Zero RB Strategy for Fantasy

  • Every year a new fad takes the fantasy world by storm as some nerd thinks he hacked the Matrix and figured out a foolproof way overcome the extreme variances in fantasy football.  Zero RB is one of the latest crazes and it reminds me of when people brag about beating the casino; whether it’s counting cards or just doubling your bet.  A strategy is only good as far as you actually understand it and zero RB is confusing because the title is misleading, it should be called RB overload.  The goal isn’t to avoid drafting RBs, it’s more to diversify the negative possibilities from investing too much draft capital in a position with maximum volatility week-to-week.  If it’s done right, a fantasy GM goes so heavy on the other positions (WR, TE, QB), that they are essentially secured for the season and the rest of the fantasy campaign can be dedicated to mixing and matching RBs with the hope of finding a couple diamonds in the rough with either a late-round pick or waiver-wire add.

    The whole principle of the strategy is centered around forming an Avengers level squad of WRs because year after year, they are much less likely to get hurt and destroy your season.  Let’s look at last season where Raheem Mostert and Kyren Williams finished as top-seven RBs for fantasy, and neither were highly coveted before drafts in August.  The first three rounds of projected elite RBs are littered with fallen stars, players who got injured or RBs who simply weren’t that good to begin with.  Austin Ekeler, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs, Rhamondre Stevenson, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones and Miles Sanders were projected to be top-20 RBs and only Tony Pollard made the cut (RB14).   Teams that drafted Ekeler top-three were essentially toast after he got hurt in Week 1 and never got back on track.  The whole point of fantasy is to be the last team standing and how is that possible if you cut off your legs just as the season starts.

    Elite WRs are like buying gold and they don’t often pop up out of nowhere, Puka Nacua was the exception, but he was also a rookie, and rookies are the definition of unpredictable.  If you look at the top-20 projected WRs before last season, it looks a lot like the top-20 at the end of the season (injuries to Justin Jefferson and Cooper Kupp notwithstanding).  Fantasy football is a cruel and unpredictable mistress and anything that organizes the chaos is going to go a long way towards winning your league.   Now that that we’ve explained why it makes sense to go zero RB and also what is it, lets break it down even further.

    So, assuming you go something like WR/WR/TE/WR with your first four picks in a league that has three WR slots plus a flex, one QB and two RBs, you have the rest of your draft to take stabs at RBs as well as find a QB plus maybe a nice late-round WR for depth.  There is no single method of attacking the RB position that will work and it’s much better to have a diversification approach when it comes to assessing the pros and cons at the position.  If the goal is to hit as many lottery tickets as possible then it makes sense to just draft rookie RBs right? Well, no because by the time that bet might pay off you could be 1-4 and essentially out of the playoffs.  Being the best team to not make the playoffs doesn’t get you trophy.


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