Fantasy owners have become used to the idea that awesome QBs and wideouts score a lot of points and, thus, are worth picks in the first couple of rounds. They can be, but running backs are still kings as long as we're all starting only one passer and WR is so deep.
1) Don't expect to find good RBs on the wire
Megatron not Prime candidate
Alfonso Smith? No thanks. Derrick Coleman? Thought he retired from the NBA years ago. Cripes, I'm sitting on Felix Jones in one league.
I could have tried to grab any of a couple of QBs, a dozen receivers and a few tight ends this past week. In most cases, I didn't have much of a need, or anyplace to put them. I might have tried to find room if a sweet back fell through the cracks, though.
Yes, someone will hit the mother lode with a pseudo-scrub rusher. No, part of your preseason strategy shouldn't be to hope that person is you. Your team is one of eight, 10, 12, 14 or more. Like those odds, do you? That's not exactly a sound attempt to control as much as you can control.
And so. ...
2) Next time, aim to draft RBs
It's awfully tempting to take Calvin Johnson in the first round. He's probably the most gifted receiver in the game, and that's saying a lot.
If, however, you don't take a ball carrier in the first round, you need to take one to your liking in the second, third and/or fourth. (Which is easier to do at a turn than it is near the middle.) Or to hit the jackpot on a couple of your mid-round or late-round sleepers. What if you're not the only one who wants those players? Because that never happens.
Inflation causes overvaluation of players at any position every once in a while. You should never be 100 percent committed to any draft strategy. But you better have a good alternative if you have trouble putting together a stable of horses you like.
3) Evaluation of RBs is an essential skill
It's way more important than the evaluation of any other position. Don't take any of them for granted. Ball carriers bust or burn out most often and most easily.
Your league can't eliminate you from the playoffs because you rode four outstanding wide receivers, Peyton Manning and Rob Gronkowski to the Super Bowl. You don't have to bring back the RB-RB-RB strategy in order to adhere.
But to win consistently -- as close to annually as possible -- you need to dissect all the running backs as well as to get a feel for the pool as a whole. Which are nearer to a breakdown than most realize? Which are more prepared to handle the rigors of the position than most think? What do they eat for breakfast? Do they have pets? What are their credit scores?
When you figure out all this info, you should have a lucid picture of the year's crop. (It also helps if you're willing to let them convince you to change your opinions of them.) You know just whom to draft and when. Just as important: You know whom not to draft and when.
You may even discover that most RBs aren't worth the trouble. That's fine, too. It's better to know ahead of time if there's justification to go top-heavy at other positions. Regardless of what you decide, you're always prepared to deal with the toughest position to fill.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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