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Explaining how zero WR strategy works for fantasy football drafts

Whereas Zero RB and late-round QB get nearly all of consideration and ire from the fantasy football group, a rising draft technique revolves round Zero WR. To raised perceive and presumably show you how to determine if this might be a viable technique, we go over some keys and targets for you come draft day.

What’s a Zero WR draft technique?

Yearly in fantasy, we see increasingly different drafting kinds pop up and force-fed on our timelines. These kinds promise to be the following huge wave and revolutionize how we take into consideration the sport. Extra occasions than not, it finally ends up being the equal of that door-to-door salesman attempting to promote you a vacuum cleaner. The entire ones that get mentioned, late-round QB and Zero WR, take advantage of sense. 

Zero broad receiver makes use of the large depth of the positional group as a complete to its benefit. Quite than choosing broad receivers who all may have an analogous end result, managers can pivot through the draft and goal positions with a steeper fall-off. This yr — simply as a lot as any — broad receiver is as deep because it ever has been. I’m positive this won’t be the final time you hear that phrase. 

By ready to deal with the place later, it finally ends up being fairly simple to stroll out of a draft with one of many prime three tight ends, two elite operating backs, and even probably the greatest quarterbacks if you happen to so select. Opposite to the title, this draft technique doesn’t imply you draft zero broad receivers. It simply means ready a bit to draft your first one after which hammering the place for a number of rounds in a row. 

What are some great benefits of a Zero WR draft technique?

I’m going to let you know one thing proper now that the individuals who advocate for one draft technique to rule all of them won’t ever say. There isn’t any excellent draft technique. Nobody technique is assured to offer you increased outcomes than one other. What it comes right down to is worth, and worth ought to supersede technique each time.

With that stated, the Zero WR technique makes use of that worth to its benefit. If we take a look at the operating again place as a complete, it’s changing into more and more troublesome to search out these true three-down, workhorse-style operating backs. Offenses are extra incessantly wanting to make use of a committee method. Due to this, anytime we will goal that handful of upper-echelon operating backs in fantasy, it is a bonus.

If we take a look at drafts, there’s a steep drop-off when you hit the RB22 to RB24 vary and on down. Greater than possible, these will not be gamers who you need to depend on to win your match up. 

The identical rings true for tight ends, besides to an much more excessive degree. It’s a place that struggles for weekly relevance as a result of lack of utilization in most offenses. There’s a clear “huge three” (Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle) after which a second tier of three extra gamers (Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson, and Kyle Pitts). Past that, consistency can develop into scarce.

Whatever the technique, I’m going right into a draft attempting to depart with one of many elite tight ends. And going Zero WR makes this even simpler to do.

What are the disadvantages of Zero WR drafting?

The very first thing to think about as an obstacle is volatility. The broad receiver place as a complete tends to see large swings in weekly end result and consistency. In 2020 alone, solely 18 broad receivers completed as a top-24 participant in 50% or extra of their video games performed. Of these receivers, 12 completed inside the highest 20, which means they’re possible going to be out of our draft vary after we begin to choose broad receivers. Dropping stability must be thought-about.

There may be additionally the priority of how shortly issues can collapse when you have an damage to your prime operating again. That is nothing new as a result of everybody suffers whatever the draft technique when somebody like Christian McCaffrey goes down for the season. Nevertheless, operating backs are inclined to play in fewer video games than receivers.

Of the highest 24 operating backs in factors per sport final yr, solely two performed in all 16 video games (Derrick Henry and Kareem Hunt). While you make investments closely ready such as you do in a Zero WR technique, accidents can shortly throw your season out the window.

How one can method a Zero WR Draft

Heading into the draft, it’s good to have an thought of targets or positions you need to tackle every spherical. As a common rule of thumb, most who use a Zero WR technique wait till Spherical 6 to draft their first receiver.

Spherical 1

Within the first spherical, it’s all concerning the operating again. I’m attempting to get one of many prime RBs who’ve the upside to be the RB1 for the season. A few of these gamers embrace McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook dinner, Saquon Barkley, and Jonathan Taylor. The one exception I’d make can be when you have a again finish of the first-round decide, and people gamers are gone. In that case, I’d take a look at Kelce.

Spherical 2

In Spherical 2, look to both double down on the operating again spot or choose one of many elite tight ends talked about earlier. If Kelce slipped into Spherical 2, that’s a straightforward determination for me as he’s in a tier by himself.

Spherical 3

The third spherical goes to go similar to the earlier. You’re trying on the RB place or grabbing a decent finish. On this vary are gamers like Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Darren Waller.

Spherical 4

In Spherical 4, goal both one other RB that’s nonetheless inside the top 25 rankings or take a look at a quarterback. 

As I’ve at all times stated, I’m a late-round QB drafter. Nevertheless, the good thing about the Zero WR technique is that you could go after an elite QB. It’s possible by this level Patrick Mahomes has already been chosen, however that’s okay. I consider 5 quarterbacks may end because the QB1 in 2021, and they need to all be out there exterior of Mahomes. 

That may be Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, and Lamar Jackson. If you wish to push this round later, intriguing operating backs embrace Chris Carson, David Montgomery, and Travis Etienne.

Spherical 5

As soon as once more, goal a operating again right here. On this vary, my three favourite gamers can be Myles Gaskin, Javonte Williams, and Hunt. In 10 video games final yr, Gaskin averaged 18.3 alternatives per sport (seventh-most) and was on tempo for over 70 receptions. 

Williams is a bruising operating again who will ultimately take over the Denver Broncos’ backfield in all probability before we expect. As for Hunt, he’s one of many extra versatile operating backs within the NFL. Moreover, he’s on an offense that wishes to do nothing however run the ball. Even with Nick Chubb within the lineup, Hunt has RB2 upside.

Spherical 6 and past

Now the gloves are off. We’ve loaded up our roster with expertise in any respect three positions and start choosing broad receivers. 

In Spherical 6, gamers nonetheless out there embrace Tyler Lockett, CeeDee Lamb, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Brandon Aiyuk. This goes to point out how stacked and deep the broad receiver class is. Lockett was the WR9, and Lamb has a high-end WR2 to low-end WR1 upside with Prescott again within the lineup.

In Spherical 7, there’s a ton of upside with gamers like Courtland Sutton, Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, and dynamic rookie Jaylen Waddle.

Huge receivers highlighting Rounds 8 and 9 embrace Jerry Jeudy, Brandin Cooks, Laviska Shenault, Will Fuller, Diontae Johnson, and Robby Anderson.

Primarily based on ADP, you could possibly simply stroll out of a draft with a staff trying like this:

QB – Kyler Murray
RB – Jonathan Taylor
RB – Austin Ekeler
WR – CeeDee Lamb
WR – Tee Higgins
WR – Diontae Johnson
TE – Darren Waller
Flex – Myles Gaskin

Regardless of ready till Spherical 6 to draft our first receiver, it’s under no circumstances a staff’s weak spot. Zero WR is a really viable draft technique that may produce constant and balanced contending fantasy lineups.

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Be sure you observe us on Twitter (@PFN365) to remain present with all issues across the NFL and the upcoming 2021 fantasy soccer season. Additionally, proceed to go to Pro Football Network for NFL information and in-depth evaluation whereas additionally visiting our fantasy soccer part for extra protection.

Tommy Garrett is a author for Pro Soccer Community overlaying the NFL and fantasy soccer and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports activities Writers Affiliation). You may learn more of his work here and observe him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

Explaining how zero WR strategy works for fantasy football drafts

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