#1 By: Genghis Khan, December 5th, 2017 10:18
Zero RB theory seems to be getting some traction late in the year with all this late breaking RB attrition. Hopefully, it's not too late for your team(s).
Here's my Zero RB success in 2017. Finished atop the standings, 3rd overall in points, but have been the highest scoring team in 3 of the last 4 weeks (4 game winning streak).
Blueprint of this particular 10-Team League
1 QB (0.25 point per reception, 6 point TDs)
2 WR (PPR, 6 point TDs)
1 TE (PPR, 6 point TDs)
2 Flex (W/R/T)
Left RBs for last because this is a Zero RB thread after all.
2 RB (0.25 point per carry, 6 point TDs). This league is high scoring but despite being PPR, it's more like a standard league since RBs get usage points, and at the top end of the curve, it might be even more accentuated. Point is, this is not an ideal scoring system to deploy Zero RB.
Here's the team I drafted. With the exception of my top 5 picks and 14th round keeper, all the rest of my draft picks are gone or were at least dropped. Burkhead has been warmly welcomed back into the fold in recent weeks but he was on the waiver wire for 4 weeks plus.
During the year, I made hay with Chris Thompson after his week 2 explosion (weeks 3 thru 11). Javorius "Buck" Allen served me well during his time. Got the worst of Mike Gillislee (went against projections and started Burkhead in week 1 when Gillislee had his 3-TD game). Yeldon and Ivory were meh. Other key adds were Will Fuller and Robert Woods. Woods won me week 10 by hisself. So, even my supposed core strength (wide receivers) has been fortified via free pick ups off the waiver wire.
The Ranks on the Year:
Cousins is overall QB 5
Kelce is the overall TE 1
Keenan (almost dropped him but his playoff schedule kept him safe), Algernon Jebediah Green, Tyreek are all top 9 wide receivers. Mike Evans can eat a dick.
Jags and Chargers Ds are top 4.
Best for last again: RBs.
Today, my RBs are L-Train Murray (waiver wire), Burkhead (free add), Jamaal Williams (free add), as well as Aaron Jones, Mike Davis and Gio Bernard (both free adds this week and haven't been started yet).
None of my RBs rank in the top 25 for the year. However, over the past 4 weeks, my main 3 RBs all rank in the top 7.
To be atop the standings, it usually means a lot of $hit went right. My first 5 picks and keeper went right, or right enough (looking at you Mike Evans). My sole waiver use this year (Latavius) went right, even if after the first week it didn't seem that way (at the time, I was not amused). Successfully deployment of Fuller, Woods, Javorius, Burkhead, and Jamaal Williams were key, too. It takes time for RBs to get injured. They don't usually happen in week 1. So, one has to tread water in the mean time. Last but not least, this league is soft. I own the waiver wire. All it takes is thinking one week down the road to get in front of these guys, if that. In a more competitive league, no way I could cherry pick the waiver wire as freely.
This is the first time I've utilized Zero RB in this league. It was different and fun. Not sure if I can call it "a success" or just "luck". The guy who finished with the 2nd most points, placed 7th in the standings, and is out of the playoffs. RB attrition is real but is it timely? With FF scoring so bunched, the standings are seemingly following suit. The difference between 2nd and 9th was 2 games (8-5 vs. 6-7). To lose 2 games waiting for RB attrition to occur can be fatal for your FF team.
#2 By: Steven, December 5th, 2017 10:58
I think that's actually pretty typical of a zero-RB drafted squad. The point is to nail the top picks, and not really about nailing the "zero RB" guys. That's why the Viz maintains a weekly column of zero RB "movers", because it's extremely fluid, and highly dependent on waivers.
Instead, you could have drafted David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, Marshawn Lynch, Jay Ajayi, Demarco Murray, or one of the litany of top-4 round drafted backs who have underperformed or been injured. Whereas the only real pain experienced by selecting non-RBs in the first couple of rounds came from Beckham, A. Rodgers (subsequently Jordy), Hilton (at the expense of luck), and Cooper.
Here's the result of my Zero- RB draft:
- OBJ (I.R.)
