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Going Extreme with All Bench RB in Week 7

Zero RB is a widely discussed strategy that I happen to buy into.  I love the WR position and don’t enjoy the injury risk at RB, therefore avoiding the use of my high draft capital on the position.

Today I’d like to discuss a strategy that compliments Zero RB very well but can also apply to all teams.   I will call this strategy "All Bench RB."  Does it make sense to have a bench that is completely made up of running backs?

I have found that this strategy is becoming more and more common amongst the better fantasy teams without it necessarily being an explicitly selected plan of action.

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Stack Those Backs

The simplest of arguments for an All Bench RB strategy are the higher likelihoods of injury and volatility at the position.  Without a doubt there is much less certainty at this position, which means the likelihood of your starting RBs staying in their starting spots is lower than other positions.  In turn, the opportunity to pick-up relevant RBs is higher.  I believe this level of volatility fuels the success of an all RB bench and particularly benefits savvy fantasy players that can spot talent and opportunity and work the wire.  Let’s take a look at some of the numbers.  Out of 32 NFL teams, 21 teams have seen a significant shift in RB relevancy so far this season.  Let’s get a bit more granular.  Pre-draft there were approximately 35 start worthy RBs projected.  12 of them are no longer start-worthy.  That means that most teams are dealing with uncertainty with the RBs to start and have on the bench.  More importantly for the All Bench RB strategy, you will have a significant opportunity to pick up players that can have an impact later in the season.

But why fill the entire bench with RBs rather than just having a few I like?  My argument is that you should optimize the chances of hitting on a bench RB while limiting your risk of not having start worthy RBs on your team.  I have never been in favor of holding one or two handcuffs, sleepers or flyers on the bench, but what about holding 6 or more?  Isn’t someone bound to hit?  Isn’t someone bound to be decent enough to start should your starters suffer injuries?

The last argument I’ll make is in choosing an All Bench RB strategy over having WRs, TEs or QBs on your bench.  Well, with more starting WR spots on an NFL a roster there are inherently more starting wide receivers to choose from.  Additionally, the likelihood of a new starting WR receiving high volume is lower than that of a new starting running back.  This means that your likelihood of hitting big with a WR on your bench is lower than that of an RB compounded by the the lower likelihood of injuries at WR.  As for TEs or QBs, most leagues have one slot for each allowing for strong streaming options week to week.

So let’s take a look at the kinds of RBs I’m discussing here that could fill your bench spots.  I’ll warn you, it isn’t pretty.  But when it comes to RBs, opportunity is king and even an unlikely candidate can succeed in the right situation.  You can basically look at all the RBs in your league that are beyond RB 30 but here are some of my favorites with the understanding that they may not be available:

Alex Collins, Devontae Booker, Chris Ivory, Giovani Bernard, Theo Riddick, Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, Jonathan Stewart, Wendell Smallwood, Matt Forte, Marlon Mack, D’Onta Foreman, Matt Breida, CJ Prosise, Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, Kenyan Drake, Brandon Oliver, Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls.  Outside of these RBs take a look at the #3 and #4 RBs on depth charts and look for crazy talent.  I personally love De’Angelo Henderson of Denver with the thought that if by some chance he gets carries he could dazzle.  Also, take a look at the handcuffs for the highest volume RBs like Le'veon Bell and pick-up James Conner.

Good luck going All Bench RB.  I look forward to keeping track of this list and seeing what surprises lay ahead for the rest of the season.


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