Why I avoid going RB-RB in the early rounds of FF drafts

For all of our NFL Fantasy and gaming enthusiasts. RATING: PG
  • Right now, the NFL is setting records for passing yards and RBs are being marginalized somewhat. Despite this, RB still rules fantasy football drafts in the early rounds, with most players drafting both their starting RBs in the first two or three rounds.

    I kind of see the reason why. Every year there are going to be a couple of RBs who put up monster fantasy numbers that no WR could ever hope to match. The problem is, which RB will it be? Last year it was Charles and McCoy. The year before that, it was AP, Martin, and Foster. The year before that, Rice, McCoy, MJD. And the season before that, Foster was the only RB to score well above the top receivers.

    Point being, everybody that picked a top 3 RB the year after his big season has been at least mildly disappointed the next season every single time, and in some cases those picks turned into huge busts as RBs are prone to get injured and miss time.

    The other thing is, sometimes a RB will just fall off the face of the planet. Look at Ray Rice and Doug Martin last year. Really every season you have a few RB who went from top 10 to outside the top 25 the next season.

    By comparison, the very top WRs tend to be a bit more steady. Calvin Johnson has been money in the bank 3 straight years. Demaryius Thomas too. Jimmy Graham might be better than both, as he's consistent and puts up monster production compared to an average TE.

    There are going to be a couple of monster RBs every year that are going to have significantly more points than the top pass catchers, this is true. But for all the other RBs, their point totals are going to be roughly in line with the top WRs, except that the top WRs have so much less risk.

    I think a lot of people go RB-RB because they think there aren't enough RBs to get good ones later. This is kind of true if you draft normally. What I did last year was wait until the 5th round to get Reggie Bush, who I correctly believed to be a breakout player, and then I stocked up on RBs, using my entire bench for nothing but RBs and WRs. I think I had 5 RBs.

    During the season I churned through these RBs getting new guys who looked like they had a chance to be high workload guys. Most of these moves didn't work, but ultimately it doesn't matter how many failures you have, only how many successes. One of the players I received using this method was Knowshon Moreno. I also got Zac Stacy and narrowly missed on Eddie Lacy. Moreno finished 4th, just barely behind Marshawn Lynch, and Bush finished 11th. Stacy would have been a top 10 RB if you prorate his numbers over 16 starts. Lacy, who I could have had but was too slow on the trigger, finished 5th.

    So even though I avoided RB early, I still finished with one of the better RB groups in my league. All while having by far the best WR corps (Megatron, Josh Gordon, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson), Drew Brees at QB, the best non-Seahawks defense and the league's #5 TE (Witten). My kicker was just waiver wire du Jour. I used this method in both leagues and finished #1 in scoring for both, in one league it was a bit of a blowout with #2 sitting almost 200 points behind me.

    Now, you could do this same method with different priorities. For example you could go RB-RB early and then load up with a zillion WRs and work the waiver wires. The only reason I don't like that method, in addition to the anti-risk argument stated before for taking RBs early, is that it is much harder to discover breakout WRs than breakout RBs. WRs can struggle for years before breaking through, whereas RBs tend to hit their groove within their first couple seasons. And since RBs can tend to rise quicker and fall more precipitously, this creates a perfect storm for new blood to excel at the RB position every NFL season.

    Also, RBs that are a product of the system tend to fly way under the radar too which is why I was able to get Knowshon Moreno off of waivers.

    Add to this the fact that teams are increasingly looking to dump veteran RBs for rookie-contract youngsters, and it really shouldn't be any surprise that in recent years there have been a ton of "surprise" RBs in fantasy.

    Why take big risks early when you get excellent production at RB by churning through the less heralded guys, knowing that any one of them has a fairly decent chance of being the next surprise star, all at zero risk and zero cost. Even if the odds are a little low, all that means is that you just need to churn through a lot of prospects, churn through enough and you are very likely to get the 1-2 hits you need.
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    kearly
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  • Question for you. How many teams are in your league? I'm in a 14 team league and after the 2nd rd there are about 20-25 RB's off the board. That leaves the pickings very slim for anyone who didn't double dip.
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  • EverydayImRusselin wrote:Question for you. How many teams are in your league? I'm in a 14 team league and after the 2nd rd there are about 20-25 RB's off the board. That leaves the pickings very slim for anyone who didn't double dip.


