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The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby bostonsoxandy » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:10 am

The idea posted that taking a QB or a WR in the first round is less effective than taking a RB first round is something i would love to argue. I prefer the radical methods of fantasy football. I embrace the strategy of not taking any RB's in the first 8 rounds so you can't call me an unbiased source but a reasoned one I hope...The theory behind skipping a first round QB is solid in the recent article on Fantasy Cafe (by Hayes) but I believe it's slightly flawed...the top-10 in RB has the highest change rate out of all the positions. Look at last year's RB rankings: Turner, AP, Forte, DeAngelo, LT, MJD, SJax, Chris Johnson, Steve Slaton, Brandon Jacobs, and Brian Westbrook were the top 12. Out of those top 12, Turner, Forte, DeAngelo (based on where he was drafted), Tomlinson, Slaton, Jacobs, and Westbrooks were duds. Not even close to the pick used on em. Thats 7 out of the top 12 rb's where DUDS. The year before that it wasn't much different. Addai, Portis, Marion Barber, Marshawn Lynch, and Jamaal Lewis were all in the top 12 that year. Basically, RB's are very close to unpredictable. If you have a chance at a sure thing in one of the top-4 (AP, MJD, CJ, RR) then take him. PERIOD. But after those 4 it gets shady. Could Gore flop this year? Is SJax finally gonna bust or get big injured? So instead of taking an uncertainity take a sure thing at QB or WR. Take Brees. Just go ahead. Take Andre Johnson. You KNOW for a fact these guys aren't going anywhere. If you think Andre Johnson is gonna pull a Matt Forte of last year, good luck with that theory. You want your first few picks to be SURE THINGS. A sure thing at QB or WR is better than a starting to get to potential busts at RB.

The second part of my reasoning is that there are tons of upside RB's available later in rounds 8-12 that if you snag say, 6, and 2 of them breakout you have a STUD TEAM. Look at last year- Ray Rice @ 24RB, Benson @ 28, Mendenhall at 47, McCoy @ 45, Charles @ 69...So instead of drafting a Steven Jackson in the first round at pick 5 or 6, draft Andre. Take Brees, Snag Moss. Just get yourself a sure thing you know won't fail. Then later in the draft shoot for the sky with high upside backs. Think Spiller, Jerome Harrison, Hardesty, Forsett, Leon Washington, Foster, Slaton, Maroney, Tomlinson, etc. etc. et.c Just think about it. Try it. Respond to this post if ya wish
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby CBMGreatOne » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:31 am

I really couldn't agree more. In 2008, I drafted Tom Brady in round 1, which was obviously the disaster of all fantasy football disasters. My reasoning was that after the top 3 or 4 RBs, I just couldn't trust the rest not to turn out to be big busts, as I'd dealt with in previous seasons. Unfortunately, as we all know, Brady tore his ACL in week 1 and my season suffered irreparably.

I thought long and hard about ditching my '08 philosophy in '09 and going back to taking RBs/WRs with my first 6 or so picks, but ultimately decided that Brady's injury was an absolute fluke, the worst kind of bad luck you can experience. Historically, QBs can be depended on much more confidently to stay healthy throughout the season than RBs especially.

So in '09, I thought, since I didn't really get to try my "take a QB early" strategy the previous year, that I'd double down and roll the dice one more time. In my 12 team league, my '09 draft looked like this:

Rd 1 (6) Brees
Rd 2 (19) Wayne
Rd 3 (30) Colston
Rd 4 (43) Ray Rice
Rd 5 (54) Beanie
Rd 6 (67) Felix Jones
Rd 7 (78) Donald Brown
Rd 8 (91) McCoy
Rd 9 (102) Chester Taylor
Rd 10 (115) Chris Henry (died during the season, yikes)
Rd 11 (126) Michael Bush
Rd 12 (139) Mike Bell
Rd 13 (150) Percy Harvin

Then I filled my K, Def, and TE spots with my last three picks. So I went QB, WR, WR, then 7 RBs in the next 8 rounds. I also lucked into Jamaal Charles in FA, shortly before LJ was cut and I ended up making the championship game. Going for sure things at QB and WR and following it up with a huge roster of RBs can pay off nicely. Going with the consensus top RBs early, which all carry a higher risk than the top QBs/WRs, and following it up with QBs and WRs in middle rounds that are far from sure things doesn't seem like as good a strategy to me.
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby Purple1 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:54 am

I completely agree with you man.

