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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

The Million Dollar Question - RB or WR in 2018?


What’s up fantasy Jabronis?  I’m taking a stab at answering the biggest question of all: What is the meaning of life? Is there life on other planets? What does wearing pleated pants in today's age say about you? Nope. You’ll have to ask el Camello or Raphstradamus about the pants.  But I am here to help you answer the ultimate question in fantasy, “Will RBs or WRs dominate 2018?”

I LOVE Wide Receivers. I have always gone WR heavy early in drafts and was a major proponent of the ZeroRB methodology. But as I wrote last year, ZeroRB was eviscerated in 2017.  Come 2018, many of you will go RB heavy in early rounds.  Others will be cute, thinking you can exploit that trend and get amazing WR value early. “Julio Jones and Michael Thomas on the turn! Holy s*** I’m a genius!”

Well, let’s see what factors are influencing 2018 and where I think your fortunes will land come playoff time.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Factors Pointing Towards a WR Resurgence

Injuries and Retirements The WR and QB world took some tough hits in 2017, which certainly had an impact on WR performance.  It is only common sense that we can expect some benefit from a healthier 2018.  The most notable names on the injury list were Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, Sam Bradford, Carson Wentz, Odell Beckham Jr., Julian Edelman, Allen Robinson and Cameron Meredith.  As for retirement, the two big names were Tony Romo and Steve Smith.  There’s no need to go into stats to understand the enormous impact on WR production affected by Rodgers, Luck, Watson and Beckham Jr. Going down.  2018 should prove very different should all these players stay on the field.

Star Emergence – There is an opportunity for a new class of QBs to join the Usual Suspects in 2018.  We did see Jarod Goff and Carson Wentz emerge in 2017, but we’ve got guys like Patrick Mahomes and Mitchell Trubisky to be excited about in 2018.  We will also get a full season of Jimmy Garoppolo. Obviously, strong QB play has the largest impact on WR fantasy success.  As for WRs, I feel the WRs with an opportunity for immediate impact are DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup, Anthony Miller and Dante Pettis. I do believe that the second and third-year players will make a bigger splash:  Corey Davis, Kenny Golladay, Mike Williams, Zay Jones, Cooper Kupp, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin, Dede Westbrook, Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard.  I’ll put a very honorable mention in there for Josh Gordon (you know the scenario).

Positive Regression – We saw some drastic regression in 2017 from QBs like Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr and Joe Flacco.  There were also frustrating seasons for AJ Green, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins, Jamison Crowder, Randall Cobb, Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson.  So, there is a lot of room for bounceback within these names.

Defensive Schemes – This is pure speculation, but you have to imagine that defenses are motivated to scheme against the run and RB receptions after seeing what took place in 2017 in order to shift the tide back.

 

Factors Pointing Towards Continued RB Dominance

DB Prowess – I believe this topic is the most transformational and yet has been vastly underreported.  From 2007 -2011, teams drafted an average of 4.8 Defensive Backs in the first round.  From 2012-2017 that average grew to 6.4.  2017 was widely considered one of the greatest DB classes of all time, setting a record in the modern era with 19 DBs in the first two rounds.  In this year's draft we saw much of the same with  DBs being the most represented position receiving 48 selections.  Dominant defensive backfields are more prevalent than ever in today’s age.  The 2017 class isn’t going anywhere and the 2018 draft looks like it will just further fill remaining gaps.  No wonder QBs threw to RBs more than ever, with an 11% increase in RB targets despite David Johnson being injured!

The Draft – The 2018 RB draft class is stellar, led by Saquon Barkley.  There are at least eight potential impact RBs coming to an already productive 2017 class.  You know the names:  Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Rashad Penny, Nick Chubb, Royce Freeman, Kerryon Johnson, Sony Michel and Ronald Jones ll.  Last year saw Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Kareem Hunt and Christian McCaffrey show early success.  That’s a lot of talent and some exciting play to look forward to in 2018.

Positive Regression and Injuries –Lev Bell held out and got off to slow start, David Johnson and Dalvin Cook were injured and Ezekiel Elliot had a year burdened with drama.  Add those names to the previous paragraph and Holy Moly we are in for a treat.