    Ten, sometimes eight.

    There are always going to be RBs that are way under the radar during the draft. When I picked up Knowshon Moreno last year there were already about 40 other RBs taken off the board by that point. Same thing with Zac Stacy.

    It won't be those same two guys this year, but I expect there seem to be 3-5 really good RBs every year who can be had with late picks and waiver pickups, but the only GMs that get them are the ones who use their bench to churn through and use a shotgun approach.

    That said, in a 14 player league I would probably take at least 1 RB early, since the opportunity for a 5th round steal like Reggie Bush or Alfred Morris last year would be greatly diminished.
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  • If you're in a 8- or 10- team league you can chance not getting your 2nd RB until the 5th round... When you add 2-4 more drafting teams so the mix you're not gonna get the same talent.

    In an 8-10 team league there's 30 more players that aren't being drafted making the talent pool stronger.

    I don't think it takes away from your point of not being so married to only drafting RBs with the early pick.

    Outside of the top 5-6 picks, QB or WR makes sense. Especially I'd youre looking at Bree's as your QB or hoping that Sankey will be a star.
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  • I will usually go with rb-rb, but it really depends on the league, who is available, and the scoring settings. I was in 8 leagues last year (2 expert, 4 money leagues, and 2 for schitzengiggle leagues). I went rb-rb in 3 or 4 of them, I made the playoffs in all eight leagues. My thinking is that rb is the thinnest position with the league focusing on passing and rbbc, it's becoming more and more important to draft your rbs early to make sure you get your studs. Last year I did the math for drafting rbs later vs drafting other positions later, what I found was that rbs taken in the first 30 picks averaged a little over 5 points more than rbs taken between picks 20 -50. When you start 2 rbs that's an average of 5-10 points more a week if you draft a rb within the first 3 rounds compared to the team that waits to draft a rb til after round 2. I did the same thing for qbs and wrs and found the disparity to be much less at those positions. Rbs still reign supreme because you need to get your studs early. The ppg difference compared with the first five qbs taken is less than 5 when compared to qbs 5-10 (which are usually taken between rounds 4-7). Of course, these are based on 2012 fantasy numbers as I haven't researched last years trends but at a glance it looks like it'll be a similar result.
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  • QB - WR - WR are my first 3 picks.

    Unless I have the first two picks then I would take Lynch or Peterson. Otherwise, I can get just about the same production later in the rounds on some informed guesses and pick up studs after injuries.
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  • I see zero reason in taking a QB early. The point per game difference between the #2 QB and the #12 QB is historically much smaller than at any other position. You would actually be better off going Graham, WR, WR and targeting a guy like Wilson, Cutler or whoever late in the draft. I could be wrong but I think Wilson last year was #6/#7 and only a couple points different than anyone not named Manning.

    I usually lean RB/WR heavy for the first 6 rounds or so unless I can get a guy like Graham/Gronk if they fall far enough.

    But any strategy can win obviously Rotoviz.com has some good stuff on the different draft paths and how any of them could work.
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  • It depends on the league and rules.
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  • As I mentioned earlier, I play in a 14 team league, where we keep 1 player. I'm keeping Jamaal Charles and picking 14th since I won last year. I'm not sure if I want to try and grab a 2nd RB at pick 14/15 or just trying to grab 2 high end WR and try Kip's strategy. I think a top RB1 and 2 top 10 WR would be better than a top RB1/low end RB2, 1 top 10 WR. Thoughts?
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  • EverydayImRusselin wrote:As I mentioned earlier, I play in a 14 team league, where we keep 1 player. I'm keeping Jamaal Charles and picking 14th since I won last year. I'm not sure if I want to try and grab a 2nd RB at pick 14/15 or just trying to grab 2 high end WR and try Kip's strategy. I think a top RB1 and 2 top 10 WR would be better than a top RB1/low end RB2, 1 top 10 WR. Thoughts?

    In larger groups like that I think you need to diversify your picks a little more, but if someone falls to your position that should have gone earlier you have to go with that player regardless of your other needs.
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  • HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    EverydayImRusselin wrote:As I mentioned earlier, I play in a 14 team league, where we keep 1 player. I'm keeping Jamaal Charles and picking 14th since I won last year. I'm not sure if I want to try and grab a 2nd RB at pick 14/15 or just trying to grab 2 high end WR and try Kip's strategy. I think a top RB1 and 2 top 10 WR would be better than a top RB1/low end RB2, 1 top 10 WR. Thoughts?

