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Why the Zero RB strategy is NOT the move in Fantasy and how you should approach your draft

Written by JakeShah2005

Why do people Use Zero RB and What it is:
People use the Zero RB strategy to try and gain an advantage in other areas of their team in Fantasy. Essentially “the goal” is to wait on running backs until later in the draft and hoping that these running backs go from zero to hero this year.. However, I am going to explain why this year, that is NOT a good option.

Wide Receiver Value:
This year rounds 3-6 have incredible value at the wide receiver position, and I only Really LOVE 2 of the receivers that have an Average Draft Position (ADP) in the first two rounds: Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb. Below I am going to touch on the receivers being taken in the first two rounds that you should be passing on.

Cooper Kupp:
I am fine with drafting Kupp, however I would rather draft a top 5 running back as Kupp is due for regression from last year. He put up Video Game number, and Matthew Stafford is banged up. If he falls in the first round in a PPR league I could be convinced, but I’d rather take a top tier workhorse running back with my First Round Pick.

Davante Adams:
This one was easier for me, but it seems like he is going in the beginning of the second round of most drafts, which just doesn’t make sense to me. Being in a new system with a conservative head coach does not help Adams. He is going from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr, a Hall of Fame quarterback to a guy who has gone over 30 touchdowns one time. He will have competition for targets with Waller, Hunter Renfrow, and Josh McDaniels Loves running the ball so this one is a no from me.

Stefon Diggs:
Diggs is another I don’t hate this year, however there is a different Bills receiver that has a lot more value at his ADP and that is Gabe Davis. The Bills have over 150 targets Vacated from last year losing Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley, and Gabe Davis is going to be the main Beneficiary and Josh Allen‘s #1 red zone target. Again, I don’t hate Diggs and if he falls I would consider it, I just am targeting a different WR 4-5 rounds later on the same team.

Ja’Marr Chase:
Ja’Marr Chase is an electric player and potentially the future #1 receiver in the NFL. But, he wasn’t even the number 1 receiver the lasts few weeks of the season last year on his own team. He is too boom or bust for my liking, especially if I can get a running back guaranteed 20 touches a game over him in the first round with a lot more consistency.

Tyreek Hill:
This one is simple, going from Mahomes -> Tua, similar to my concerns with Adams. Drafting Hill in the second round with a quarterback who doesn’t throw a good deep ball? I’ll pass. Especially while Hill is competing for targets with Waddle in this offense, who may end up with more fantasy points by the end of the year. You can get Waddle 2 rounds after Hill.

When to Consider a QB:
A lot of people want to get a stud at quarterback, and who doesn’t love having them? My advice is wait. Jalen Hurts was a top 10 quarterback last year and was getting drafted in the 8th round or later in most leagues. Tom Brady was drafted in the 7th round or later and was also a top 3 quarterback. You do not need to reach for a QB. Trey Lance, Tom Brady. And Aaron Rodgers are all great Values in the draft. All going after the 7th/8th round. Their numbers wont be too much different from the guys going 4-5 rounds ahead of the.

Summary and strategy for the first 5 rounds:
Do not consider the Zero RB strategy, at least not this year. Yes, you can get value at RB later in the draft, but there is a good chance that player is not going to be a workhouse RB1 that is going to help you win a league. The best bet is that “Zero RB” target ends up still splitting carries, or never breaking out and you are left with a giant hole at RB. Prioritize the running back position, go out and try and pair ny combination of Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, even D’Andre Swift in the first two rounds.

The Receivers I am targeting are names like Mike Williams, Michael Pittman, Courtland Sutton, Brandin Cooks, and DJ Moore in rounds 3-6. I really only love 1 Running backs in rounds 3-6 and that’s Breece Hall, but even he is on the Jets, and will be splitting some carries with Michael Carter.

I didn’t touch much on tight ends, but I have no problem drafting one in rounds 4-5 as well. Getting a stud at TE can provide a big advantage in fantasy. I’ve tried the streaming route multiple times at Tight end and it’s stressful, you never have anything consistent. So go in with a plan, and if a guy like Pitts or Kittle falls further back then there normal ADP, go and grab them and follow that pick up with a WR your next pick.

At the end of the day, just don’t wait on running backs. Get your studs at running back and early, there is plenty of value at receiver in the middle of the draft and you definitely don’t need a QB before round 6/7. The zero running Rb strategy CAN work, but there is 0% room for error with there only being a few opportunities to find that “diamond in the rough” running back at the end of the draft.

Image By: USA Today

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About the author

JakeShah2005