Perfect Fantasy Football Mock Draft (Zero RB Strategy)

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Jul 10, 2017

Imagine a team where Sammy Watkins is your #3 wide receiver

Last season, I was entirely opposed to employing the zero running back strategy. I am all for trying to find new angles that help people win, but the landscape of fantasy football had morphed so much over the years that it made zero sense to ignore all of the dozen running backs that you could actually rely on. Well, here we are this season and we have come full circle. In 2016, 21 running backs scored over 150 standard scoring fantasy points to only 11 wide receivers. Now, getting your hands on three or even four of those top two tier wide receivers would come in quite handy, especially when you consider all of the upside found in tiers 4 and 5 of the running back pool.

Today, I’ll take you through the results of my 26th simulated draft Using our Free Draft Simulation Software. I had to run all those drafts in order to nail the perfect zero running back draft that way you’d know what the final product would ideally look like. For what it’s worth, it actually didn’t take me all that long to do finish draft #26 because you can cruise through these things and load up on useful practice. 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
  • 6th Overall Pick
  • 12 Team League

Tweet me a screenshot of your zero-RB draft and I’ll let you know what I like and don’t like. Now let’s take a look at the perfect zero RB draft.

1.6 Odell Beckham (WR – NYG)
2.7 Michael Thomas (WR – NO)
3.6 Sammy Watkins (WR – BUF)
4.7 Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)
5.6 Greg Olsen (TE – CAR)
6.7 Andrew Luck (QB – IND)
7.6 Doug Martin (RB – TB)
8.7 Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
9.6 Kenneth Dixon (RB – BAL)
10.7 Samaje Perine (RB – WAS)
11.6 Duke Johnson (RB – CLE)
12.7 Quincy Enunwa (WR – NYJ)
13.6 Jamaal Williams (RB – GB)
14.7 Marlon Mack (RB – GB)

Running Back

D Martin, D Henry, K Dixon, S Perine, Du Johnson, J Williams, M Mack

You may notice a common theme here: upside. With the quality of wide receivers I drafted, it enabled me to virtually forgo the bench there and add a load of boom or bust running backs. Let’s say each of these guys has a 40% chance at booming, that gives me 2.8 starting running backs on average to go with my top wide receiving core in the league while being solid at QB/TE. It is risky to wait on running backs, but the more opportunities you add, the more the risk goes away. Several of these players have legitimate RB1 upside, and if Martin and Dixon weren’t out the first few weeks, they would be taken 40 to 50 picks higher each. I think Duke and Henry can hold down the fort until that time comes and perhaps even steal the jobs themselves behind two superb offensive lines. Don’t sleep on J-Will getting early down work from the get-go too. As my buddy and podcast co-host, Mike Tagliere pointed out, Ty Montgomery only saw double-digit carries once last season so it would make sense that Jamaal will get his crack early in the season.

Wide Receiver

O Beckham, M Thomas, S Watkins, K Allen, Q Enunwa

Writing this article may have tempted me into using this strategy in every league this season. That wide receiver core is unbelievably good, and as I mentioned, doesn’t require much depth because of the reliability at the top. Watkins and Allen do both have injury histories, but just consider that Watkins has been better than Antonio Brown when he is healthy and that as a 23-year-old, Keenan was on pace for 188 targets at 1,450 receiving yards before his injury in 2015. If either, or both clicks this season and you pair them with talents like Beckham and Thomas then I just might be able to win games even if my running backs were Peyton Hillis and Tim Tebow. Enunwa is the perfect fit for this scheme because he is the most steady wide receiver outside the top 100. He will get plenty of looks from the top of that dreadful depth chart as the Jets play from behind. His purpose on this roster is to provide stability in bye weeks and insurance if one of my big names goes down.

Quarterback and Tight End

A Luck, G Olsen

These two guys were the plan all along and if I didn’t land both, I’d chalk the entire draft up as a total failure and start over. The reason why is that there is such a major drop-off from tier 1 to tier 2 at both positions. In drafts, you always want to grab the top player at the position or the last player in a tier. Think of it this way: Greg Olsen‘s floor (80 receptions for 1,000 yards and 4 TDs) as evidenced by his previous three seasons might be better than TE5, Jimmy Graham‘s ceiling (65 receptions for 900 yards and 6 TDs, which we saw last season), yet Graham is being selected just a round or two later than Olsen. If you don’t get a top 4 tight end, you might as well wait 10 rounds and scoop of Coby Fleener, and the same goes for quarterbacks, but with Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles or Carson Palmer.

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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