The strategy de jour the past couple of seasons has been the Zero RB strategy, where you just grab a bunch of running backs late in your draft, or aggressively off the waiver wire during the season, and hope you will be okay, especially in point per reception (PPR) leagues where finding random pass-catching backs is often viable. This year, drafters have shifted to running back to the early and often approach due to the scarcity of 3-down bankable options at the position.
No matter your strategy, once the season starts and injuries start mounting, and players start dropping like flies, you need a plan in place, not only to weather the storm, but to thrive.
Many people don't like drafting handcuffs. That is a totally valid position to take, and this article is not for you. But for those that do like to back up their running backs, for those people who don’t want to be biting their nails as the waiver wire runs late on Wednesday evening, this is for you.
Fantasy Football is all about gaining an advantage over your opponent and about securing week-to-week consistency from your players, especially in season-long, head-to-head leagues. Over the years I have employed a running back strategy called "2-2-1," which helps you do just that and can actually be instituted with any drafting order strategy, including Zero RB. In fact, it can help complement such strategies.
With the NFL moving to more of a passing league and with many fantasy leagues favoring a PPR format, scoring from the wide receiver position is becoming more valuable and reliable. That is not to say that you should neglect the running back position. Quite the opposite; it is essential to have a sound strategy to ensure you will be secure at the position throughout the season while spending valuable draft picks on other positions. In fact, making sure to have proper week-to-week scoring from the running back position is paramount. You want to ensure some value each week from the running back slot while generating greater production at the others. This is how you win your league these days.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this is not a strategy you want to use in every draft, but it’s a strategy to keep in your back pocket to pull out if the draft unfolds in a way where it can be useful. This season, I have actually found myself employing it in a few industry league drafts where benches are deep and scoring systems favor positions outside of running backs. It is also useful in leagues where drafters are hammering running backs hard early on, which seems to be the case this year more often than not. It’s even useful this year to zig when everyone else is zagging. Since people are hammering running backs early, perhaps, instead go with a stud wide receiver in Round 1 and come back with two running backs in back-to-back picks in Rounds 2 and 3.
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