Sep 5,2014

My Personal RB Experiment

My little boy loves to run and jump and climb anything specifically not made for babies… which means I’ve witnessed some pretty epic wipeouts. Each time he tumbles though I give him a snuggle and say, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down. What matters is how often you get back up.” It’s a principle I try to live by and one I’d really like to impart to my son.

While I know I’m not setting the world on fire by writing an article about draft strategy, I do think it’s important to try new things in the hopes of getting better… even if that means eating it like a one year old. With that in mind, I submit to you My Personal RB Experiment.

Intrigued by Zero RB theory, I decided to employ Shawn Siegele‘s concept in one of my home leagues while using the more traditional RB-RB-RB approach in the other. Each league consists of 12 teams with the same starting lineup (1 QB, 2 WRs, 2 RB, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST, and 1 K) and number of bench spots (6). Additionally, both leagues follow a standard scoring system. While I acknowledge that Zero RB works best in PPR formats, I felt that because these two leagues have identical setups they would optimally showcase the opposing strategies.

Zero RB Squad Results:

League: Evertrue
Team: Soldier for Ditka

QB: Carson Palmer (11.10)
WR: Dez Bryant (2.3)
WR: Roddy White (3.10)
RB: Joique Bell (5.10)
RB: Ben Tate (6.3)
TE: Jimmy Graham (1.10)
W/R/T: Michael Floyd (4.3)
DST: Tampa Bay (14.3)
K: Robbie Gould (15.10)
Bench: Carlos Hyde (7.10)
Bench: Emmanuel Sanders (8.3)
Bench: Terrance West (9.10)
Bench: LeGarrette Blount (10.3)
Bench: Ryan Tannehill (12.3)
Bench: Jonathan Stewart (13.10)

Zero RB Draft Description:

Having received the 10th pick in League Evertrue, I decided to go with ZeroRB and selected Jimmy Graham. I’ll admit it was tough to pass on Montee Ball when the snake came back around, but I stuck to my guns and nabbed Dez Bryant. For the next two rounds I breathed deeply as RBs flew off the board, but stayed the course and added both Roddy White and Michael Floyd. Finally in round five it was time to take a back. I opted for Joique, believing Reggie to be on the decline. From there I partnered him with Ben Tate who’s looking to be the go-to guy in Cleveland. Heading into the seventh round I was planning to roster Romo, but was sniped one pick before I could stake my claim. Noting that eight of the twelve teams already had QBs, I decided to wait and target Russell Wilson in a later round. Instead, I focused on building my bench and was happy to acquire both Carlos Hyde and Emmanuel Sanders. At this point I should have reached for Wilson and paired him with Rivers in round 10, but I was blinded by Terrance West. I know his preseason has been disappointing, but given Tate’s durability issues and my lack of depth at RB I was nervous to pass on the Browns RB2. Once Wilson and Rivers were both off the board, it seemed silly to jump on QB. Recognizing Blount’s vulture potential while also remembering the league’s standard scoring status made Pittsburgh’s (second) favorite pot enthusiast tasty in the tenth. With only five rounds to go I drafted Palmer and then backed him up with Tannehill. Before capping things off with my DST and K, I debated taking a flyer on Doug Baldwin, but opted for Jonathan Stewart since I felt stacked at receiver.

RB-RB-RB Squad

League: Total Noobs
Team: Pride N’ Joy of IL

QB: Tony Romo (7.5)
WR: Michael Floyd (4.8)
WR: Marques Colston (5.5)
RB: Eddie Lacy (1.5)
RB: Doug Martin (2.8)
TE: Dennis Pitta (10.8)
W/R/T: Zac Stacy (3.5)
DST: Tampa Bay (14.8)
K: Robbie Gould (15.5)
Bench: Eric Decker (6.8)
Bench: Carlos Hyde (8.8)
Bench: Reggie Wayne (9.5)
Bench: LaGarrette Blount (11.5)
Bench: Travis Kelce (12.8)
Bench: Jordan Matthews (13.5)

RB-RB-RB Draft Description:

Knowing that I’d be using the Robust RB theory for this draft, I was hoping to receive one of the first four picks. I ended up with the fifth pick, which put me in Eddie Lacy Land. I like his build and having Aaron Rodgers under center certainly helps, but I’m not as hot on him as some. Regardless, I pulled the trigger and waited to see who would fall to me next. I was thrilled to end up with Doug Martin, who has significantly risen in my rankings since Charles Sims went out and the Bucs acquired Logan Mankins. Digging this approach I set my sights on Alfred Morris, but missed out by two picks and had to settle for Zac Stacy. Normally, I would have taken a receiver there (maybe Randall Cobb or Keenan Allen), but I had to see this experiment through. With my three backs in tow, I went about drafting WRs. In the fourth I chose Floyd over Fitz, but then used round five to balance things out with Colston. Digging Decker’s flex potential (if and when Stacy doesn’t pan out) I grabbed the Jet and took a moment to regroup. Not wanting to miss out on QB, I made Romo a priority. Once he was rostered I returned to the running back well and took another helping of Carlos Hyde. I strive to achieve balance on my benches so after betting on Hyde’s upside I turned to old man Wayne in an attempt to even things out. At this point in the draft the tight end position was beginning to look thin so I scooped up Pitta, planning to back him up with Kelce. On my way to making that dream a reality, I picked up Blount and then moved on to Anthony Fasano’s replacement. With one last bench spot to fill, I took a flyer on the Eagle’s rookie receiver who has dukes if Maclin’s vanish.

Overall Impression:
Drafting is important, but it’s not everything. As Sigmund Bloom said on the X’s and Y’s Podcast, working the waiver wire effectively and efficiently can save a disaster of a draft. Still, it’s nice to start the season with a team you feel good about. While I appreciated using two distinct strategies, I discovered that I’d rather do my own thing and let the draft “fall to me.” I ended up with two decent teams. Right now, Pride N’ Joy of IL seems to be in a better place than Soldier for Ditka, but that’s because everyone is still healthy. With news of Andre Ellington’s foot ailment and Les Snead’s affection for the “hot hand,” I’m seeing the validity in Zero RB. Regardless, I found that if I focused on WRs then I ended up reaching for RBs and if I made RBs a priority then I lost some value drafting WRs. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as the season goes on, but I think fellow FSWA member Allie Fontana got it right when she tweeted that there are “many paths to a championship.”