Ultimate Zero RB Watch List: AFC Week 5

Through the first four weeks of the season, the focus of the Zero RB Watch List has been on keeping close tabs on every AFC backfield and ensuring all depth charts are thoroughly examined. This week, we’ll switch formats slightly by honing in on some of the more interesting backfields, once again using Expected Points as our guide. 

What is expected points (EP)? As defined by the RotoViz glossary:

EP is calculated using the average fantasy point value of a target/rush with the same line of scrimmage.

It’s another valuable perspective in examining RB workloads. Rather than focusing on raw fantasy points or snap counts,1 EP takes noisy efficiency out of the equation and provides a clear picture of opportunity.

Here is full table with every back in the AFC, sortable by EP. This will give you an overall idea of how backs are being used and how that usage is trending. You can still sort by individual backfield.

We’ll get into some of the significant shifts we witnessed in the AFC in Week 4 following the table.

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By Cort Smith | @cortnall | Archive

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  1. Jason says:

    Great article. This is super helpful for shaping a zero RB roster. Would you rather be stashing Burkhead or Ivory at the moment @FF_Contrarian @Cort ? Also, as the season goes along is it a better idea to have more RBs on your bench than you had drafted? I.e 6 on bench in week 5 when you drafted 4, or do you still want primarily WRs on your bench? Thank you

  2. I agree. These have been tremendous articles by @Cort and @hba24.

    I prefer Burkhead, but Ivory is also undervalued. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I don't see a committee here if Fournette goes down. ivory has always been awesome when healthy. Yeldon has always been awful. Corey Grant is a much bigger talent. (I own Burkhead everywhere, and I always try to add Ivory whenever I have a roster spot and he's on FA.)

    In terms of roster spots, it really depends on the team. I have teams where I end up cutting solid WRs for very speculative RBs just because I need all of those possibilities (and know that after an injury creates an opportunity it may be impossible to outbid all 11 other owners).

    On other teams, my RBs will hit and I'll end up with an RB in the Flex (even though that wasn't the intention going in), and several other good RBs on the bench, in which case I won't keep as many.

    Even format can make a difference. I tend to keep higher upside injured players on a roster if there's a Grand Prize element than if I simply need to make the playoffs and defeat 3 other players in the playoffs. In the latter scenario, making the playoffs is almost all that matters. In the former, the necessity for creating a Super Team shifts the emphasis slightly. I'd be more willing to risk missing the playoffs in order to have that potential to do more damage when I'm there.

    (For example, I've got a David Johnson team that's somewhat randomly 3-1, mostly driven by Gurley, and, oddly, Zuerlein. On that team I've also got Luck stashed. Whereas in non-Grand Prize formats, Luck has almost zero value. But I'm hoping to build not only a high-upside but also a unique lineup.)

  3. Ivory is definitely intriguing if you have the roster space.

    By the way, Rex was back at practice today for the Pats.

  4. Dennis says:

    id keep cobb and be willing to start crowell, foreman, mckinnon in order to keep him.

    i wouldnt do that trade for abdullah either. i think game script can return some of his targets to riddick and health to d-wash can return some of his goal line carries to wash/zenner.

    cobble it together at RB to keep the strength of ur core strategy...especially since Demaryius has been unplayable lately and garcon isnt super reliable either if u face opponents when u need upside

  5. I don't think there's any need to make that trade @mateoloco. With the ability to start 4 WRs, you're going to want that depth as you deal with injuries and bye weeks.

    You can probably find something similar to the production that White or Duke could give you on the wires, or with a cheaper trade. If either of those two RBs had potential to take on a huge rushing load at some point, that's a different story, but I don't think that's the case.

    FWIW, if you did it, I would go Duke too. He has a better chance of getting that rushing work than White.

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