 

The Verdict

It’s difficult for me to say, being such a wide receiver fan, but I think we are in store for another dominant running back year.  Team defensive backfields continue to improve and the young RB talent is just too overwhelming.  Of course, there are plenty of omissions in my logic:  New players will get injured, regress, emerge etc.  But I labeled what I feel will be the most powerful influencing factors for this upcoming season. I think RBs will drastically outperform WRs again.  You may be able to make up for some of it with tremendous WR value in the early rounds, but it will be imperative to switch back to RBs fast. And for those ZeroRB truthers, I believe you will be doubling down on a weak hand.

Best of luck to all you readers.  I’ll be sure to follow up on this throughout the season.  Find me @BrettMitchellFB on Twitter.

 

More 2018 Fantasy Football & ADP Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Wide Receiver / Cornerback Matchups To Target in Week 11

In Week 10, the Buccaneers defeated the Cardinals in a game that featured a whopping 57 points scored between the two teams. Christian Kirk was expected to exploit the Buccaneers weak secondary, and he exceeded all expectations by catching three touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 wide receiver on the week. On the other side... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 11

Welcome to our Week 11 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Week 11 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Welcome back to Mexico City. Last season, the Chiefs were supposed to take on the Rams in this game before field conditions moved the game to Los Angeles. Even though the game was moved, the fantasy output was amazing as both teams scored over 50 points and there was not an unhappy fan among us.... Read More


Week 11 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings <!-- 2019 Best... Read More


Late-Season Fantasy Football Surgers and Breakouts

Winning a fantasy football championship is about finding the right mix of players at the right time. It’s not easy to do, because it takes a full season process to build a roster that can win it all. You must start by drafting well, then making the right deals, pinpointing the best waiver pickups, and... Read More


Fantasy Football Mailbag - Q&A for Week 11

This article's content may vary week-to-week, but generally, it will be answering questions fielded from either the @RotoBallerNFL twitter account or my personal one (@RotoSurgeon). This week, the focus is on start/sit questions, and there were plenty. Every week, many of us struggle with which quarterback to start, or who to flex, and I am... Read More


The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 11

Welcome to Week 11, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


QB vs Pass Rush Matchups To Watch - Week 11

It's Week 11, and we have to get wins. The playoffs are just around the corner, and we can't afford to take losses. You likely have just a week or two before the fantasy playoffs, and having the right quarterback can make all the difference. We have several great matchups coming up this week while... Read More


Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 11 Lineups

If we learned anything from the fantasy scoring in Week 10 is that hitting on the right quarterback can make or break your week. Sure, the household names like Lamar Jackson (35.65 FP) and Patrick Mahomes (34.30 FP) paced the field, but it was the play from lesser QBs like Daniel Jones (33.40 FP) and... Read More


Inside the Tent - Week 11 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues... Read More


Fantasy Football IDP Rankings for Week 11 (Top 100)

Don't underestimate the power of the IDP. We've already seen Joe Schobert put up a monster game on Thursday night with a sack, seven solo tackles, and two interceptions. Jamal Adams may have won some games single-handedly last week with his strip-sack for a TD along with eight tackles and another sack. Likewise, Jadveon Clowney... Read More


Give Up on Jared Goff Before It's Too Late

Not long ago, we were discussing the quarterback stable for the 2019 season in preparation for our season-long drafts. Two months and change, that is. Back in September, there were just a couple quarterbacks deemed as locks to be drafted inside the first three or four rounds: Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and only for those... Read More


Dynasty League Running Back Trades: Getting the Proper Returns

In fantasy football dynasty leagues, there is always tomorrow. That is what makes the format so compelling. Yes, your team may be out of it this year, but your season is never really over. If your team has four wins, one more defeat and you are likely done for the season. If you have less... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 11 Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) is listed as questionable. Austin Hooper (knee) and running back Devonta Freeman (foot) have both... Read More


Darius Slayton: A Giant Success

Is he Odell Beckham Jr.? No. But at 6’1" and 190 pounds, Darius Slayton has taken over as the outside receiver in New York. But do we really know anything else about the rookie out of Auburn that would lead us to believe he can step up into a primary role on the Giants offense?... Read More