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Applying the Zero RB Strategy to the Dynasty Offseason, Part 2

Before free agency began I wrote about how you could apply Zero RB strategy to the dynasty offseason. If you heeded my advice you might have traded T.J. Yeldon away before he became the wrong back to own in Jacksonville. Or you might have acquired Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray, who went from sharing one backfield to leading two.

But it’s not too late to apply this strategy. The NFL Draft is almost here, and it may shake up the RB landscape even more than free agency did. Here are six RBs you should trade before the 2016 NFL Draft.

Thomas Rawls

One of the main premises of my last piece was that you want to divest from backfields with shallow depth charts, as those teams are the most likely to add a significant RB. Well, that sounds like Seattle to me. They re-signed Christine Michael, and that guy is the second most relevant RB on the team behind Rawls. I identified them as one of the teams most likely to draft Derrick Henry.

But even if you assume they don’t draft a RB, Rawls may be inherently overvalued. Rawls had 147 rushing attempts last season, but only nine receptions. He only had 11 receptions in his entire collegiate career. It’s an uphill climb to fantasy success for RBs who aren’t heavily involved in the passing game.

Rawls’ rushing performance may not be sustainable either. As 14TeamMocker notes, Rawls was on pace for 336 carries last season, which would have led the league. Even if he is the 2016 starter, he probably won’t see that level of volume. His efficiency probably isn’t sustainable either. Jamaal Charles is the most efficient rusher in the history of the modern NFL, and he has averaged 5.5 yards per rushing attempt. Rawls averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt last season. That’s not to say he couldn’t repeat his efficiency in 2016, but it’s almost certainly not sustainable over the longterm.

According to our Dynasty ADP App, Rawls has a similar ADP to players like Jordy Nelson, Jeremy Maclin, and Tyler Eifert. In terms of rookie draft picks, his value is set a little higher than the 1.03 pick.

Eddie Lacy

Generally speaking, I’m not worried about Lacy’s 2016 outlook as things stand now. But Green Bay is a team that is probably more likely to add a RB than people realize. They re-signed James Starks, but he’s already 30 years old and Lacy is in a contract year. Even if Lacy sheds weight and has a strong 2016, they might be hesitant to re-sign him given his past conditioning issues. While I’m not going to say that Lacy’s production has mostly been a product of his opportunity, it is probably to fair to say that opportunity is a huge part of his valuation. If the Packers draft a RB highly enough it will not only be perceived as a loss of 2016 opportunity, but as an indication that they may not re-sign him.

According to the Dynasty ADP App, Lacy has a similar ADP to players like Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Reed, and Julian Edelman.  In terms of rookie draft picks, he seems to be slightly less valuable than the 1.03.

Carlos Hyde

After Hyde went down with a foot injury that eventually cost him most of the season, the 49ers trotted out a group of RBs including Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis, DuJuan Harris, and Kendall Gaskins. That group had 154 carries for 499 yards, a 3.24 Y/A average. Given Chip Kelly’s appreciation for the RB position and possible concerns about Hyde’s foot, the 49ers are one of the most likely teams to draft Ezekiel Elliott.

Hyde has a similar ADP to players like Travis Kelce, Allen Hurns, Golden Tate, and Stefon Diggs. His value is pretty close to the 1.04 pick.

Jeremy Langford, Latavius Murray, & Matt Jones

These three RBs belong to the teams that made my list of the teams most likely to draft Ezekiel Elliott and my list of the teams most likely to draft Derrick Henry. A big part of that is these teams have no depth. None at all. Aside from these three, who is the most significant RB in Washington, Chicago, or Oakland? I think it’s actually Chris Thompson, which is pretty incredible considering he has only 38 career rushing attempts.

You could trade Langford for Melvin Gordon, Eric Decker, Greg Olsen, or 1.06. You could trade Murray for Zach Ertz, Giovani Bernard, Jameis Winston, or 1.08. You could trade Jones for Duke Johnson, Matt Forte, Blake Bortles, or 1.09.

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