NFL Fantasy Football season is almost upon us!
While we are still a few weeks away from fantasy drafts, it’s never too early to start researching and prioritizing players — and one of the biggest questions that fantasy players will face this year is where to draft running backs and which ones to draft. ESPN Fantasy Football 2017
That may not be exactly what you want to hear, but allow me to break down why multiple variables within you draft will influence where you draft running backs and the value they provide.
NFL Fantasy Football Draft
Most players draft running backs whether they are playing in a standard league, PPR league, or even a best ball draft, and that is a costly mistake. Be sure to research what type of league you’re playing in, as well as the scoring breakdown.
Why this matters: I’ve seen too many players go heavy on running backs the first three rounds, only to realize they are playing in a PPR league and pass by wide receiver that consistently deliver more points through receptions.
Same goes for scoring. If your league scoring dictates that touchdowns are only worth four points, and you select one running back over another purely on touchdown volume, you’re overlooking reception value that could hurt you through the season.
t was only a year ago that many players resisted drafting a running back simply because the NFL is currently a passing league, and too many players were involved in an RBBC (Running Back By Committee).
As the 2016 season played out, feature backs like David Johnson, Le’veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott proved their worth not only from a carries standpoint, but with receiving yards as well.
Here is a breakdown of 2016’s Fantasy Point Totals (PPR Standard) according to Fantasy Pros:
David Johnson: 407.8 16 Games
Ezekiel Elliott: 325.4 15 Games
Le’veon Bell: 317.4 12 Games
Antonio Brown: 307.3 15 Games
Jordy Nelson: 304.7 16 Games
Mike Evans: 304.1 16 Games
LeSean McCoy: 299.3 15 Games
Odell Beckham Jr.: 296.6 16 Games
DeMarco Murray: 293.8 16 Games
Devonta Freeman: 284.1 16 Games
T.Y. Hilton: 273.8 16 Games
Drafting running backs in 2017
As we creep up to the 2017 fantasy football season, the most abundant depth positions are wide receiver and quarterback.
The majority of players will want to jump on running backs early. While we already know that Johnson, Bell, and Elliott (pending any type of suspension) will probably go in the top few picks, players like Devonta Freeman, LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard, and DeMarco Murray are going early-to-mid second round.
Overall running back draft strategy
Drafting a running back in 2017 is really going to depend on your draft position and the current situation of your draft as stated above.
If you see running backs going extremely early, focus more on a top wide receiver that you wouldn’t normally have a chance at your current pick.
This theory should also be applied in reverse.
If an extraordinary amount of top wide receivers come off the board in the first round, keep an eye out for running backs that may have been passed up for maximum value.
While this piece may not provide you with a definitive answer on when to draft a running back in your fantasy football draft, it does highlight what you need to pay attention to when adding the most amount of value for your fantasy football draft.
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