Perfect Fantasy Football Mock Draft (Heavy RB Strategy)

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Jul 17, 2017

Joe Mixon will quickly become a three-down workhorse

Last week, I wrote an article showing my take on how to execute one approach to the broad zero running back strategy. I was pleased with how that roster looked, to the point where I immediately wanted to adopt it in the majority of my leagues, unless, of course, I had a top two pick or was in a league where several others had the same idea. It never makes sense to set your strategy in stone prior to a draft because you’ve got to read the league’s trends and zig while others zag. With that being said, if you are thrown into the right situation, today’s heavy RB strategy could be a game changer for you.

This is not a one-size fits all approach. Rather, the general concept is that you start RB-RB then use a handful of your next 8 picks on high-upside running backs. The best case scenario is that you have too many great assets while everyone else is thirsting for running backs as the injuries pile up. You are then able to flip your depth from the higher ground of negotiations for upgrades at other positions. While I tend to prefer taking chances on wide receivers with enormous upside like Sammy Watkins, Keenan Allen and Kevin White, this approach requires some self-restraint and selecting high-volume, reliable wide outs. Let’s take a look at how the chips fell when I used our Free Draft Simulation Software. If you want to try using the same settings, this is how I set up my draft:

  • 1 QB
  • 2 RB
  • 3 WR
  • 1 TE
  • 1 FLX
  • 6 Bench
  • Standard Scoring
  • 10th Overall Pick
  • 12 Team League

Tweet me a screenshot of your heavy-RB draft and I’ll let you know what I like and don’t like. Now let’s take a look at what I think is the ideal RB-heavy mock draft.

1.10 LeSean McCoy (RB – BUF)
2.3 Jay Ajayi (RB – MIA)
3.10 Demaryius Thomas (WR – DEN)
4.3 Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
5.10 Golden Tate (WR – DET)
6.3 Jamison Crowder (WR – WAS)
7.10 Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
8.3 Pierre Garcon (WR – SF)
9.10 Samaje Perine (RB – WAS)
10.3 Kenneth Dixon (RB – BAL)
11.10 Eric Ebron (TE – DET)
12.3 Jamaal Williams (RB – GB)
13.10 Phillip Rivers (QB – SD)
14.3 Marquise Lee (WR – JAX)

Running Back

L McCoy, J Ajayi, J Mixon, D Cook, S Perine, K Dixon, J Williams

The 10th pick is the gold-mine in a 12 team league for this strategy. You are likely to land one of McCoy, Melvin Gordon or Devonta Freeman with one of Ajayi, Jordan Howard or DeMarco Murray. After that, there is a sudden and substantial drop-off in running back quality so you will almost certainly be the only team in the league with two of the nine talented workhorses in the NFL. As you can see, I filled the rest of my roster with high-upside running backs, four of which are rookies, with terrific athletic profiles but question marks surrounding their workload. I will only be able to start one of these per week so I don’t have to worry about how unreliable they may be compared to the Frank Gore and Paul Perkins types of backs. If I hit on two, I’ve got all the depth a fantasy football coach could dream of. If I hit on three, or perhaps even more, well then, I’d be able to make a significant upgrade or two to the next unit.

Wide Receiver

D Thomas, G Tate, J Crowder, P Garcon, M Lee

As aforementioned, this is all about floor for the wideouts. Demaryius has at least 90 receptions and 1,000 yards over each of his last five seasons. Even with Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, he is a lock to finish within the top 20 wideouts for the fifth consecutive season. Now, this isn’t a PPR league, but receptions are a great indicator of reliability and here are is the list of players with at least 90 receptions in three straight seasons: Thomas, Tate, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham. That is it. Crowder is different in that he hasn’t reached even 100 targets yet, but he was at 97 last season and is now the presumable top dog with Garcon and DeSean Jackson out the door. The Redskins intend on lining him up all over the field including some time at running back. Garcon, too, is a #1 receiver, albeit for a miserable offense, but it is worth noting the last time he played for Kyle Shannahan, he led the league with 113 receptions. Lee is just a bye week plug who just so happened to find his way into 63 receptions despite starting just the final six games. He should see an expanded role in the offense this season.

Quarterback and Tight End

P Rivers, E Ebron

Phillip Rivers has been as consistent as they come and has never missed a start. We know exactly who he is at this point in his career. With that being said, we have never seen him with an offensive line this good, a receiver core this deep and talented or a running back as threating to a defenses’ gameplan. He looks primed for a career year, which would really be saying something considering he passed for 4,792 yards just two seasons ago and has 30+ touchdowns five times in his 12-year career. Ebron is the opposite, as he has never put it together for a full season, but has all the talent in the world. He had as many games (all 12) with 30+ yards as TE1, Travis Kelce, despite missing four games to injury. With Anquan Boldin out of the offense, it could be Ebron’s job to vulture all of the touchdowns. Either way, he is a sure bet to pile up the yards.

Thanks for reading! I hope you all give this strategy a few tries in Draft Wizard and that it helps you this season. If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to give our Fantasy Football Podcast a listen below.

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