    In larger groups like that I think you need to diversify your picks a little more, but if someone falls to your position that should have gone earlier you have to go with that player regardless of your other needs.


    What would you recommend doing? Just for a little more background info, here is who I predict the keeper's to be.

    FOSTER
    FORTE
    LACY
    RODGERS
    MURRAY
    BALL
    GRAHAM
    AP
    BERNARD
    GREEN
    MATHEWS
    MCCOY
    THOMAS
    CHARLES


    Based off previous drafts I expect Manning, Brees, Megatron and maybe 1 other WR plus 9 or 10 RB's off the board before I pick. In an ideal world I'll get Andre Ellington (I have high hopes for him this year) and a top WR like Dez or Marshall. If there is an even bigger run on RB's than I expect I don't know if I'd rather have Dez/Marshall combo or Ben Tate/Dez type of combo. I'd feel more comfortable with Dez/Marshall but my 2nd RB is going to be someone like Deangelo Williams.
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  • EverydayImRusselin wrote:
    HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    EverydayImRusselin wrote:As I mentioned earlier, I play in a 14 team league, where we keep 1 player. I'm keeping Jamaal Charles and picking 14th since I won last year. I'm not sure if I want to try and grab a 2nd RB at pick 14/15 or just trying to grab 2 high end WR and try Kip's strategy. I think a top RB1 and 2 top 10 WR would be better than a top RB1/low end RB2, 1 top 10 WR. Thoughts?

    In larger groups like that I think you need to diversify your picks a little more, but if someone falls to your position that should have gone earlier you have to go with that player regardless of your other needs.


    What would you recommend doing? Just for a little more background info, here is who I predict the keeper's to be.

    FOSTER
    FORTE
    LACY
    RODGERS
    MURRAY
    BALL
    GRAHAM
    AP
    BERNARD
    GREEN
    MATHEWS
    MCCOY
    THOMAS
    CHARLES


    Based off previous drafts I expect Manning, Brees, Megatron and maybe 1 other WR plus 9 or 10 RB's off the board before I pick. In an ideal world I'll get Andre Ellington (I have high hopes for him this year) and a top WR like Dez or Marshall. If there is an even bigger run on RB's than I expect I don't know if I'd rather have Dez/Marshall combo or Ben Tate/Dez type of combo. I'd feel more comfortable with Dez/Marshall but my 2nd RB is going to be someone like Deangelo Williams.

    You'll really jus have to wait and see how it plays out but since you're at the turn I'd probably go with rb and wr, like Gore or Bush as a solid #2 RB and you'll have to settle for a high end #2WR as your #1, like a Vincent Jackson or maybe even Fitz if he falls that far. When your pick comes around again, 56th and 57th overall I think, that's when you add your 2nd Wr and then you have to make a choice, get a QB (in a league like that they come off the board pretty quickly), I've seen Stafford last that long in mocks, RGIII will be available probably, or do you add a rb or wr for your flex. It all depends on who is available. I'd probably wait until your next turn to worry about a TE.
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  • HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    EverydayImRusselin wrote:
    HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    EverydayImRusselin wrote:As I mentioned earlier, I play in a 14 team league, where we keep 1 player. I'm keeping Jamaal Charles and picking 14th since I won last year. I'm not sure if I want to try and grab a 2nd RB at pick 14/15 or just trying to grab 2 high end WR and try Kip's strategy. I think a top RB1 and 2 top 10 WR would be better than a top RB1/low end RB2, 1 top 10 WR. Thoughts?

    In larger groups like that I think you need to diversify your picks a little more, but if someone falls to your position that should have gone earlier you have to go with that player regardless of your other needs.


    What would you recommend doing? Just for a little more background info, here is who I predict the keeper's to be.

