With the Fantasy Football Mock Season in full swing, I’m on meltdown with the number I’ve done this week while on vacation. The Zero Running Back Strategy (wait on running backs) is all the rage so I thought I'd gve it a try.
The draft was a 12-team with standard scoring (non-PPR) using the Fantasy Pros Mock Draft Simulator, so do not expect any unexpected moves unless they are mine. I picked fourth but will be drafting from each draft spot for the purpose of these articles until the actual football season begins. This draft is the usual format with one QB, two RB, three WR, one TE, K, Defense, and I added a Flex position as well to the draft (RB,WR,TE).
1.4 Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, Giants): There were three stud running backs with Todd Gurley, David Johnson and Adrian Peterson in the pool. But, this is Zero Running Back (ZRB) so I was thrilled getting my second-ranked WR. Antonio Brown and Julio Jones were the first two picks.
2.9 Alshon Jeffery (WR, Bears): It was a bit too early to take Amari Cooper. Doug Martin was available but ZRB it is. Jeffery is now the number one target in the Windy City.
3.4 Keenan Allen (WR, Chargers): I absolutely love getting Allen here. Last year, before he went down for the season, Allen was leading the league in receiving. With Philip Rivers at the helm, there's no reason they can't pick up where they left off.
4.9 Greg Olsen (TE, Panthers): Either Olsen or Travis Kelce was the call as ZRB dictated passing on Matt Forte. Olsen was the leading receiver on a very prolific Panther offense looking to redeem the Super Bowl loss.
5.4 Michael Floyd (WR, Cardinals): As tempting as Dree Brees was, let's stick to the plan. Floyd really lit it up the last six weeks of the 2015 regular season for the powerhouse Cardinals offense. Look for Floyd to carry that over, generating a 82/1115/11TD slash line.
6.9 Carson Palmer (QB, Cardinals): Now I have the Cards' chicken/rib combo. Palmer is the team leader, again looking to take Arizona to the promised land. The road certainly is going to be tough in the NFC West.
7.4 Jeremy Langford (RB, Bears): - Finally, a running back. I’m not patient and waiting was tough, but I really like Langford as the lead back in the Second City after taking the reigns from long-time mainstay Matt Forte.
8.9 Ameer Abdullah (RB, Lions): Karlos Williams and Gio Bernard were available but Abdullah is the Bell Cow in Detroit. Look for a big bounce back from the lone Lions speedster behind an improving offensive line.
9.4 Danny Woodhead (RB, Chargers): Absolutely love getting Woodhead in this spot! Until Melvin Gordon cures his acute case of fumbleitis, Woodhead will remain relevant even in Standard Scoring Leagues. Note, the diminuative scrambler will really earn his paycheck in PPR Leagues with his excellent pass catching ability and Rivers throwing all over the field again this season.
10.9 Rashad Jennings (RB, Giants): ZRB means loading up with running backs late. Jennings will be splitting time again in the Giants backfield with Shane Vereen, Joe Morris, David Wilson, Frank Gifford, and Y.A. Tittle. Health will be the key for playing time with Jennings and the entire Giants backfield.
11.4 Jordan Howard (RB, Bears): Grabbing the handcuff to Jeremy Langford seemed like a logical choice especially since the wide receiver pool was looking bleak. Howard will have to earn his time as a rookie but at least an injury to Langford is covered.
12.9 Arizona Defense: The Cards ranked third in defensive scoring last year and have finished inside the top-10 the last four seasons. Arizona defends the run and pass well, ranking sixth in total run defense and eighth in total pass defense. Arizona also added bulldozing pass-rusher Chandler Jones in a trade with the Patriots and drafted DE Robert Nkemdiche,
13.4 Kamar Aiken (WR, Ravens): Last season, Aiken stepped up admirably after Steve Smith went down with a ruptured Achilles, grabbing 29 more balls than the next best pass catcher over the second half. While the Ravens added deep threat Mike Wallace and tight end Ben Watson, Aiken's numbers are dependent on the health of Joe Flacco and possible injuries to Smith and the others. Breshard Perriman is already dinged up, clearing Aikens’ path to playing time.
14.9 Wendall Smallwood (RB, Eagles): The rookie speedster is not only impressing coaches, but teammates as well. Given the fragile limbs of starter Ryan Mathews, Smallwood could already be lined up for quality snaps.
15.4 Sammie Coates (WR, Steelers): With Martavius Bryant suspended all season, rookie Coates could see early snaps in the gunning Steelers offense. Antonio Brown is the consenus top overall pick while third year Marcus Wheaton still needs to prove his chops. Coates could benefit if Wheaton slips up.
16.4 Blair Walsh (K, Vikings): Walsh is regularly among the leaders in 50 yard field goals, he just hasn't had as many overall opportunities as other kickers. The Vikes are improving their offense which should result in more field goal tries for Walsh.
Summary: Well, after holding out on running backs as long as I could without being institutionalized, I’m pretty happy with this team. I locked in some solid top end receivers and plenty of running backs with number one potential. The rookies I grabbed are a crap shoot, but again all rookies are, and Coates, Smallwood and Howard do possess huge upside and are an injury away from major playing time. My receivers are amazing and could carry me deep into a playoff run, but Langford and Abdullah could be the key to a title.