back to also get a chance to draft a top-tier wide receiver. Instead of playing catch-up with running backs, clear your own path by selecting some elite pass catchers.
Next, let’s get into the positional advantage that going zero RB gives you. Zero RB allows you access to both an elite tight end and an elite quarterback without compromising your overall roster production. For example, you can take Travis Kelce towards the end of the 1st round, and then follow up with two wide receivers with your next two picks. Then you can follow things up with a high-upside quarterback in the 4th round such as Lamar Jackson. Having a positional advantage at the onesie positions can help offset not having a running back from the 1st few rounds.
Late Running Back Value
When going zero RB you want to draft some running backs with solid floors, while also keeping an eye out for potential breakout candidates that are just sitting on the waiver wire waiting to be scooped up. Just last season we had late-round guys like James Connor and Leonard Fournette. Cordarrelle Patterson and Elijah Mitchell went undrafted so you could get them off of the waiver wire for free. Players like Rashaad Penny, Chase Edmonds, Rhamondre Stevenson, Dameon Pierce, and Tyler Allgeier have ADPs that are way too low given the situations they are in, and you should keep an eye on them late in your drafts. Every year there are running backs that absolutely outperform their ADP, sometimes in order to get those guys you have to be willing to pass up the early “sure things.”