- TY Hilton (Luck Out - Volatile Hit)
- D. Hopkins (Hit)
- K. Allen (Hit)
- J. Reed (Miss)
- S. Diggs (Miss / Hit)
- M. Ingram (Hit)
- D. Martin (Miss / Some Hit)
- Kenny Britt (Miss)
- Duke Johnson (Hit)
- T. Riddick (Miss)
- K. Cousins (Hit)
- C. J. Prosise (Miss)
- K. White (IR)
- R. Burkhead (Hit)
- T. Lockett (Miss)
But here's the kicker... this is a 1st place team and by a wide margin. It's really about how you play the wire. All of those Misses were easy for me to cycle (no attachment). If you create a roster with easily recyclable names, you don't fall victim to the sunk cost perception. Too many guys get held longer than they should based on name.
#3 By: Jason, December 5th, 2017 11:38
Curious - did you drop Reed in your league or are you still holding on?
#4 By: Matt, December 5th, 2017 11:39
I agree with @MrStealYoGirl about the importance of playing the wire. I'm generally one of, if not the most, active people in each of my leagues. I'd argue that how you manage your roster during the season impacts your success or failure more than the draft. One of the key aspects of zero RB is about identifying guys in good situations who have big upside and getting those guys a week or two before everyone and their mother bids on them on the wire. I was able to get Kamara in most drafts, off the wire in one league, have Burkhead in several (drafted then dropped then picked up again), grabbed Dion Lewis in one, have Drake in a few, McKinnon in several, Aaron Jones in several, etc. And most of these moves required little or no FAAB.
I'm in 5 pretty leagues with a pretty conventional makeup (H2H, 2 or 3 WR, 0.5 or 1 PPR, 6 or 7 bench spots, etc) and I'm in first in 2 with the most points scored, 4th in 2 with 4th most points scored (would be 1st in 1 but traded K Allen for Mike Evans before week 10--cost me 3 straight wins; would be 2nd in the other but started Tyrod over Alex Smith this week), and LAST in 1 with the fewest points scored (drafted DJ, Amari, DT, Diggs, Reed, Cobb, D Parker, D Henry, Dalton, etc. I like to think that I funneled all my bad luck into this league).
All that being said, I've had some really bad weeks with what looked like a lineup of stud receivers. Receivers' points are down quite a bit with the exception of a select few studs and often times my rbs outscore my wrs (thanks Kamara). But I still think that it's easier to hit on rbs on the wire than it is to hit on wrs on the wire and wrs are in general a safer investment in the early rounds of a 0.5/PPR draft.
#5 By: Steven, December 5th, 2017 15:04
@FantasyNerd : Unfortunately he's been the single greatest roster-spot-burning headache on this squad. I haven't dropped him, and probably won't, because at this point, I want to keep him away from my playoff opponents. I've been trotting out Vernon Davis, and it's repeatedly hurt me. TE is my great weakness at the moment.
@mateoloco: I've made 50+ waiver moves in both of my leagues this year, which is double the next guys. Most of that is streaming DEF and K week in and week out, but I'm in 1st and 2nd place. Most of that success is because of the wire. My drafts were mediocre.
#6 By: Daniel Schultz, December 5th, 2017 19:36
I think the zero running back strategy is very dependent on the scoring and various rules. In the PPR league I’m in, I Go nearly zero RB. In another league with a QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, and flex with std scoring, I think zero RB is really difficult against the teams that hit on their early round running backs. While good running backs can be acquired on waivers, unless you play with people slow to react and have no waiver wire period, then getting those waiver wire running backs is far from a given. Additionally, this league has a 125 buy in but charges $5 per waiver transaction and trades. Grabbing guys left and right on waivers can get costly compared to the initial buyin. I currently lead points based on my first three picks being Bell, Gurley and Kelce. Fitz has been solid and Diggs has been ok though a bit erratic.
#7 By: Jeff, December 5th, 2017 22:39
I've done pretty well. I'm in 4 redraft leagues. In 2 I did not make the playoffs. One of those two teams had OBJ. The other was second in points scored and yet i went 6-7
My other team with OBJ i went 11-2. Here is that roster. If only i still had him!