Some people don't realize the game has changed its not 1997 anymore fellas this is a passing league now. Just go back and review all the rulechanges that have happend in the last 10 years or so that favor the passing game.

The old rule that you have to take a RB in the first round rule will burn you more times than not these days in the leagues I play in.

And maybe I'm crazy but I love RBBC's because now I can get the same production from a rb in the 5th-6th rd as people are getting from the ones they picked in the 2nd-3rd. On top of that it always seems like its easyier to find a decent rb on the WW in recent years.
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby PuntinFool » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:10 am

I like this strategy too. There will definitely be a clamoring for getting a workhorse back on any team this year as they become nearly extinct species, so it really makes one have to think about who will be most productive in an RBBC. People will try to flip the coin and hope they pick the right RBBC guy, even in early rounds.

What still drives most of us is the adage of one guy getting the ball all or most of the time and, therefore, consistent production from 1-4 yds per carry. Even in bad weather running backs are the sure thing (aside from fumbles) who will get the ball no matter what and put up some numbers. This will be why, no matter whether the NFL is more run or pass prone, people will always go for those running backs. Taking on the WR/QB strategy will likely always be a minority move.

People are wary of getting stuck with a 2 rec, 30 yards fluke game for their high WR picks. However, I agree that at least you know you'll have the main go-to guy in the pass offense. You rarely hear of someone overtaking an AJ or a Moss in the depth chart during the season. As has been mentioned, aside from some fluke games, WR and QB tend to be more of sure thing for the season. Running backs, if they stick, have a perception of being more of a sure thing for each game.

I figure that since I've been stuck with Jacobs, Addai, Portis and other unfortunate backs for the past few years, trying something new might at least make it more fun.
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby markulous » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:29 am

Purple1 wrote:I completely agree with you man.

Some people don't realize the game has changed its not 1997 anymore fellas this is a passing league now. Just go back and review all the rulechanges that have happend in the last 10 years or so that favor the passing game.

Which is more reason you can wait on a QB and don't necessarily need to get a top option. How many QBs are throwing for 4000 yards and 25 TDs now compared to 97?
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby moose_ffc » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:05 pm

I think this is a good strategy, but I don't think a RB heavy early draft is a bad idea either. The real key is you have to hit late on whatever you hit early. Last year I went WR, RB, QB in the first few rounds. My RB was a complete bust. My team struggled for much of the season until I added Miles Austin, Jamaal Charles, and Jason Snelling. I barely lost in the title game. I thought I had some can't misses, but I had to recover in season.

This year, I think I can get RBs, WRs, or QBs late, so I will just feel out how my draft goes and build from there. I would love to get a top RB, but I am picking at the end of the 1st round in a 12 team league. WR/QB or WR/RB will be my likely move. I don't want to go WR/WR because I think I have some sleeper WRs that will help me later in my draft and we only start 2 WR in a non-PPR.
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby mattb47 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:13 pm

We've had this debate so many times already...do we really need to have it again? WR in the first isn't necessarily a bad thing...but I just can't understand how QB in the first makes sense to anyone with how many guys there are putting up big passing numbers now. I've made all my arguments for this so many times already that I'm not sure I want to get into all of it again...there are enough other people here who know why it's not worth it to take a QB that early to make the points I think.
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby Purple1 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:24 pm

markulous wrote:
Purple1 wrote:I completely agree with you man.

Some people don't realize the game has changed its not 1997 anymore fellas this is a passing league now. Just go back and review all the rulechanges that have happend in the last 10 years or so that favor the passing game.

Which is more reason you can wait on a QB and don't necessarily need to get a top option. How many QBs are throwing for 4000 yards and 25 TDs now compared to 97?
,

A lot more, but thats not my or the OP's point.

