At the request of another footclan member, I am creating this thread to talk RB Zero drafting strategy. As some of you probably know, I’ve been a pretty strong advocate of the Zero RB strategy this year. Full disclosure, it’s not something that I did last year. I actually went the exact opposite last year and did heavy RB drafting back to back RB and in many instances, taking RBs with my 1st 3 rounds while going for value with Fitz in the 5th because lots of others were running WR/WR opens. But given how much people have been focusing on RB this year, especially in the 1st round, there is so much value at WR allowing you to get 2 1st round talent WR open which would have been unfathomable in years past.
Now I’m sure there are different approaches people take and I’m curious to hear the thoughts of others but I’ll just talk a bit about how I run my zero RB drafts. These are general guidelines. It doesn’t mean that if an elite RB falls to you at value, you skip them for a WR (i.e. you take OBJ over DJ if he falls to you at 9 or something). But the reason why this strat has worked out so well for me, particularly in this year is because everyone goes for RB over WR and ignores tiers so I get great WRs falling to me.
I only run this strat if I am picking 9th or later in a snake draft. Because that is when I’ve found I’ve been able to stack 2x top flight receivers. The premise is that you basically lock down 3-5 elite WRs/TE in the first 4 rounds and then get a good mix of rookie/vet value RBs in the middle rounds + smash a bunch of high upside high risk cheap guys in the later rounds. Now the mistake I’ve seen people make with this strat is they will open WR/WR in 1st and 2nd rounds but then get scared and end up settling/reaching for a mediocre RB in the 3rd/4th. If you run this strat, I encourage you fully commit to it, otherwise you just end up with a middling team.
In the first 2 rounds, I try to get 2 of the following:
1st: OBJ > Hopkins > JJ
2nd: MT> Allen > AJ Green > Adams
Now some considerations for the above, it’s all about the pairing. The dream scenario of course is if you can OBJ and Hopkins but that is very rare. I got it in my most recent league but that’s cause it was a superflex. The next best thing is OBJ/JJ open. Other than that, it’s about pairing. If I get JJ in 1st round, I like to pair him with someone like MT who has a great floor. If I get OBJ in the 1st, then I don’t mind grabbing someone with a higher ceiling/lower floor combo like Allen or AJ Green.
3rd Round: If Gronk falls to me here, I take him without question but that rarely happens. Other than that, I’ve seen myself getting a lot of Diggs or TY Hilton. Also fine with taking Kelce here given the TE wasteland. Roster slots are super important here. You need to take as many dart throws on RBs later as possible so you can’t really afford to be holding two risky TEs with late round TE strategy here.
4th: Amari Cooper has been my absolute top target here. Normally, having cooper as your WR2 is not very comforting but when he’s your WR3 / Flex play, he offers unmatched upside. Also, I am a believer in the talent and a huge rebound for him this year under gruden and a year removed from injuries. If I don’t get Cooper, I’ve been getting either Ertz or guys like Fitz, JuJu, Jarvis, Arob.
5th - This is one of the key rounds. This is usually where I make the decision to go RB or not. You have to feel out your draft and see what other guys are doing. If others have already stocked on RBs and are now starving for WR, I continue to grab another WR here and get someone like Marvin Jones/Golden Tate/Flash Gordon. But if you want to be safe, this is usually where I target and grab Lamar Miller. Could also grab someone like Royce or Penny but miller to me is the best value and pretty safe.
From there, you just gotta let the draft play itself out. But I like to get a good mix of vets and high upside young guys / rookies.
Vets: Miller, Ajayi, Lynch, Burkhead
Rookies: Royce, Kerryon, Michel
High upside: Jamaal Williams/aaron Jones which ever is cheaper, Jordan Wilkins, Breida (this is based on my view that McKInnon is a bust), barber (based on my view that ROJO is a bust which seems to be the case)
In the late rounds, I go for higher upside fliers / other peoples handcuffs so if their starters go down, they’re league winners and if not, you can either drop them quickly or use them as trade sweeteners to those owners who want handcuffs.
Key Targets: John Kelly, Chase Edmonds, Rod Smith, James Conner.
One other thing I will add is that when doing this strat, I avoid drafting scat backs / 3rd down specialists. I only pick guys who have the potential to play all 3 downs. So I don’t draft guys like Cohen, Thompson, Hines, Ty Mont, etc. Those guys have limited upsides and this strat, you need as much upside as you can get.
For those of you who shy away from this, I strongly encourage you give it a shot. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’ve liked my ending teams using this style much more than the traditional RB/WR or RB/RB approach when drafting from late position.
Anyway, there is is. Sorry for the long post. Love to hear critiques, variations, and other peoples thoughts on how they approach this style of draft or why they think it sucks/doesn’t work.