Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Zero Running Back Strategyby jordanspurgeon August 14, 2020 0 comments
The zero running back strategy in fantasy football has picked up steam the past few years. There are running backs who dominate one year and then fall off the map the next. They play the most unpredictable position in football, so sometimes it’s best to not draft them early and take some fliers later in the draft. The waiver wire will also be key to a championship season.
These are is the results from a 12-team pro mock draft on ESPN. It’s a snake draft picking from the fifth position. There were zero running backs drafted in the first six rounds.
1.05 | Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Thomas broke the single-season reception record in 2019 with 149. He also had 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t going to be repeated in 2020, but Thomas is still the favorite target of Drew Brees and with an abbreviated offseason should have an advantage over new Saints wide receivers.
2.07 | Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are loaded at every offensive position and the addition of Tom Brady is going to add to their success. Godwin and Mike Evans should have similar production to each other. The former produces more in the slot, which is where Brady is most successful throwing the ball. Either receiver is a great pick, but Godwin makes the most sense.
3.05 | Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
2019 was a disappointment for Smith-Schuster fantasy owners after he took over as WR1 in Pittsburgh. He should have better production in 2020 with the return of Ben Roethlisberger and another year of experience as the lead man in the Steel City.
4.07 | Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
This is a bit of a reach in the fourth round, but Ertz is a tier-one tight end when healthy and is still the favorite target of Carson Wentz. This isn’t a great year for tight end production, so landing a top-five tight end is crucial.
5.05 | D.K Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
This is a depth and upside draft pick. Metcalf only had four double-digit fantasy point games in 2019, but he emerged as Russell Wilson’s favorite red zone target down the stretch of the season. With the zero running backs strategy, taking Metcalf is a safety net.
6.07 | Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady could be a top-three quarterback in 2020 or finish in the middle of the pack. An abbreviated offseason with a new team doesn’t normally bode well for quarterbacks, but he is one of the all-time great at preparation. Maybe consider drafting Kyler Murray or Deshaun Watson in round five if they’re available.
7.05 | Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns
First running back gets drafted in the seventh round. Hunt only played eight games with the Browns last season after serving an eight-game suspension. He’ll continue to split time with Nick Chubb in the backfield, but the Browns are a run-first team that will use the talents of both. Hunt offers some stability in the pass-game as he had 44 catches in 2019.
8.07 | James White, RB, New England Patriots
White has been a PPR staple since 2016, with a minimum of 40 receptions each season. His best season was in 2018 when he scored 189.6 points. The Patriots no longer have Brady throwing passes, but White will be a security blanket for either Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham.
9.05 | Matt Breida, RB, Miami Dolphins
Breida left a crowded San Francisco backfield and will have an opportunity to lead the way in a run-first Miami offense. Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should start by week six or later, which will increase the number of touches for Breida.
10.07 | Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford is a legit fantasy threat. His stock is down after being injured in 2019, but he should be in contention for comeback player of the year with the offensive pieces around him. If you missed out on a top-tier quarterback, then he’s a solid option with a ton of upside.
11.05 | CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Rookie wide receivers are a gamble in fantasy football. Lamb has the chance to become WR1 in Dallas by the end of the season. His route-running and after-the-catch ability will stand out on day one of the regular season. He can be a fantasy starter by midseason.
Final Four Picks
The final picks were wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, kicker Zane Gonzalez, and tight end Eric Ebron. Fitzgerald and Ebron add depth for bye weeks and injury protection. Both play in systems that should allow them to be productive flex options in a pinch. The Buccaneers defense was ranked top-five in fantasy points during the final six games in 2019. Gonzalez is the kicker for a young and explosive Cardinals offense, so he should see plenty of field goal and extra point opportunities.
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