I pick 8th in my 12team re-draft league this year and if I'm looking at the likes of Gore, Turner, Steven Jackson, and DeAngelo at RB or Manning/Brees @ QB I'm going QB and I'm not thinking twice about it. Best player available...
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby dgan » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:04 pm

mattb47 wrote:We've had this debate so many times already...do we really need to have it again? WR in the first isn't necessarily a bad thing...but I just can't understand how QB in the first makes sense to anyone with how many guys there are putting up big passing numbers now. I've made all my arguments for this so many times already that I'm not sure I want to get into all of it again...there are enough other people here who know why it's not worth it to take a QB that early to make the points I think.


I'll take care of this one for you. ;-D

OK, we get it. 1st rd RBs often bust. You can find RB gems in the mid and late rounds. No secret. The philosophy that you can BANK on sleepers - how realistic is that?

So, let's take a look. I'll use my draft as an example. Every time I find a "breakout RB", I'll list all the other RBs drafted in that round and see what your odds are of landing one of those gems. We'll start with the 4th round.

4th - Ray Rice! (Darren McFadden, Pierre Thomas)
5th - Cedric Benson! (JStew, Kevin Smith, Joseph Addai, Beanie Wells)
6th - (Lendale White, Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush, Larry Johnson)
7th/8th - (Willie Parker, Tim Hightower, Darren Sproles)
9th/10th - Thomas Jones! (Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown, Derrick Ward)
11-13 - Jamaal Charles! (L. McCoy, E. Graham, L. Maroney, Julius Jones, C. Taylor, F. Taylor, Felix Jones, J. Lewis, G. Coffee, L. Washington, M. Goodson)
14-16 - Ricky Williams, R. Mendenhall! (W. McGahee, J. Davis, F. Jackson, R. Jennings)

So in 13 rounds, we found 6 awesome values. But we had to draft 37 RBs to do it. So in the first round, maybe half won't live up to expectations - but even the "busts" will typically be top 25 guys. 50% of these other guys were unstartable.

Let's look at those "busts" that were mentioned and their approximate end of season ranking:

Turner - Until getting injured, he was a top 10 RB on a per start basis for 2/3 of your fantasy season
Forte - 25th ranked RB, started all 16 games
DeAngelo - 10th ranked RB
Tomlinson - 19th ranked RB
Slaton - 21st ranked RB until injured for last 5 games
Jacobs - 29th ranked RB
Westbrook - Injured for half the season, ineffective in the other half

So, out of all those "busts", you only had 3 players that you had to bench regularly. And don't forget, a guy like Charles could not even be started in your league until your fantasy regular season was nearly over. So who would you have used for the first 10 weeks? Wouldn't you have rather had Slaton AND Charles? And did you know late round gem Laurence Maroney was the 9th ranked fantasy RB while filling in for the injured Fred Taylor? So even your late round gems can have Turner-like seasons. It's not just the first rounders that get hurt.

Everyone is cocky and thinks "I'll be the one that finds the 15% of RB gems in the late rounds". It's not that easy. It's a crapshoot. That's why drafting RB early is so important. Because then you have at minimum a startable player in addition to your 15% chance of landing a midround stud.

Your chances of landing a Hightower and McCoy are much higher than lucking into Charles and Mendenhall. Anyone basing their fantasy season on that happening are welcome in my league anytime. I could use the cash!
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Re: The Argument Against RB in 1st round (or for WR/QB in 1st)

Postby CBMGreatOne » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:49 pm

mattb47 wrote:We've had this debate so many times already...do we really need to have it again? WR in the first isn't necessarily a bad thing...but I just can't understand how QB in the first makes sense to anyone with how many guys there are putting up big passing numbers now. I've made all my arguments for this so many times already that I'm not sure I want to get into all of it again...there are enough other people here who know why it's not worth it to take a QB that early to make the points I think.


If you took Rodgers/Brees in the first round last year, you got more return on your investment than if you took Turner, Forte, DeAngelo, LT, SJax, Larry Fitz, etc.

If you think you have some argument that definitively proves the relative ineffectiveness of a QB in the first round, you are simply wrong. It's just opinions, philosophies, and rolling the dice.
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