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Ideal Lineup for Zero Wide Receiver Strategy (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Lauren Carpenter | @stepmomlauren | Featured Writer
Jul 17, 2020

As we gear up for the 2020 fantasy football season, you may be investigating different types of draft strategies during your preparation. You have probably heard terms such as roster construction, late-round quarterback, and Zero RB or Zero WR, to name a few. Whether you are new to fantasy football, a seasoned veteran, or just a casual player, understanding draft strategies can give you an edge in your draft and avoid the dreaded draft tilt.

In this article, I will explore what an ideal lineup should look like if you decide to employ the Zero WR draft strategy. I will refer to Average Draft Position (ADP) as well as our Consensus Rankings with tier breakdowns to create a round-by-round list of players to target. Then, I will use our Draft Simulator to see how this approach unfolds in a mock draft.

What exactly is the Zero WR strategy? In short, it’s a method where you decline to draft a wide receiver until (generally) around the sixth round of your draft. While this may sound a bit crazy, the method allows you to load up on other positions like running back, quarterback, and tight end.

My friend and fellow FantasyPros writer, Sam Hoppen, has an excellent piece detailing the advantages and pitfalls of this strategy in Alternate Draft Styles: The “Zero WR” Strategy that I urge you to check out.

The Zero WR strategy is usually better suited for non-PPR scoring formats, however, the case can be made to use them in PPR scoring leagues.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>

Players to Target

Round 1: Alvin Kamara (RB – NO): All formats
This should come as no surprise. Despite a regression in touchdowns last season, Kamara is poised for a bounce-back year now that he is finally healthy. There are a ton of fantasy points in that offense with Drew Brees, and I would be happy to draft Kamara at the 1.07 or later.

Other Players to Consider: Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN), Josh Jacobs (RB – LV), Travis Kelce (TE – KC)

Round 2: Travis Kelce (TE – KC): All Formats
Taking an elite tight end early is one of the bonuses of using the Zero WR strategy. Since we are waiting to take receivers, we can stock up on the studs at other positions.

You may also have the option to take Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes instead of Kelce at this spot. It will depend on your league scoring and who you feel can give you the most fantasy bang for your buck. If you decide you want to take Jackson or Mahomes, then George Kittle or Mark Andrews may be available after the turn.

Other Players to Consider: Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL), Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC), George Kittle (TE – SF)

Round 3: Mark Ingram (RB – BAL): STD; Chris Carson (RB – SEA): Half-PPR; Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ): Full PPR
While we are still sticking with the running back position, you can see that the type of back varies depending on what format you are playing. Despite the addition of rookie J.K. Dobbins, Ingram is still a dependable option in standard formats as well as in half-PPR scoring. Carson continues to reign as the Seahawks’ RB1 after finishing in the top-12 in 2019.

Bell may be a divisive choice for some people. The Jets have a much-improved offensive line and the most vacated targets in the NFL. The addition of Frank Gore has landed Bell on many do-not-draft lists, especially in an Adam Gase-led offense. I am perfectly happy to have Bell at this spot in a PPR league. If you are interested in a more detailed breakdown of Bell’s potential in 2020, check out my earlier article about him.

Other Players to Consider: Devin Singletary (RB – BUF), Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN), Todd Gurley (RB – ATL), David Johnson (RB – HOU)

Round 4: David Johnson (RB – HOU): STD; Todd Gurley (RB – ATL): Half-PPR; Mark Andrews (TE – BAL): Full PPR
If you read the article above, then Johnson and Gurley shouldn’t be surprising as options to draft in the fourth round, whether you are using the Zero WR strategy or not. I am very excited about their potential this year, and getting either one of these players at this spot is a win in my book.

Although I have Kelce as my starting tight end already, I wanted to make a case for Andrews if you decided to skip over him in the second. I’m not convinced that he will drop this far in a real draft, but if by some miracle he falls to you at this spot, I would not hesitate to grab him in any scoring format.

Other Players to Consider: David Montgomery (RB – CHI), Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND), Marlon Mack (RB – IND), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC).

Round 5: Dak Prescott (QB – DAL): All formats
Full disclosure — I subscribe to the notion of waiting on your quarterback. Normally, this is too early for me to draft one considering all the talent later in the drafts. However, the point of the Zero WR method is to load up on talent at the other positions. If we missed out on Jackson or Mahomes earlier in the draft, this would be the place to draft a signal-caller.

We are approaching the sixth round, and that’s when we’ll start heavily targeting receivers. If you already grabbed a quarterback before this point, Derrius Guice, Raheem Mostert, and Hunter Henry may still be available to round out the non-receiver part of your squad.

Other Players to Consider: Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU), Kyler Murray (QB – ARI), Derrius Guice (RB – WAS), Raheem Mostert (RB – SF), Hunter Henry (TE – LAC)

Round 6: Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU): STD; JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT): Half-PPR; DeVante Parker (WR – MIA): Full PPR
This is when it starts to become clear why the Zero WR strategy tends to work better in non-PPR formats. Since players do not score a point for a reception, their value is diminished in standard, allowing better players to fall further down the draft board. I am alright with Cooks as my WR1 in standard, and I am also fine with Smith-Schuster as my WR1 in half-PPR.

