• The Incredible Depth at Running Back in 2008

    by  • July 31, 2008 • Draft Strategy, Tips & Strategy • 13 Comments

    If you followed along with my recent expert draft, you saw me pass on taking a lot of depth at running back (RB) in the early rounds. Only in the later rounds did I really flesh out the RB position on my team.

    Taking Tom Brady in the first round certainly didn’t help me snag several elite RBs, but he fell to me at the 10 spot. Come on, I had to do it.

    In the first seven rounds, I only took two RBs, Ryan Grant in the second round and Jonathan Stewart in the fifth round.

    I don’t hate the idea of taking two or three RBs at the beginning of your draft this year. In fact, I have in several mocks I’ll be posting about soon. It just so happened that each time my pick came up in the expert league draft, I saw RBs who I expected to be available at my next pick that I was fine waiting to get. I never felt compelled to take a RB because there were always more. There are ALWAYS more this year! Did you hear that?

    Unfortunately, since this was an expert league, many of the other drafters also saw these RBs falling and snagged them before it was my chance. So much for catching fatty LenDale White where I wanted him.

    As a result of the running back by committee (RBBC) system and the high number of casualties at the RB position, there is a wealth of RBs in 2008 drafts. Once you get beyond the elite and a few more starters, there is quite a large plateau of talent that could at least operate in a rotation for your fantasy team.

    I probably would have taken more RBs early in this expert draft, but my average draft position (ADP) stats were all over the place compared to where many of the RBs were taken. Expert leagues operate a little off the norm.

    If you aren’t taking elite backs, I found better value in snagging elite and solid wide receivers and elite quarterbacks early in my draft. I’ll toy with my strategy a bit in the mocks I am doing this month, but I have to say, don’t sweat not talking RBs early. There’s plenty to go around this year.

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    Jacob started Fantasy Football Fools in 2007 as a outlet for all the fantasy football conversations he couldn't have in-person. Since then, well...it's only gotten worse.

    http://www.fantasyfootballfools.com

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    • http://pcpsports.com Phillies

      Incredible depth? I’d say that due to the advent of rbbc there’s now only about 9 solid running backs! The depth you talk about is a bunch of #2′s who’ll get addition carries, but won’t compare to the top level guys. If you want to compete in fantasy football this year, you either take a stud running back in round one…or hope to get REAL lucky.

    • http://pcpsports.com Phillies

      Incredible depth? I’d say that due to the advent of rbbc there’s now only about 9 solid running backs! The depth you talk about is a bunch of #2′s who’ll get addition carries, but won’t compare to the top level guys. If you want to compete in fantasy football this year, you either take a stud running back in round one…or hope to get REAL lucky.

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    • http://www.fantasyfootballfools.com Jacob

      @Phillies:

      I agree that there aren’t as many feature backs as their used to be. Not many RBs will get upwards of 300 carries this year. The depth I am talking about really comes in once you get past the elite RBs and into the mix — let’s say the Laurence Maroney, Ronnie Brown level. That is where the plateau begins for RB value this year, and it goes on for quite awhile in the early rounds.

      I have been seeing starting RBs going as late as the seventh round this year, and solid backs who won’t start but share carries even later than that. Many of these guys will end up supporting a team with strong WRs and QBs in your league this year, so you can’t ignore the elite WRs and QBs when they are available.

      While I am not saying to pass on elite RBs in your very first round, I am making the case that you shouldn’t concern yourself with snagging two RBs early. You can easily build a strong team this year by drafting for value and always taking the best available QB, WR or RB. Just don’t get caught up thinking you have to get a large pack of RBs early to be successful.

      I’m toying with the RB-WR-RB-WR strategy. I think it might be the best way to go this year in drafting.

    • http://www.fantasyfootballfools.com Jacob

      @Phillies:

      I agree that there aren’t as many feature backs as their used to be. Not many RBs will get upwards of 300 carries this year. The depth I am talking about really comes in once you get past the elite RBs and into the mix — let’s say the Laurence Maroney, Ronnie Brown level. That is where the plateau begins for RB value this year, and it goes on for quite awhile in the early rounds.

      I have been seeing starting RBs going as late as the seventh round this year, and solid backs who won’t start but share carries even later than that. Many of these guys will end up supporting a team with strong WRs and QBs in your league this year, so you can’t ignore the elite WRs and QBs when they are available.

      While I am not saying to pass on elite RBs in your very first round, I am making the case that you shouldn’t concern yourself with snagging two RBs early. You can easily build a strong team this year by drafting for value and always taking the best available QB, WR or RB. Just don’t get caught up thinking you have to get a large pack of RBs early to be successful.

      I’m toying with the RB-WR-RB-WR strategy. I think it might be the best way to go this year in drafting.

    • http://pcpsports.com Phillies

      I’m actually thinking rb-wr-wr-rb since I think Thomas Jones may fall to me in the fourth round and I really like him this year.

    • http://pcpsports.com Phillies

      I’m actually thinking rb-wr-wr-rb since I think Thomas Jones may fall to me in the fourth round and I really like him this year.

    • http://www.fantasyfootballfools.com Jacob

      @Phillies:

      Not a bad idea, Phillies. Not a bad idea at all.

    • http://www.fantasyfootballfools.com Jacob

      @Phillies:

      Not a bad idea, Phillies. Not a bad idea at all.

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    • junkyardjake

      Hey Jacob,

      Thanks for your great analysis of the draft, it should be a fun league.

      You bring up a great point concerning the later round options at RB this year. I think your RB-WR-RB-WR draft sequence makes sense.

      It’s no doubt that the strange occurences from last season have made this a viable draft strategy. For example, 2007 1st round picks Larry Johnson and Shaun Alexander burned alot of teams, while a few RBs, like Ryan Grant and Earnest Graham, materialized out of thin air.

      Plus you had the huge wide receiver seasons from Moss, Wayne, Owens and Edwards, and like you mentioned, alot of NFL teams have started using platoons.

      Looking at the draft trends from this year, you are certainly correct about finding decent RBs in the later rounds. The deep rookie class helps, players like Chris Johnson, Felix Jones and Ray Rice can be picked up in like the 9th-10th round. New starters, like Matt Forte and Kevin Smith are going in the 5th-6th round. Plus, even guys like Maurice Morris, Andre Hall, Pierre Thomas and Brandon Jackson could prove valuable, and they can be picked up really late in a typical draft.

    • junkyardjake

      Hey Jacob,

      Thanks for your great analysis of the draft, it should be a fun league.

      You bring up a great point concerning the later round options at RB this year. I think your RB-WR-RB-WR draft sequence makes sense.

      It’s no doubt that the strange occurences from last season have made this a viable draft strategy. For example, 2007 1st round picks Larry Johnson and Shaun Alexander burned alot of teams, while a few RBs, like Ryan Grant and Earnest Graham, materialized out of thin air.

      Plus you had the huge wide receiver seasons from Moss, Wayne, Owens and Edwards, and like you mentioned, alot of NFL teams have started using platoons.

      Looking at the draft trends from this year, you are certainly correct about finding decent RBs in the later rounds. The deep rookie class helps, players like Chris Johnson, Felix Jones and Ray Rice can be picked up in like the 9th-10th round. New starters, like Matt Forte and Kevin Smith are going in the 5th-6th round. Plus, even guys like Maurice Morris, Andre Hall, Pierre Thomas and Brandon Jackson could prove valuable, and they can be picked up really late in a typical draft.