Draft Strategy

Can The Zero WR Strategy Work In A Zero RB World?

Le’Veon Bell Fantasy Football

Everyone has their own fantasy football strategies, thoughts, and opinions when it comes to fantasy football and the highly anticipated draft day that comes each year. Each approach is different and can either make or break a fantasy season. Of course trades and waiver wire pickups help along the way, but the draft is where you build the foundation of your team. Among those said strategies is the trending and very popular “Zero RB” strategy.

Zero WR Strategy

[the_ad id=”63198″]Everyone has their own fantasy football strategy and opinions when it comes to what works and what doesn’t. Every fantasy owner approaches their draft strategy differently, which as a result, can either make or break a season. Of course trades and waiver wire pickups help along the way, but the draft is where you build the foundation of your team. Among those said strategies is the trending and very popular “Zero RB” strategy.

The concept in which a fantasy owner targets wide receivers heavy as there was quite the regression in overall points at the running back position over the past few years. The strategy is that one should take as many elite wide receivers in the first few rounds of the draft. Then look for value at running back after the 5th round or later. But one ideology that a lot people are frankly concerned or scared to even ponder is actually the reverse idea known as the “Zero WR” Strategy.

Can you take high-end backs in the first few rounds and still find strong role players at receiver to fill in the gaps and produce enough points along with the other cornerstones in TE, D/ST, and K position?

I did a recent mock draft at FantasyPros.com with their Fantasy Draft Wizard to see what would happen if I did just that. I went with just a standard mock draft, with 12 teams, 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 Flex, a Kicker and of course a Defense/Special Teams. I picked randomly from the 2nd position.

These were the results in each round of my Mock Draft:

RoundPos.Mock DraftTeam
1RB  Le’Veon Bell
2RB  Doug Martin
3RB  LeSean McCoy
4RB  DeMarco Murray
5RB  Jeremy Hill
6WR  Emmanuel Sanders
7WR  Larry Fitzgerald
8QB  Tony Romo
9QB  DeSean Jackson
10TE  Antonio Gates
11WR  Willie Snead
12DEF  Houston Texans
13WR  Tavon Austin
14QB  Marcus Mariota
15K  Steven Hauschka

Recapping my mock draft, we can see that there were some big names at the running back spot that can really help carry the load for my team. I grabbed the top back in the NFL with Bell in the first round, and then followed that up with Doug Martin in the late 2nd round. Usually at this point most would look for a solid WR1 to add to their roster. But I wanted to take it further just to see who could fall to me.

LeSean McCoy was available in 3rd so I grabbed him to add to the flex position.

The next step was to solidify the bench areas so we have a constant rotation of production from our halfbacks, so grabbing Murray and Hill in back to back rounds only seemed fitting. But now we get back to question originally asked: “Can you find value in the later rounds where the WRs chosen can still produce big for you?”

The answer for that question and it’s an emphatic “Yes”. In the 5th round still sitting on the board was Emmanuel Sanders. Even if Denver had a less than desirable offense last season and at times stalled to a halt, Sanders was still the top targeted receiver and caught the most passes, even over stud wideout Demaryius Thomas who struggled with dropped passes all last season. The following round I was able to grab the reliable and ever constant Larry Fitzgerald who surprisingly resurrected his career last year. With all the talk of John Brown vs Michael Floyd, it was truly awesome to see “Fitz” catching everything that was thrown at him. In one playoff game he literally helped the Cardinals defeat the Green Bay packers to advance to the NFC Championship game. Later on in the 9th round DeSean Jackson was still available, and it’s too hard to pass on a team’s WR1. Though Jackson has been struggling the past few seasons with injury, when he does play he can stretch the field wide open and truly torch defenses to get those big play receptions. The high upside is something that can’t be ignored.

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Going with that same thought in the 11th round I was able to snag Willie Snead, the Saints WR2 and the main slot receiver for the team. Snead emerged onto the scene just last year, taking up a lot of slack with teammate Benjamin Watson that was left behind with the trade that sent TE superstar Jimmy Graham to Seattle.

To round out the late rounds I was able to secure some good sleeper potential in Tavon Austin from the revamped and recent relocated Los Angeles Rams. The news around camp is that Tavon is in for much more work and opportunity this coming season, and though Jared Goff may not start first thing over Case Keenum at QB, the passing game is in much better shape meaning that it won’t all be reverse run plays for Austin this coming season.

So as the draft approaches for each one of you, keep in mind that going “against the grain” compared to the normal opinion out there might not be all that bad. Keep an open mentality and really find what works best for you and what team you want to build. You might find that going heavy on RB at the start of the fantasy season might also bring you many trade offers as the season progresses, and ultimately be able to work your way into snagging an awesome WR1 later as the playoffs become closer in the timetable. Draft ultimately going with that gut feeling. It’s usually right every single time.

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  1. Avatar


    July 17, 2016 at Sunday, July,17

    My league last year with buddies I went Zero RB, and it worked well. I lost in championship game, but led leagues in points. We play just for fun so Zero WR is going to be my strategy this year. My mocks on fantasypros have me feeling good about going this route

    • Avatar

      Brandon Sanders

      August 23, 2016 at Tuesday, August,23

      Glad we could instill some confidence in this strategy for you Pat! Good luck in your fantasy draft this year man. :)

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