However, I am not comfortable with DeVante Parker as my WR1 in full-PPR. I would rather have a stud receiver from the first round such as Michael Thomas or Julio Jones and then take Parker as my WR2. Other receivers available in full-PPR in the sixth round were Marquise Brown, Jarvis Landry, and A.J. Green.

Other Players to Consider: Marquise Brown (WR – BAL), Jarvis Landry (WR – CLE), A.J. Green (WR – CIN), Michael Gallup (WR – DAL)

Round 7: Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN): STD; DeVante Parker (WR – MIA): Half; Michael Gallup (WR – DAL): Full PPR
Once you get through that sixth round and the anxiety of finally committing to a receiver, the rest of the draft starts to get a little easier. Sutton is a strong candidate for any format, but I see him as the downfield stretcher with Drew Lock in his second year. If you need a receiver to give you points on more than just big plays, Gallup is an excellent option here.

Other Players to Consider: Julian Edelman (WR – NE), Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)

Round 8: Julian Edelman (WR – NE), Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT), Emmanuel Sanders (WR – NO): All Formats
Depending on how your roster is shaping up, you can either go with Mr. Reliable in Edelman or a rising star in Johnson. I would personally put my faith in Johnson with Ben Roethlisberger healthy, however, if you drafted Smith-Schuster, you may want to go in another direction to diversify.

Emmanuel Sanders is another player to consider if you want a piece of that high-flying New Orleans offense.

Other Players to Consider: Mike Williams (WR – LAC), Marvin Jones (WR – DET)

Round 9: Sterling Shepard (WR – NYG): STD and Half; Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN): Full
I am just tickled that Shepard is dropping as low as the ninth Round in standard and half-PPR formats. I believe Daniel Jones will take a significant step forward in his sophomore year, and I love all of the pieces for the Giants in terms of fantasy. In fact, I have Daniel Jones as one of my 3 Bounce-Back QBs for 2020.

If you are in a full-PPR scoring format, I would recommend looking at Jerry Jeudy as a flyer option. He has the opportunity to dominate in the slot if he can create chemistry with sophomore quarterback Lock. Remember to be careful when double-dipping on pass-catchers in the same offense if you have already taken Sutton.

Other Players to Consider: Mecole Hardman (WR – KC), Mike Williams (WR – LAC), CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL)

Rounds 10 – 15: Get your guys
Honestly, getting the guys that you believe in can start earlier if you do not employ the Zero WR strategy. For our purposes, we are starting in the tenth round and basically throwing ADP out the window.

These players will represent our bench spots, safety, or flyer options. You can score another quarterback (or your first one if you waited) such as Matthew Stafford, a sleeper tight end like Mike Gesicki, or even more wide receivers. Your choices in these rounds will depend on your team’s needs at each position.

The Mock Draft

Now, let’s see how our teams shook out in standard, half-PPR, and full-PPR using our Mock Draft Simulator. I drafted from the 7th position in a 12 team league in a snake draft. The roster consists of QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, Flex, DST, 6 Bench.

Standard

  1. Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
  2. Travis Kelce (TE – KC)
  3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB -KC)
  4. Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)
  5. Raheem Mostert (RB – SF)
  6. Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)
  7. Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
  8. Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU)
  9. CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL)
  10. Emmanuel Sanders (WR – NO)
  11. Boston Scott (RB – PHI)
  12. Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
  13. A.J. Dillon (RB – GB)
  14. Sammy Watkins (WR – KC)
  15. Bears DST

Draft Grade: A- 

Despite having way too many shares of the Kansas Chiefs, I managed to get an A- in this mock.

Half-PPR

  1. Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
  2. Kenyan Drake (RB – ARI)
  3. Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)
  4. Zach Ertz (TE – PHI)
  5. David Johnson (RB – HOU)
  6. T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND)
  7. Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
  8. Christian Kirk (WR – ARI)
  9. Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
  10. Anthony Miller (WR – CHI)
  11. Jalen Reagor (WR – PHI)
  12. Chase Edmonds (RB – ARI)
  13. Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR)
  14. Giovani Bernard (RB – CIN)
  15. Vikings DST

Draft Grade: A-

Full-PPR

  1. Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
  2. Travis Kelce (TE – KC)
  3. Todd Gurley (RB – ATL)
  4. Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)
  5. David Johnson (RB – HOU)
  6. Julian Edelman (WR – NE)
  7. Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ)
  8. John Brown (WR – BUF)
  9. Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
  10. Golden Tate (WR – NYG)
  11. Alshon Jeffery (WR – PHI)
  12. Duke Johnson (RB – HOU)
  13. Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)
  14. Darrynton Evans (RB – TEN)
  15. Bears DST

Draft Grade: B

As I mentioned earlier in this article, Zero WR doesn’t work as well in PPR formats. The half-PPR mock got an A-, but the full PPR one earned a solid B. I mock drafted four times with different players and got a B every time in full PPR.

Remember to play around with different strategies like the Zero WR method using the Draft Simulator tool or join a live draft and mock draft with other players.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>


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Lauren Carpenter is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Lauren, check out her archive and follow her @stepmomlauren.

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