    FOSTER
    FORTE
    LACY
    RODGERS
    MURRAY
    BALL
    GRAHAM
    AP
    BERNARD
    GREEN
    MATHEWS
    MCCOY
    THOMAS
    CHARLES


    Based off previous drafts I expect Manning, Brees, Megatron and maybe 1 other WR plus 9 or 10 RB's off the board before I pick. In an ideal world I'll get Andre Ellington (I have high hopes for him this year) and a top WR like Dez or Marshall. If there is an even bigger run on RB's than I expect I don't know if I'd rather have Dez/Marshall combo or Ben Tate/Dez type of combo. I'd feel more comfortable with Dez/Marshall but my 2nd RB is going to be someone like Deangelo Williams.

    You'll really jus have to wait and see how it plays out but since you're at the turn I'd probably go with rb and wr, like Gore or Bush as a solid #2 RB and you'll have to settle for a high end #2WR as your #1, like a Vincent Jackson or maybe even Fitz if he falls that far. When your pick comes around again, 56th and 57th overall I think, that's when you add your 2nd Wr and then you have to make a choice, get a QB (in a league like that they come off the board pretty quickly), I've seen Stafford last that long in mocks, RGIII will be available probably, or do you add a rb or wr for your flex. It all depends on who is available. I'd probably wait until your next turn to worry about a TE.


    I don't think I'd be settling for a high end #2 WR as my #1. I only expect max of 4 WR gone by my pick. Basically I think my team would start off like this.

    Charles
    Dez
    Ben Tate/Andre Ellington
    WR2 like Cordarelle Patterson or Golden Tate

    OR

    Charles
    Dez
    Brandon Marshall
    RB2 like Shane Vereen/Deangelo Williams/Danny Woodhead
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  • HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    EverydayImRusselin wrote:
    HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    EverydayImRusselin wrote:As I mentioned earlier, I play in a 14 team league, where we keep 1 player. I'm keeping Jamaal Charles and picking 14th since I won last year. I'm not sure if I want to try and grab a 2nd RB at pick 14/15 or just trying to grab 2 high end WR and try Kip's strategy. I think a top RB1 and 2 top 10 WR would be better than a top RB1/low end RB2, 1 top 10 WR. Thoughts?

    In larger groups like that I think you need to diversify your picks a little more, but if someone falls to your position that should have gone earlier you have to go with that player regardless of your other needs.


    What would you recommend doing? Just for a little more background info, here is who I predict the keeper's to be.

    FOSTER
    FORTE
    LACY
    RODGERS
    MURRAY
    BALL
    GRAHAM
    AP
    BERNARD
    GREEN
    MATHEWS
    MCCOY
    THOMAS
    CHARLES


    Based off previous drafts I expect Manning, Brees, Megatron and maybe 1 other WR plus 9 or 10 RB's off the board before I pick. In an ideal world I'll get Andre Ellington (I have high hopes for him this year) and a top WR like Dez or Marshall. If there is an even bigger run on RB's than I expect I don't know if I'd rather have Dez/Marshall combo or Ben Tate/Dez type of combo. I'd feel more comfortable with Dez/Marshall but my 2nd RB is going to be someone like Deangelo Williams.

    You'll really jus have to wait and see how it plays out but since you're at the turn I'd probably go with rb and wr, like Gore or Bush as a solid #2 RB and you'll have to settle for a high end #2WR as your #1, like a Vincent Jackson or maybe even Fitz if he falls that far. When your pick comes around again, 56th and 57th overall I think, that's when you add your 2nd Wr and then you have to make a choice, get a QB (in a league like that they come off the board pretty quickly), I've seen Stafford last that long in mocks, RGIII will be available probably, or do you add a rb or wr for your flex. It all depends on who is available. I'd probably wait until your next turn to worry about a TE.


    I don't think I'd be settling for a high end #2 WR as my #1. I only expect max of 4 WR gone by my pick. Basically I think my team would start off like this.

    Charles
    Dez
    Ben Tate/Andre Ellington
    WR2 like Cordarelle Patterson or Golden Tate

    OR

    Charles
    Dez
    Brandon Marshall
    RB2 like Shane Vereen/Deangelo Williams/Danny Woodhead[/quote]
    There will most definitely be more than 4 WRs gone by the time your pick comes around, keep in mind, your first pick is essentially 28th overall. Run through a handful of mocks and see how many Wrs are taken by that point. It'll be closer to double that and there's no way Dez or Marshall will last that long.
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  • HAWKAMANIA wrote:
    There will most definitely be more than 4 WRs gone by the time your pick comes around, keep in mind, your first pick is essentially 28th overall. Run through a handful of mocks and see how many Wrs are taken by that point. It'll be closer to double that and there's no way Dez or Marshall will last that long.


