Zero RB is always controversial, especially in 2022. But this isn’t to argue the plus or negative. Instead it’s to help players navigate something that can be what they fall into with how previous selections have been made.
The general concept is that you delay selecting an RB, instead grabbing top players at WR/ TE/ QB and then filling in your RB position later.
The logic being that if everyone ahead of you has selected RBs, then the best WRs are still on the board and you are better taking one of those instead of a second-tier RB. The reason you can do that, is that RB injuries are common and can cause a huge swing in value.
If you think back to last season, preseason injuries to J.K. Dobbins, Travis Etienne and Cam Akers led to people drafting Darrel Henderson, Gus Edwards (who was then injured, leading to Ty’Son Williams & Latavius Murray being used).
Best Situation for Zero RB
Certain league settings lend themselves to Zero RB working better than in others:
- League uses FAAB building
- Drafting towards the end of the 1st round
- PPR league
- 3 WR positions
- Multiple flex spots
- Leagues that have deeper benches
- Early drafts
- Standard scoring leagues
- Few flex positions
- Earlier drafting position
When to use Zero RB
The strategy works best when the majority of league mates are heavily selecting RBs, as it allows us to be able to load up at other positions with top tier talent. Being able to use FAAB is key, along with taking shots with high-level backup options.
Ideally too, you want to be the only person operating the strategy. Otherwise those mid-round RBs you thought you’d pick up- they are likely to be gone.
How Zero RB Might Look
Using Fantasy Pros Draft Simulator, I put together a draft where I was going to attempt to use a Zero RB strategy. I’ll admit that I was maybe a round early in selecting my RB in round, but it wasn’t a bad run.
For the record, the league settings were:
- 1 x QB, 2 x RB, 3 x WR, 1 x TE, 2 x FLX (RB/WR/TE), DST & K, 8 x BN
- PPR Scoring
You can find the full draft board here
My overall strategy was to get some decent level WRs, and/or an elite TE. Mid-round selections would be my RB shots, and then I was going to try and take players that I would know what to do early-season.
The mid-level selections at RB I was actually really happy with. Etienne and Dobbins are likely going to be my starters, and should have good involvement in their teams’ offenses. Then Sanders, CEH and Penny should be able to give me a decent level of production.
In selecting Allgeier, Foreman & White I’ve given myself backs that are likely to take the majority of carries if an injury happens ahead of them.
Moore, Crowder and Osborn I feel like are players that I’m happy to swing for the fences on. Very quickly in the season, I’m going to know if they are going to perform for fantasy and be on the field.
Zero RB 2022 Conclusion
Zero RB can work, if you apply it well and the board falls to you. In this draft it did.
It isn’t always going to pan out though, so I wouldn’t think to apply it constantly. My advice would be to try some mocks using it, and you can see the pitfalls of it. The reason I say you should do the mocks is that there may come a point where you put this into play during a real draft.