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Using the #AllBenchRB Strategy


I apologize to my millions of fans for my absence these past few weeks. I was busy completing an Ironman whilst studying for the Mensa exam. During my training and study breaks, I pondered a topic I wrote about last year that I coined #AllBenchRB. I submitted my analysis to the Mensa Board, who instantly admitted me upon receipt. Their official letter cited the fragility at the running back position and the brilliance of holding a bench full of RBs to capitalize on opportunity and mitigate risk. I thanked them, accepted entry and am now back with RotoBaller to discuss #AllBenchRB for all my fellow fantasy football nerds.

So, let’s get down to brass tacks, whatever the hell that means. All Bench RB refers to the concept of holding as many running backs as you can on your bench. And although I was a rocket scientist in Kiev as a child, this isn’t rocket science. The running back position is the most volatile and therefore presents the most risk and opportunity.

To be explicit - the chances of your running back getting hurt are the highest, and the chances of other running backs getting hurt provide you with the greatest opportunity to pick up a potential league changer from the wire. But there are even more reasons to adopt this strategy, so let’s go through them now.

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Why AllBenchRB?

  1. Risk of injury at the running back position.
  2. Changes in depth charts throughout the season.
  3. The emergence of running back committees provides for more viable running back options that are more than merely handcuffs.
  4. You most likely start two running backs meaning that with exception of wide receiver, there are more streaming options at other positions. Additionally, there are more viable wide receivers in the pass-heavy NFL. Back to the initial point, it’s fair to argue that running back is the most difficult position to stream due to the high demand and low supply.
  5. Holding a bench full of potential running back break-outs is much cheaper than waiting for one to erupt on waivers and having to unload FAAB.
  6. Opportunity is key at Running Back and an injury or change in depth chart is the safest pathway to opportunity in the NFL. Carries are more predictable than Wide Receiver targets.

Of course, these statements are all true, because I just made them but let’s look at some of the data to back up my case:

Out of all 32 NFL teams, there have been major changes with the lead running back situation on 16 of the teams. What I mean by “major change” is an injury, depth chart change or emergence/bust. That’s 50% of the league!

I did not even include other changeable situations like Joe Mixon and Marlon Mack getting hurt early in the season, Frank Gore muddling the Dolphins situation, the emergence of Austin Ekeler as a viable flex play in PPR, or Alex Collins being a borderline bust. Needless to say, drafting running backs after the first round proved to be a crap shoot. Now I’m not here to tell you how you should have drafted or how you should change your draft strategy next year. This article is about #AllBenchRB!  Fill your bench with running backs to capitalize on and protect against the volatility at the position. I’m going to give you some guys that you can target right now, but with two major caveats.

  1. Filling your bench with all RBs isn’t going to be pretty at first. Many of these names are quite undesirable, but they have visible paths to success.
  2. The worse your record, the more difficult to follow this strategy. If you need to win now you can’t be bothered filling your bench with backups or any fliers for that matter. You need guys that will fill your gaps immediately!

Ok, here are some suggestions. Again, no poking fun; I know these are some ugly dudes:

Good luck in your leagues. I can only hope some of you will follow this strategy and benefit by having someone on your bench that will otherwise become a huge waiver claim in the next few weeks.

Until next time, you can find me on Twitter @BrettMitchellFB.

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