Redraft content is part of the PRO package for Footballguys Premium Subscriptions. We're making this preview available so you can see the edge these subscribers are getting. Sign up here.
The Re-Draft Roundtables Series
The Footballguys staff looks at various strategies to help you in redraft leagues.
Participating in a redraft league is a process that starts with the draft and hopefully ends with a championship. The Footballguys staff has answered several questions about various strategies to help you achieve your championship dreams. From the beginning to the end and everything in between, we've got you covered to give you the tools and knowledge needed to dominate your redraft league.
Talk about the Zero-RB strategy. What are the pluses and minuses? Is this something you look to implement often?
Zero-RB essentially means loading up on wide receivers and/or tight ends early in drafts while bypassing the running back position until Round 6 or so. This is a risky strategy since elite running backs offer the most upside in fantasy football. However, the number of workhorse running backs seems to be dwindling by the year as more teams implement committee approaches. Additionally, running backs are subjected to the most punishment due to their increased number of touches and, thus, are at an elevated risk of injury. That’s where the upside of this strategy comes into play, especially if playing in a large field or tournament-style format. The running back position is the easiest one-for-one replacement in fantasy football since talent takes a back seat to overall opportunity. Those touches are easier to predict than for pass catchers. Nailing the elite pass catchers early and then landing affordable replacement and possibly even workhorse running backs later can, at times, lead to the building of a super team. That’s the overall appeal of Zero-RB, and I sometimes implement it.
I try not to go into my drafts with a specific strategy, but Zero-RB is a lot of fun to try to pull off when the opportunity presents itself. There's tremendous upside in stocking up on WR1s and maybe picking up an elite tight end. With how attrition affects running backs (see: Christian McCaffrey 2020-2021), it's not a bad bet to invest your highest picks elsewhere. Keep in mind that every season will play out differently than the last. Just because Zero-RB worked out last year doesn't mean I should go into my draft committed to using it again. There could easily be several high-ADP running backs that hit this year, so there's a risk of missing out on difference makers at a critical position by being overly committed to using this strategy. It's not something I plan to implement unless I feel very good about the RBs going between rounds 6-9.
The sheer turnover in-season at the running back position is a big plus for fading the position early in drafts. Committee options can still be lineup-viable (A.J. Dillon and Melvin Gordon III as examples) with elite upside if an injury strikes. Backup running backs are cheap in drafts and available from the waiver wire, with weekly attention paid. One minus is, that even with roughly half of Round 1 running backs disappointing due to injury or poor play, the projected studs populate the strong workloads. Also, leading receivers for NFL offenses are generally available deeper into the draft than clear starting running backs as another minus. I am more likely to address running back early than fade the position.
Winning fantasy football is about finding value, and the Zero-RB concept was born out of a realization that everyone prioritized running backs to a fault. There were a few years when waiting on running back was a way of ensuring an edge at all other positions. Then if the injury bug went your way, your later-round backs would evolve into viable starters, and you would have a championship team.
Continue reading this content with a 100% free Insider subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, ESPN