Struggling with Zero RB? You’re Probably Not Drafting Enough WRs
Image Credit: Tom Walko/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Will Fuller.

Wednesday evening, I had a chance to draft an FPC championship team with three of my favorites, Ben Gretch, Patrick Kerrane, and Peter Overzet. Live streaming a draft with the Ship Chasing team was one of my favorite all-time fantasy football experiences. We celebrated receiving the 12 slot, despite the horrific returns when drafting late.

It was a lot of fun to draft with three great minds, and in this case like-minded. We used the RotoViz FFPC Command Center throughout, and it kept us up-to-date on the best values and the likelihood that our target players would come back to our next pick.

The draft also reinforced an idea that I think tends to get lost in the recent discussion of Zero RB – you’re probably not drafting enough WRs.

Today, I’ll look at our pure Zero RB start in the Ship Chasing draft and explain the logic- and evidence-based reasons to stretch your comfort zone and draft even more WRs.

Struggling with Zero RB? You May Need to Draft More WRs

In the original Zero RB article, I mentioned that I like to come out of the first five rounds with four WRs and an elite TE. But in the follow-up piece where I offered examples of the approach in real events, I pointed to teams where I drafted at least six WRs in the first nine selections. In those instances, I selected Le’Veon Bell in Round 6 – an example of the phenomenon we talked about yesterday, where rookie RBs win the fantasy playoffs – and then went back to WR.

In looking at my draft approach for 2-RB/2-WR/2-Flex formats like the FFPC or 2-3-1 formats like Apex, I generally want to start four WRs because they crush your opponents in the Flex slots. If we want to dominate with four WRs in our starting lineup, it helps to have at least one extra to dominate the bye weeks and one extra for injury or underperformance. After all, we’re all overly optimistic about expert projections and ADP, plus WRs get injured too.[1]

The quick math: That gets us up to six WRs and one TE.

How does this fit with the shape of WR scoring?

Earlier this offseason, Jack Miller penned Recency Bias and the Natural Tendency to Zag: Why Zero RB is Poised to Crush in 2020. (It’s a must-read article for any Zero RB skeptics and covers key elements beyond the scope of this post.) Jack demonstrates the way in which WR scoring has evolved over the last six years.

In three of the last four seasons, WR1 scoring has been down from the 2014-2015 levels. The WR2 and WR3 tiers are suddenly more competitive. But what we also see is that WR4 and WR5 levels from 2017 to 2019 are well down over the levels from 2014 to 2016. By this important standard, WR scoring is shallower than ever.

Zero RB and the League-Winning, Comfort-Zone Crushing Approach

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Not as frequently, especially not in the high-leverage rounds, but they are in no way immune.

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Shawn Siegele

Author of the original Zero RB article and 2013 NFFC Primetime Grand Champion. 11-time main event league winner. 2015, 2017, 2018 titles in MFL10 of Death.

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