Hey everyone! In my previous article, I talked about all the different draft strategies you can consider while drafting for your fantasy football redraft leagues. In this new article, I will dive deeper into the Zero RB draft strategy. I will expand on what it entails and some players to look for when it is that time to draft RBs.
Zero RB Explained
The Zero RB strategy means that you do not draft the RB position in the first 5 rounds. This means drafting a WR, TE, or QB with those first five picks. This allows you to draft some of the top WRs, a top TE, or an elite QB. This gives you the positional advantage over your opponents. The downside of this strategy is that you cannot secure a top-end RB like Derrick Henry or Alvin Kamara. An upside of this draft strategy especially in PPR formats is that with every pass-catcher you secure more points than the RB that does not get the passing work that the WR or TE would.
Running Backs to Look For in Rounds 4-6 (According to FFC ADP)
The first player is Myles Gaskin. Last year he finished as RB28 in PPR even though he only played in 10 games. His 16-game points total would be 262.4 points. That would make him RB5 last year. The Dolphins didn’t draft a back but brought in Malcolm Brown who is a veteran back. I don’t believe that Brown will take away many carries from Gaskin. The Dolphins have a more improved offensive line and a good defense. As long as Tua can be effective, I don’t see how Gaskins doesn’t finish in the RB2 range. If you can get him in the 4th round according to his ADP then he will be a steal.
Kareem Hunt has proved over the last two years that he can be an effective back. Hunt would be considered a “handcuff” but he had 198 rushing attempts last year, which is close to Chubb’s 190 in 15 games, while also getting more receiving work. In a PPR format that is what you are looking for in a RB in this range. He had 218.5 points last year which placed him as a Top-12 RB. I believe that he has the potential to finish in the Top-15 range. The offensive line is intact from last year and the coaching staff hasn’t changed. For a RB that finished as a RB1 last year to get him in the 4th round is great!
Mike Davis did fantastic filling in for CMC last year when he was out finishing as the 12th best RB in PPR leagues. Davis went from having Teddy Bridgewater as his QB to Matt Ryan. He is in a position to lead his backfield in both targets and carries. Davis had 165 rushing attempts and 59 receptions. I think he will have even more production in this high-volume Falcons offense, especially now with Julio Jones being gone. Getting a player like Mike Davis in the 4th round with the potential in this offense is a steal.
James Robinson was a UDFA but took the job away from Leonard Fournette (I’ll talk about him later). Fournette was released and the job was Robinson’s. He finished as RB7 in PPR and played in 15 games. The Jaguars drafted Travis Etienne in the 1st round of this year’s NFL Draft. Etienne will take production away from Robinson, but I believe that both Robinson and Etienne can work out in this backfield. He has way too much talent and potential to not perform. The unknown of the coaching staff is a reason I believe Robinson and Etienne are going in the 5th round. Getting one of these backs may be risky but if James Robinson is a good as last year he will outperform his ADP.
Raheem Mostert could either be the RB1 or RB2 on the 49ers. He has a history of injuries in the past few years. When Mostert did play, he averaged 5 yards a carry and had 104 attempts. Unfortunately, the 49ers did draft a RB in Trey Sermon and a mobile QB in Trey Lance which will take away snaps from him. As long as he can stay healthy, he will be productive and can have some great weeks in that San Fran offense.
Previously, I talked about James Robinson and how successful he was last season. We can say the same about Etienne but in college. Etienne was drafted in the first round and is paired with his college QB in Trevor Lawrence. Jaguars’ coach Urban Meyers spoke about how he wanted to use Etienne as a WR as well so that would be great for PPR.
Last year Chase Edmonds was playing behind Kenyan Drake on a high-powered Cardinals offense. Drake is now on the Raiders, but the Cardinals signed James Conner. Edmonds is known for his receiving prowess. He was targeted 67 times and caught 53 of those passes. He also rushed the ball 97 times for 448 yards; that’s 4.6 yards a carry. He hasn’t been known to perform well when being the lead back in an offense and James Conner will come in and take away production from him, but he is the kind of RB you want in the middle rounds as he is on a great offense and can catch the ball well. He could be a Zero-RB stud.
The next two RBs are from the same backfield. When it comes to Melvin Gordon, he finished as the RB14 last season even though he played in 15 games. He rushed 215 times for 986 yards; that’s 4.6 yards a carry. That’s production! He carried the ball 60% of the time for his team. This year the team drafted Javonte Williams from North Carolina in the second round of the NFL Draft. Also, Melvin has some off-the-field issues that haven’t been cleared up yet. All this makes me believe that his production will decrease this year. He is currently going in the 6th round in ADP.
The second back in this backfield is Javonte Williams. As I talked about before he was drafted in the second round. In 3 years in college, he ran the ball 366 times for 2297 yards; that’s an average of 6.7 yards! He also had 29 touchdowns; 19 of them came last season. Williams had 25 receptions last season and is currently going in the 6th round according to FFC ADP. He has a lot of upside and if he can take over the backfield from Melvin Gordon he will finish in the Top- 24.
Damien Harris is going in the 6th round according to FFC ADP. He is trending to be the Patriots RB1 and depending on who the starting QB is for the Pats he could have a tremendous return on investment. Yes, Cam Newton will take away red-zone snaps from him, but he averaged 5 yards a carry last season and scored had 137 attempts in 10 games. The Patriots had the third-most rushing attempts last year and if they can continue being in the top 5 in that stat, he should get at least 30% of those. Once Mac Jones becomes the starter, he will get even more valuable. He doesn’t get a lot of passing work as most of that goes to James White. As a RB being drafted in the 6th round he can outperform his ADP.
Leonard Fournette started last season on the Jacksonville Jaguars but was released and then picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He went from having Gardner Minshew as his QB to Tom Brady. Last season he finished as the RB35 in PPR and had a great Postseason. In the playoffs, he had 64 rushes for 300 yards and 4.7 yards per attempt. He also had 3 touchdowns. His backfield mate Ronald Jones II had around half of those stats in the postseason. The team signed Giovani Bernard in the offseason which takes away some passing work from Fournette, but he can overtake Jones II if he holds on to the ball and keeps the same production he had in the playoffs.
No matter how your draft starts or how the flow of the draft goes; you can still get quality RBs in Rounds 4-6 that can be productive and can act as your RB2 or RB3 on your team. They are all weekly starters that you don’t have to worry about. I hope you can use this strategy and dominate your draft! Zero-RB could be the way to go for you!