Have the guts to search the RB Dead Zone for options? Shawn Siegele begins the Discount Series with a look at three RBs who can provide Austin Ekeler’s production without the first-round price tag.
During our recent Zero RB series for Stealing Bananas, Ben Gretch and I suggested that the Dead Zone might be exactly where you want to look if you’re going to employ Modified Zero RB in 2021. The first round is littered with land mines, and Ekeler could be one of them.
But even if he isn’t, we can’t always afford all of our favorite players. In some cases it may not make sense to pay their prices, and in others we may be out of position to select them in the first place. Price and structure are crucially important in putting together a winning draft plan. When we can find similar players at a discount, we often want to prioritize those buys.
The 2020 Discount Series was a lot of fun to put together, and quite a few of our targets put together seasons that justified their inclusion.
Not all of our discount candidates will pay off, of course, but the process also offers tangential benefits. Sometimes in researching arbitrage options we find that a player’s production simply isn’t replaceable. Those players become the core of our early-round strategy.
Today we start with discount options for Austin Ekeler. The Chargers mighty mite is one of my favorite players in the NFL, but he’s going to need an epic season to justify his price. A foundational tenet of Zero RB is this: We actually love RBs; we just don’t chase them above a reasonable price.
I’m going to be rooting for Ekeler and hoping that he proves me wrong with a 400-point season. I’m also going to be creating exposure to an Ekeler-like profile with these less expensive options.