This article stems from this quote in a thread here at fantasysharks.com in the main tank: “The bolded part is key to me this year. I am a firm believer this year that the Top 36 running backs are key to this year’s draft. I want three of those 36. I’m not particular about how I get those three, but that is the focus of the first 4-5 rounds for me. If during a draft I feel I can snag other guys and stretch that to the fifth or sixth rounds, then great. If not, I think that focusing on that gives me the flexibility later on to grab guys at value. When I look at quarterback and wide receiver I see lots of guys I’m OK with after Rounds 6-7. When I’m looking at running back that is not the case this year at all.”
I was asked to expand on this a little so here it is. First of all, I pulled the No. 36 as a reference and hadn’t given a lot of thought to the actual number. As I was looking at the rankings on our very own site’s front page, I realized that that could be cut down to as much as 32, but 36 would be OK. I choose this range because after this I’m just not comfortable counting on many of the guys after that as an RB3 on my team. Looking at those 32-36 players I discovered that the majority of them were gone somewhere in the Top 80 picks of drafts according to the average draft positions on myfantasyleague.com. A few were lasting as far as 100. That told me that my guess of the top seven rounds was fairly accurate.
I figured the best idea was to take this strategy and try to implement it in a few drafts. Knowing that any strategy can be affected by where you draft in the first round, I did three mocks – one with a Top 4 pick, one from the middle, and one at the end. These are the results with comments click on the “draft” to go to the link:
Draft 1 <—- A few running backs did last longer than I expected. I could have grabbed someone else when I grabbed my third running back. In the end, though, I ended up with what I feel is a strong team with four of those running backs. I’m happy with my wide receivers and OK with my quarterbacks. I have enough depth, I think, to be OK at all positions.
Draft 2 <—- I feel a little weaker at both running back and wide receiver on this one, but overall I think it would be OK. I would have gone wide receiver in Round 1 here had any of those Top 3 made it to me, but overall I’m happy with this team as well. Again I ended up with four of the running backs so I could have possibly swapped out one of those running back picks for another position, but I feel this worked out again even drafting at the end of Round 1.
Draft 3 <—– I’m feeling good about this team as well. My Top 3 running backs and wide receivers are strong, a strong quarterback, strong tight end. A well-balanced team. A little weak at WR4 but that’s OK. I waited a little longer on running back this time and I think came out with three stronger wide receivers by doing so. Again actually got four out of that original 32-36 running back list, because a few guys dropped a lot further than I’d expect.
Overall, I think this is a strong strategy. Of course some guys drafted might move, and might change the outlook of these three teams. I think going with a wide receiver earlier then a quarterback might be better than doing it the other way around like I did. If you have a strategy you like better I urge you to put it through a test and let us know how it works. Maybe I’ll see yours and tweak mine a little.