Draft Strategy

The Ignored RB-Pocalypse of 2016 Has Created Draft Value in 2017

In 2015, the running back position cratered in fantasy football. Seemingly fell off the face of Kyrie Irving’s Earth. Devonta Freeman came from the mid-rounds to finish as the RB1 in what was dubbed the RB-Pocalypse. In 2016, it happened again… sort of. Wait, what? Early RBs won fantasy leagues last season. The top draft picks at the position were injured at one of the lowest rates imaginable. And yet, major RB injuries in 2016 have created a massive exploitable opportunity for fantasy football drafts in 2017.

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By Ben Gretch | @YardsPerGretch | Archive

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  1. Great article. It's funny, this article makes me immediately think of a player who much ink was spilled on today in another article....Ty Montgomery.

    You mentioned how these passing-game backs are getting more usage in the modern NFL with more shotgun and spread offenses. Taking that thought to the next level, I have to wonder how long it will be until we see an offense that doesn't even pretend to establish a power running game, but rather just operates a spread passing game with occasional running plays as a complement. The Patriots of 2 years ago with Dion Lewis may have been close; I'm reminded of that one game they played against the Jets where they had 50 passing attempts and 5 rushes. I think of Montgomery because I can see the Packers successfully rolling out an offense like that. An offense that doesn't really care about balance or running the ball, because they throw it so well. A new conception of the running back, where running the ball is a relatively small part of their job description, and when they do run it is more draws than typical downhill running plays.

    For all the talk of last year being "the return of the running back," I am not really buying it. Sure, there were a couple of teams fielding successful run-heavy offenses, but the overall trend to me seems to be that passing is how you win games in the NFL and the running game is slowly becoming outdated. I can see a further progression of this trend looking more like arena football or certain college offenses, and all of the trends with the rules and head injury concerns appear to support the game trending in this direction. I can see a back like Adrian Peterson becoming a thing of the past, in favor of a "new breed" of guys like Theo Riddick and Ty Montgomery.

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