    I've done multiple mocks. My point is that I know how my league drafts. Here is how last years draft went (Rd 1 is the keepers and we have to keep 1 person, so some keepers blow). The 4th WR was taken 27th overall. There were 2 keeper WR and AJ Green and Dez were drafted in the 2nd rd.

    Rd 1 Rd 2
    Brees Mccoy
    Richardson Forte
    Manning Bush
    White CJ1k
    Megatron MJD
    Spiller Ryan
    Martin Sjax
    Foster Ridley
    Peterson Gore
    Charles David Wilson
    Morris Green
    Rice Sproles
    Rodgers Bryant
    Lynch Mcfadden
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  • sammyc521 wrote:If you're in a 8- or 10- team league you can chance not getting your 2nd RB until the 5th round... When you add 2-4 more drafting teams so the mix you're not gonna get the same talent.


    Every year you are going to have a few top 15 RBs who go completely under the radar. This is just as true in a 8 man league as it is in a 14 man. You just have to be really good at working the waiver wires and using your bench.

    The common paradigm is that there aren't very many good RBs, and this is kind of true. However, there are a lot of "should be good" RBs who end up sucking, and a lot of afterthought RBs who end up being stars. It seems that for whatever reason this variance has been more evident at RB than a lot of other positions.

    Additionally, RB is (IMO) the riskiest position to draft early. Most of the top WRs are money in the bank, but it's actually pretty rare to see a RB remain among the top guys several years in a row. If the points upgrade is all the same, it's much better to go for other positions because they are more consistent and dependable.

    I think the appeal of going RB really early is the home run factor. Whoever the #1 RB ends up being, that guy will probably be worth the most points above average of any player in football. If you feel that you can afford to swing and miss, then it's not a bad idea to go for a guy like McCoy or Charles who have so much scoring potential to go with so much risk.

    But I don't think you have to go RB-RB because you "have to." You don't. Churn through RBs and use your bench, and you will have two viable starters by seasons end. The last few years, and especially last year, some of the better players in the league were not in the first 30 RBs drafted.
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  • kearly wrote:
    sammyc521 wrote:If you're in a 8- or 10- team league you can chance not getting your 2nd RB until the 5th round... When you add 2-4 more drafting teams so the mix you're not gonna get the same talent.


    Every year you are going to have a few top 15 RBs who go completely under the radar. This is just as true in a 8 man league as it is in a 14 man. You just have to be really good at working the waiver wires and using your bench.

    The common paradigm is that there aren't very many good RBs, and this is kind of true. However, there are a lot of "should be good" RBs who end up sucking, and a lot of afterthought RBs who end up being stars. It seems that for whatever reason this variance has been more evident at RB than a lot of other positions.

    Additionally, RB is (IMO) the riskiest position to draft early. Most of the top WRs are money in the bank, but it's actually pretty rare to see a RB remain among the top guys several years in a row. If the points upgrade is all the same, it's much better to go for other positions because they are more consistent and dependable.

    I think the appeal of going RB really early is the home run factor. Whoever the #1 RB ends up being, that guy will probably be worth the most points above average of any player in football. If you feel that you can afford to swing and miss, then it's not a bad idea to go for a guy like McCoy or Charles who have so much scoring potential to go with so much risk.

    But I don't think you have to go RB-RB because you "have to." You don't. Churn through RBs and use your bench, and you will have two viable starters by seasons end. The last few years, and especially last year, some of the better players in the league were not in the first 30 RBs drafted.


    I get what you're saying. Last year in my 14 team league I managed to snag Stacy off the waiver wire (who I fliped for Dez) and Andre Brown coming off the broken leg and I whiffed on Moreno by 1 waiver wire spot. But at the same time, banking your strategy on getting those guys is a huge risk IMO. What if you grabbed Isiah Pead instead of Stacy (I think he was #2 at the time)? Or you grabbed Stefan Taylor instead of Ellington? I feel like gambling on landing a RB off the waiver wire or a backup who could start is risking your whole season on just that.
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