#8 By: Genghis Khan, December 6th, 2017 06:57
I think that's my point. Wouldn't any draft strategy work if one grinds every week throughout the year, taking an almost mandatory DFS approach to one's season-long team? My draft was meh because I came out of the it with some obvious deficiencies. I did manage to address them but, as I noted, I was lucky for a multitude of reasons.
Perhaps Rotoviz should start a Zero WR column each week because there is hidden value everywhere. With the "flattening" trend of WR1 scoring, wide receivers are becoming more fungible assets.
#9 By: Jeff, December 6th, 2017 08:12
i think the difference with ZERO RB is it allows you to focus on acquiring one position all year (RB). This focus leads to better decisions and better odds you'll get someone valuable because you only need RB's and you know more about RB's then your league mates.
#10 By: kennel15, December 6th, 2017 11:25
Good points in here. I think I could stand to improve at playing the wire and picking up RB stashes before they blow up. I missed out on most of the guys you mentioned, other than Kamara in a couple leagues where I actually drafted him.
Just as important as speculating on who to pick up may be knowing who and when to DROP. Just a few of the guys I wasted roster space on for too long this season include Tarik Cohen, Thomas Rawls, and Mike Tolbert. There can be a fine line between true injury/underperformance upside, and the appearance of such.
#11 By: Scott Heimberg, December 7th, 2017 13:20
I have a standard league team where I drafted these players in this order and I am #1 in standings and points (180 more points than the next team):
- AJ Green
- R. Wilson
- CJ Anderson
- J White
Since then I have picked up Perine and Burkhead the week before they popped, thanks to Rotoviz and also have Djax, Winston and Bernard.
Obviously not a true Zero RB draft, kind of a modified Zero RB with TE and QB going 4 and 5. Obviously I got lucky somewhat to have the production I received from Kelce and Wilson but not so lucky with Nelson, so go figure. In future standard league drafts, I will probably try to replicate this process.
#12 By: Genghis Khan, December 18th, 2017 14:58
My first place team got rolled this weekend.
Rolled with Garapolo (outpointed Cousins)
Keenan (projected WR 2 for the week)
Tyreek (outpointed AJ Green)
Jamaal Williams (fooked me)
Latavius Murray (came through)
Gio Bernard (came through)
Mike Davis (it was him or Burkhead, didn't matter either way)
Kelce (no TD)
Robbie Gould (came through big time)
Didn't have a bad week but ran into a buzz saw of Cam, Melvin Gordon and Michael Thomas. 3rd highest score of the year.
The highest score of the year was posted by another playoff team. He had a quadrumvirate of RBs in Gurley, Shady, DJJ, Ajayi. He threw in ARodge, Crabtree, B'More defense and Greg the Leg for good measure.
With Gurley and LeVeon posterizing FF opponents, coupled with the rise of Jaydon Mickens types, I think we have to chalk this up as the 2nd year in a row where Zero RB strategy was sub-optimal.
#13 By: Matt, December 18th, 2017 16:55
The past 2 weeks have been great for RBs relative to WRs. This is very crude, but I looked at the number of performances each week with 20 or more points in a 0.5 ppr league. For running backs, in week 14 there were 12 and in week 15 there were 8, whereas for WR there were only 8 in week 14 and 4 in week 15. However, if you look at weeks 7-13 (went back to week 7 just because I was lazy), there were more 20=+ point performances for WR (40) than for RB (39). Now the question is, why so many great RB performances relative to WR? Is there a trend for teams to run more as the weather gets colder? To steal from @BenGretch, is this signal or just noise?
I've got 2 zero rb teams in the finals, both in 0.5 ppr leagues. Neither had dominant performances this week compared to the past 3 weeks when I was crushing it (Keenan Allen on both teams)--one has Hunt and won comfortably, and the other has Kamara and had the 2nd lowest score of the season but was fortunate to play a team that was lucky to even be in the playoffs (playoff seeds sometimes help).
It will be interesting to look at the bust rate of wr and rb and how scoring in 2017 compares to other years and try to pick up on trends for future years, but I don't imagine I'll be shifting my draft strategy that much.
#14 By: Jeff, December 22nd, 2017 14:11
i lost my semifinal. Dude had Melvin Gordon and Gurley.