Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts

Born to Run - Starting RB/RB in Fantasy Football Drafts

Way back when I first started playing this wonderful game, this type of article would be superfluous. Obviously you should go RB/RB if you can. That was back in 2003 and for much of the 2000s, there was little debate over the optimal strategy - if you could get two quality RBs in the first two rounds, do it.

In the late 2000s, we started to see signs of a shift. It coincided - and this shouldn't be all that surprising - with the Calvin Johnson era. Since so many fantasy owners were taking RBs early, elite WRs were available later than they should've been. In 2007, Calvin's rookie year, WR1s outscored RB2s by a total of 381 points (all stats are ppr scoring). Since then, the WR1s have collectively outscored the RB1s in six of the last 11 years, including 2007. Specifically in 2015, WR1s outscored RB1s by a whopping 901 points. That's why in 2016, for the first time in my fantasy career, we saw a WR go first overall (followed by two more WRs). It was pretty obvious that 2015 was a huge anomaly - not necessarily in WR scoring, but in RB scoring. Since 2007, the lowest total of all the RB1s was 3,158 points back in 2007...except in 2015, where they scored 2,773. It was this type of research that led me to publish this article in 2016 on why you should zig while others zag and go with an early RB strategy. It turned out to be correct as RB1s bounced back considerably, outscoring WR1s by 86 points.

Last season, it was the WR1s that had a 2015 RB1s type season, putting up their lowest combined point total in the last 11 years en route to being outscored by the RB1s by 191 points. But people are wise to what happened in 2015 and don't want to fall into the same trap. Nevertheless, RBs are back dominating the first two rounds, leaving perceived elite WRs like Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Mike Evans available in the second round. With everyone seemingly back to going RB early, is now the time to load up on WRs or perhaps go Zero RB? WR/WR can certainly work and so can Zero RB. The goal isn't to persuade you to commit to the RB/RB strategy, but rather to explain why it is viable and something you should not be afraid to do if it makes sense during your draft.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

One of the main arguments against the RB/RB approach is that RBs are the easiest to find on the waiver wire throughout the season. Last year, we saw a whole host of players emerge from relative obscurity to have a significant impact: Alvin Kamara, Alex Collins, Jerick McKinnon, Latavius Murray, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Kenyan Drake are the ones that come to mind. There were others. Even if it is just for a week or two, like Chris Ivory when Leonard Fournette was dinged up or benched for a game, if we can constantly find RBs like that, why spend your first two picks in a draft on one?

I don't think the goal should necessarily be to rely on the waiver wire. You want to draft the most complete team. Ultimately, no player in fantasy is more valuable than the three down workhorse elite RB. If you can get one of them, you should. If you can potentially get two, you definitely should. As indicated above, elite RB1s typically outscore elite WR1s. RB1s are also more reliable on a week to week basis because their touch count is more consistent.

One of the most important factors, however, is the caliber of WR you can acquire later in the draft. Even more important, is the caliber of RB you can expect to get later in the draft. While it is still a bit early to dissect ADP, by the end of the third round, if you don't have two RBs, the next RB you draft will be ranked as a low end RB2 at best. At the same time, you can still draft legitimate WR1s well into the third round.

I want to keep this more theory based than player specific because obviously the guys at the top of the draft are all very good fantasy producers and we each have our own opinions on who we'd prefer. For that reason, don't get caught up on the specific names I use if you don't like those players - just replace them with similarly situated players you do like. As an example, you can grab legitimate WR1s like Davante Adams, A.J. Green, and Mike Evans in the middle of the second round. But you can also take legitimate WR1s like Doug Baldwin, Tyreek Hill, and Larry Fitzgerald in the middle of the third round. So what looks better, something like Kareem Hunt, Devonta Freeman, and Larry Fitzgerald or Kareem Hunt, Davante Adams, and Derrick Henry? Again, you can flip the players around to more suit your preferences, but the fact that you can secure legitimate WR1s in the third round and then legitimate WR2s in the fourth round should help illustrate how viable the RB/RB strategy is.

The RBs going beyond round two all have serious concerns - far greater concerns than the WRs. The odds of your third or fourth round RB busting completely appear to be much greater than the same happening to your third or fourth round WR. You should feel a lot better about securing a guy like Josh Gordon, Allen Robinson, or Alshon Jeffery in the fourth round than you would about Jay Ajayi, Rashaad Penny, or Derrius Guice. With the blurring of the lines between WR1s and WR2s and WR2s and WR3s, the drop off in the quality of your WRs should you go RB/RB will not be nearly as great as the drop off in the quality of your second RB if you exit the second round without one.

While it may be easier to find RBs on the waiver wire, it is easier to find WRs later in the draft. And you can still find those waiver RB darlings and extract value from them even if you have a loaded RB corps. With the depth of quality WRs and the fact that there are legitimate NFL WR1s available as late as the eighth or ninth rounds, loading up on RBs early is an excellent way to maximize the value of your team coming out of your draft.


