Draft Strategy: Does Zero-RB Work? – By Richard King

Following on from the article previously posted on ATFP (link here) and a lot of Twitter discussion with people stating zero-RB doesn’t work, I thought I’d give it a stab to see how this strategy would pan out. The reason is that generally you need to be flexible with your draft strategy, the theory of zero RB can work; especially in a PPR format where the value of pass catching RBs increases.

So being the scientific type of person I am I went and used the drafting tool from the Fantasy Footballers at http://draft.thefantasyfootballers.com/simulator/. Additionally, it gives you a mock-draft grade from each of the guys after.

My starting lineup for this was:

1x QB, 2x RB, 3x WR, 1x TE, 1x RB/WR Flex, 1x DST, 1x K, 6x Bench

I randomized my starting position in a 12 team, 0.5 PPR league and got the 5 spot. For each of my drafts I drafted from this spot to make it an accurate scientific test.

I did three drafts, each with a separate strategy:

  • ‘Zero RB’ – defined as taking my first RB in the 5th round
  • ‘Normal’ – taking the best available player
  • ‘Zero WR’ – going RB-RB in the opening rounds

My teams ended up as:

Draft board

The teams are quite similar in that a lot of my later round picks are similar, which I would attribute to an unconscious bias towards those players.

For the zero-RB case study, I drafted Rodgers early at QB. Generally, I normally wait at QB and this is shown in the other draft results. The zero-RB strategy as I understand/view it, is that I need to try and make my team better at every other position if I can. This is because I know my RBs are going to drag me (at least for the opening weeks); therefore aiming for a marquee player like Rodgers at QB or Gronk at TE in the 3rd round, anyone else just doesn’t cut it as one of those tier breaking elite talents.

The mock-draft ratings for each strategy are shown below:


So the ‘best’ team I drafted was actually the Zero-RB team, albeit marginally. Which contradicts the popular opinion. Personally I think that all 3 teams are decent and I’d be happy to enter the season with them. Ultimately what I’ve found is that the Zero RB strategy is just that, a strategy for dealing with what you have been dealt in the draft.


  • A Zero-RB strategy is only even conceivable if you are in any kind of PPR scoring. If you aren’t, then you lose far too much in the yards that they gain in every rush.
  • Don’t enter the draft saying ‘I’m going Zero-RB’. Just know that if you end up having to go that way it really isn’t the end of the world
  • Have fun with it!

If you have any questions about what I have done then feel free to hit me up on Twitter @excelgeek

By Richard King – @excelgeek


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