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 soccer group, a rising draft technique revolves round Zero WR. To raised perceive and presumably enable you to determine if this may very well 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 an increasing number of various drafting types pop up and force-fed on our timelines. These types promise to be the subsequent massive wave and revolutionize how we take into consideration the sport. Extra instances 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 huge receiver makes use of the huge depth of the positional group as an entire to its benefit. Quite than deciding on huge receivers who all may have an analogous final result, managers can pivot in the course of the draft and goal positions with a steeper fall-off. This yr — simply as a lot as any — huge receiver is as deep because it ever has been. I’m positive this is not going to 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 working backs, and even among the finest quarterbacks if you happen to so select. Opposite to the title, this draft technique doesn’t imply you draft zero huge 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 the 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 a excellent draft technique. Nobody technique is assured to provide you larger 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 have a look at the working again place as an entire, it’s changing into more and more troublesome to seek out these true three-down, workhorse-style working backs. Offenses are extra continuously wanting to make use of a committee strategy. Due to this, anytime we are able to goal that handful of upper-echelon working backs in fantasy, it is a bonus.

If we have a look at drafts, there’s a steep drop-off when you hit the RB22 to RB24 vary and on down. Greater than doubtless, these should not 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 stage. It’s a place that struggles for weekly relevance because of the lack of utilization in most offenses. There’s a clear “massive 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 am 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 contemplate as a drawback is volatility. The huge receiver place as an entire tends to see huge swings in weekly final result and consistency. In 2020 alone, solely 18 huge 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 doubtless going to be out of our draft vary after we begin to choose huge receivers. Dropping stability must be thought of.

There may be additionally the priority of how shortly issues can collapse you probably have an damage to your prime working 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, working backs are likely to play in fewer video games than receivers.

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

Find out how to strategy a Zero WR Draft

Heading into the draft, it’s good to have an concept of targets or positions you need to tackle every spherical. As a basic 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 working 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 you probably have a again finish of the first-round decide, and people gamers are gone. In that case, I’d have a look at Kelce.

Spherical 2

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

Spherical 3

The third spherical goes to go an identical to the earlier. You’re wanting on the RB place or grabbing a good 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 highest 25 rankings or have a look at a quarterback. 

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

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

Spherical 5

As soon as once more, goal a working 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 working again who will ultimately take over the Denver Broncos’ backfield in all probability before we predict. As for Hunt, he’s one of many extra versatile working 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 deciding on huge receivers. 

In Spherical 6, gamers nonetheless accessible embrace Tyler Lockett, CeeDee Lamb, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Brandon Aiyuk. This goes to indicate how stacked and deep the huge 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.

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

Based mostly on ADP, you could possibly simply stroll out of a draft with a crew wanting 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 certainly not a crew’s weak point. Zero WR is a really viable draft technique that may produce constant and balanced contending fantasy lineups.

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


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