More 2018 Fantasy Football & ADP Analysis


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts


Tennessee Titans6 mins ago

Titans Finalizing Deal With Sean Murphy-Bunting
Carolina Panthers11 mins ago

Panthers Rookie QB To See Plenty Of Reps
Jerry Jeudy16 mins ago

Cowboys Were In On Jerry Jeudy
O.J. Howard21 mins ago

Raiders Hosting O.J. Howard For A Visit
DJ Chark27 mins ago

Panthers Still Talking With DJ Chark
Trent Sherfield32 mins ago

Bills Sign Trent Sherfield To One-Year Deal
Zach Pascal38 mins ago

Cardinals Agree With Zach Pascal On Two-Year Deal
Casey O'Neill48 mins ago

Takes First Defeat Against Former Champion
Jennifer Maia52 mins ago

Earns Decision Win Over Undefeated Opponent
Roman Dolidze55 mins ago

Suffers Setback With Decision Loss
Marvin Vettori1 hour ago

Picks Up Decision Win
Jhon Romero2 hours ago

Guardians Sign Jhon Romero To Minor-League Deal
Yu Chang2 hours ago

Held Up By Visa Issues
Brayan Bello2 hours ago

Looks Good In Spring Debut
Eury Perez2 hours ago

Reassigned To Minor-League Camp
Michael Soroka2 hours ago

To Make Spring Debut Wednesday
Matt Vierling2 hours ago

Playing Monday Against Blue Jays
Michael Lorenzen3 hours ago

Scratched With Groin Tightness
Kyle Busch3 hours ago

Finishes In Top 10 At Atlanta
Justin Turner3 hours ago

Back In Spring Lineup Monday
Ty Gibbs3 hours ago

Finishes Strong In Atlanta
Erik Jones4 hours ago

Gets His First Top-10 Finish Of The Season
Ryan Blaney4 hours ago

Bounces Back From Speeding Penalty
Denny Hamlin4 hours ago

Has A Strong Showing
Austin Reaves4 hours ago

Becomes Unlikely Hero Sunday
Giannis Antetokounmpo4 hours ago

Picks Up A Triple-Double Sunday
Jalen Green4 hours ago

Scores Game-High 40 Points Sunday
Jimmy Butler5 hours ago

Gets A Double-Double With Assists
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander5 hours ago

Drops 40 Points On Phoenix
Jacob deGrom5 hours ago

Looks Impressive In Spring Debut
Devin Booker5 hours ago

Goes Off For 46 Points
Nikola Jokic5 hours ago

Returns To Triple-Double Form
Jake Fraley5 hours ago

Should Be Fine After Fouling Ball Off Leg
Jesper Bratt5 hours ago

Hits A Hat Trick Against Tampa Bay
K'Andre Miller5 hours ago

Racks Up Four First-Period Points
Nolan Arenado5 hours ago

Expected To Be Fine After HBP
Jaroslav Halak5 hours ago

Keeps Predators Quiet With 22 Saves
Austin Nola5 hours ago

May Have Broken Nose In Cactus League Game
Alex Pietrangelo5 hours ago

Hands Out Four Assists
Jack Eichel6 hours ago

Nets A Hat Trick In Big Win
Matthew Boldy6 hours ago

Extends Points Streak With A Hat Trick
Jhoan Duran6 hours ago

Suffers Leg Contusion On Sunday
Jake DeBrusk6 hours ago

Erupts For Four Points Sunday
Jeremy Swayman6 hours ago

Registers Another Shutout
Tyler Reddick8 hours ago

Hangs in For Fifth Place At Atlanta
Juan Soto8 hours ago

Day-To-Day With Mild Oblique Strain
Corey Lajoie16 hours ago

Corey LaJoie Uses Course To Advantage On Sunday
Christopher Bell16 hours ago

Ends Up With Another Top Five Result
Naz Reid16 hours ago

Is Questionable On Monday
Christopher Bell16 hours ago

Brad Keselowski Noses Christopher Bell Out For Second
Bennedict Mathurin16 hours ago

Questionable To Make Return On Monday
Joey Logano16 hours ago

Goes From Pole To Win Sunday
Kevin Huerter16 hours ago

Uncertain For Monday's Game Against Utah
Kevon Looney16 hours ago

Listed As Questionable For Monday
Rudy Gobert16 hours ago

Receives Questionable Tag For Monday
Jalen Duren16 hours ago

Exits In Third Quarter Against Miami
Detroit Lions16 hours ago

C.J. Gardner-Johnson On The Move To Detroit
Scottie Barnes16 hours ago

Exits On Sunday With Wrist Injury
Courtland Sutton17 hours ago

Broncos Unwilling To Deal Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy
Dallas Cowboys17 hours ago

