Draft Strategy

One Cheap RB Could Go from Space Back to Workhorse In a Blink

One RB looks far too cheap for his potential to be this year’s Melvin Gordon or Devonta Freeman, the 2016 and 2015 Zero RB heroes.   While publications across the land have appropriated the RotoViz term “Zero RB” to mean essentially not drafting any, the North remembers. It’s more complicated than just not drafting RBs in the first several rounds. Quite a bit more complicated. They seem to specifically be missing this part:1
“focus on selecting potential breakout players, the receiving back in timeshares, and backups in good offenses. You can see fairly easily how Zero RB benefits from randomness. Whenever a starting RB gets hurt, my lineup gets better. It gets better in relation to my opponents because I didn’t have the player in question, and it gets better in the sense that I either own the backup or I have a shot to acquire the backup in free agency.”
Last season, Melvin Gordon had the fifth-highest RB win rate and eighth-highest overall at an ADP of RB28. That was despite missing the final three games. Devonta Freeman was ADP RB33 in 2015 and had the best win rate of any player in 2015. Both were potential breakout players, receiving backs in timeshares, and backups in good offenses.2 Gordon was The Contrarian’s top breakout play and No. 3 Zero RB candidate last season. The year prior, Freeman was his No. 2. When his candidates come out later this month, I’d be very surprised if 2015’s No. 1, Duke Johnson, isn’t right near the top. 
  1. I know, they’ve never read either of those articles, they just picked up Zero RB from Twitter, but I digress.  (back)
  2. Tevin Coleman started Weeks 1 and 2 for the Falcons as a rookie, then broke his rib and ceded the job to Freeman. People forget that. Not Tim Talmadge, but other people.  (back)

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By 14Team Mocker | @14TeamMocker | Archive

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  1. PaulC says:

    Very well done. I almost wish you hadn't written this because those of us targeting Johnson would like the price to stay cheap. If anything, his situation has improved from prior years -- but at the very least all the arguments supporting him still apply (other than Crowell perhaps looking like a better back than before) -- when he was more expensive. Now that he's down at RB39, the asymmetry of outcomes is irresistible. Almost textbook ZeroRB target. And the excess hype being spread on Crowell makes me want to draft Johnson even more.

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