Draft Strategy

Take Zero RB Literally and Punt RB

“The Zero RB strategy makes a lot of sense, but I don’t think I can commit to it in all my drafts.” It’s a common refrain we hear around here. You think the logic makes sense, but also think a hedge of some kind is in order before fully committing. I did too. In 2014, I tried Zero RB in a handful or fewer leagues, and was smitten. By 2015 I was doing it nearly across the board. But I still have discussions both online and in real life about how to commit fully. People plan to dabble in it in 2016. People want to try it, but are unsure about whether 2015 was a fluke.1 The truth is it’s just an uncomfortable draft strategy, made that much worse now that WRs are flying off the board in 2016. Even when you go into a draft knowing that could happen, the siren song of ADP value can pull your perfectly sailing ship right into the rocky RB shore. But in truth, Zero RB is a strategy that has only gotten better with time, and the shifts we’ve seen in ADP hardly begin to cover the changing point-scoring structure. Let’s take a look at why, and then discuss the draft thought I’ve kept close at mind to help me stay on the Zero RB course.
  1. Because, of course, 2015 played out great for Zero RB teams.  (back)

Subscribe to the best value in fantasy sports

You're all out of free reads for now and subscribing is the only way to make sure you don't ever miss an article.

By Ben Gretch | @YardsPerGretch | Archive

Comments   Add comment

  1. Agree 100%. In previous years zero rb drafters dominated the early rounds of the drafts while other fantasy owners took running backs. Now, from what i've seen in mock drafts, fantasy owners are drafting 2-3 wide receivers to start and then turning to running backs in rounds 3-6 to fill out their starting lineup. In other words fragile upside down drafting. The Zero RB drafter is going to profit this season when he/she continues to hammer away at WR in rounds 3-6 (after doing so in rounds 1-2) while everyone else is going for rb's. Not much has changed. This year fantasy owners have just swapped when they traditionally have take their starting rb's with their starting wr's and vice versa.

  2. As a followup, i intend to either go Gronk and then WRx8 and then Ebron. Or something like WRx4 to start then Kelce/Fleener and then WRx4 again and then Ebron.

    If an elite QB (Rodgers/Luck) falls to the 5th round i'll look for them there but otherwise i will go zero rb (draft my first rb in the double digit rounds) and late round qb.

  3. My league has incredibly unique scoring rules. Without listing out the insane scoring rules and having someone do it for me, I was wondering if anyone perhaps had a general method to determine if zero-rb is worth it depending on the scoring rules?

  4. I know Shawn believes that zero RB is the best strategy. For me it is format dependent. In bestball leagues so far THIS year i have found that i am just not comfortable with zero rb. I like an even approach through the first 5 rounds.

    in redraft leagues it depends on trading and the type of waivers available. I want to be able to turn those good WR that are not starting for me into great RB through a trade. Or be able to use the waiver wire to improve my RB.

    Without trading i am going to go less zero RB as a hedge

    end of the day you have to do what you are comfortable with. I agree with the premise but i also want to reasonably expect to be able to fill my RB needs.

    Last year i went zero RB in most of my leagues. And it worked out great despite the fact that CJ Spiller was my first RB in 2 of the leagues and 2 had Bishop Sankey who i didn't like but who at the time was playing well in preseason and looked to be the starter because of all the RB injuries.

    So through waivers i was able to fill those positions. If i hadn't i would have been giving up too much each week.

  5. For those that have gone zero RB what kind of success have you had in your leagues? It seems like the best approach and it also is the way that most good players are playing these days. My league is a PPR league that starts: QB, 2RB,2WR, TE and a FLEX. Essentially I would start 3WRs in this format. Does think makes sense to go zero RB in this situation. The waiver wire is done by FAAB, so I have a good chance at picking free agent RBs throughout the year.

Discuss this article on the RotoViz Forums

11 more replies