Travin Howard To Visit The Cowboys On Monday
Ronald Jones17 hours ago

Cowboys To Host Ronald Jones On Monday
Adam Thielen17 hours ago

Agrees To Deal With Carolina
P.J. Tucker19 hours ago

Questionable For Monday
Anthony Edwards20 hours ago

Questionable Versus Knicks
Jaren Jackson20 hours ago

Jr. Questionable For Monday
Lauri Markkanen20 hours ago

Questionable Monday With Back Injury
Kyrie Irving20 hours ago

Questionable To Play Monday
Luka Doncic20 hours ago

Listed As Questionable To Play Monday
Ja Morant20 hours ago

Will Remain Out Monday Versus Dallas
Tampa Bay Buccaneers22 hours ago

Greg Gaines Joins Buccaneers
New York Jets22 hours ago

Ben Jones Drawing Interest From Jets?
Houston Texans22 hours ago

Laremy Tunsil Gets Extension
Brandin Cooks22 hours ago

Traded To Cowboys
Andrew Vaughn22 hours ago

Took Grounders On Sunday
Seiya Suzuki23 hours ago

Continues Making Progress
Max Kepler23 hours ago

Exits Early On Sunday
Brandon Pfaadt23 hours ago

Reassigned To Minors
Glenn Otto23 hours ago

To Undergo MRI
Ricky Tiedemann23 hours ago

Throws On Saturday
Jurickson Profar24 hours ago

Signs With Rockies
Roope Hintz1 day ago

Delivers Three Assists
Brandon Hagel1 day ago

Celebrates A Hat Trick Against Montreal
Igor Shesterkin1 day ago

Shuts Out The Penguins
Sebastian Aho1 day ago

Completes A Hat Trick In Overtime
Evander Kane1 day ago

Pots A Hat Trick Versus Seattle
Brad Marchand1 day ago

Tallies Three Assists Saturday
Nathan MacKinnon1 day ago

Has Three Points Against Detroit
Todd Gilliland2 days ago

Starts 23rd
Ryan Preece2 days ago

Starts 24th At The AmBetter Health 400
AJ Allmendinger2 days ago

Eyes Another Strong Finish
NASCAR2 days ago

Ricky Stenhouse Eyes Back-To-Back Superspeedway Wins
Tyler Reddick2 days ago

May Be Overlooked
Erik Jones2 days ago

Is A Value Play At Atlanta
Denny Hamlin2 days ago

Seeks Better Results
Noah Gragson2 days ago

Might Surprise At Atlanta Motor Speedway
Austin Dillon2 days ago

Looks To Bounce Back At Atlanta
Ty Dillon2 days ago

Hoping To Keep Car Running At Atlanta
Pittsburgh Steelers2 days ago

Isaac Seumalo Signs Three-Year Deal With Steelers
NASCAR2 days ago

J.J. Yeley Starts 34th Sunday At Ambetter Health 400
Blaine Gabbert2 days ago

Stops In Vegas For A Visit
Foster Moreau2 days ago

Visits With Saints
Jacksonville Jaguars2 days ago

Adam Gotsis Staying In Jacksonville
Roman Josi2 days ago

Exits With Injury Saturday
Joonas Korpisalo2 days ago

Hopes To Stay Perfect With His New Team
Mads Sogaard2 days ago

Looking For Form Against Toronto
Brian Elliott2 days ago

Starts For Tampa On Saturday
Jonathan Drouin2 days ago

Will Play Saturday
Mark Giordano2 days ago

Rested On Saturday
Odell Beckham Jr.2 days ago

Denies $20 Million Price Tag
Kamaru Usman3 days ago

Seeking Second Title Run
Leon Edwards3 days ago

Looks To Defend Crown On Saturday
Rafael Fiziev4 days ago

Earns Huge Co-Main-Event Showdown
Justin Gaethje4 days ago

Set For Another Co-Main-Event Showdown
Jordan Spieth5 days ago

Trying To Pay Off Recent Form With A Win
Victor Perez5 days ago

Making A Rare Start On The PGA Tour
Maverick McNealy5 days ago

Still Shaking Off The Rust In Florida
Mark Hubbard5 days ago

Coming Off Strong Players Championship Result
Nate Lashley5 days ago

Finding Some Form To Start 2023
Wyndham Clark5 days ago

A Dangerous Name At The Valspar Championship
Justin Lower5 days ago

Looking To Capitalize On Weaker Field
Byeong-Hun An5 days ago

Flashing Vintage Form
Stewart Cink5 days ago

Looks To Stay Afloat At Valspar
Ben Taylor5 days ago

A Short-Game Wizard
Gary Woodland5 days ago

Has A Poisoned Putter
Martin Laird5 days ago

Playing Scared
Russell Knox5 days ago

Putting Putridly
PGA5 days ago

Adam Hadwin Looks To Continue Valspar Success
Justin Thomas5 days ago

Hopes To Get Putter Going At Valspar
Keegan Bradley5 days ago

Looking To Bounce Back At Valspar
Eric Cole5 days ago

Continues To Play Well
Matthew NeSmith5 days ago

Could Be Considered At Valspar
PGA5 days ago

J.T. Poston Not An Option At Valspar Championship
Davis Riley5 days ago

Overvalued At Valspar Championship
Matt Fitzpatrick5 days ago

Has Risk At Valspar