RB Is Overrated

Coming into this year, just like every year before it, fantasy football experts preached to take running backs early.  “The position is so shallow!  After about 20 running backs you really cannot count on anyone”.  We continue to listen to these “experts”, and personally I am breaking away from this trend.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s take a look…


looking at fantasy pro’s average draft positions (ADP) before the start of the regular season, 13 of the first 20 picks were running backs.  So in standard 10-team leagues, the first 2 rounds accounted for 65% of the picks to go to running backs.  This is exactly what is expected since almost every fantasy analyst on any major sports news network preached.  But how are those 13 running backs doing?

Top 10 at the position- Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte,  Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch.

so 6 of the first 13 running backs make up the top 10 after 4 weeks?  Not bad.  And when looking at the depth of the position, its clear that after 25-30 running backs its really hard to feel confident you will get any production on a weekly basis.

But then why am I advocating to avoid this running back hype?

Because I don’t feel as if you should be forced to be taking a running back in the first round.  Hell, you shouldn’t be forced to take anyone you don’t want, its fantasy football.  It’s a game.  But if I’m going to try to give you my fantasy expert advice, I’ll try my best here…

Players fall in drafts.  In my league I had the 5th pick and took Calvin Johnson.  I was set going into it that I was taking him because Calvin Johnson is as sure of a thing at the position.  I wanted another WR like Dez Bryant or AJ Green to fall to me in the 2nd, but that didn’t happen.  People started taking WRs earlier than I anticipated, but that was alright because Jamaal Charles fell to me.  I grabbed the #1 receiver and a running back with #1 potential.  The thing is, running backs are so unpredictable and aside from kickers and defenses they are the least reliable fantasy commodity.

Look at it this way.  Players will fall in drafts.  So in the first round, do you want to have your choice of a potential top 5 running back, or your choice of a top 5 WR then be handed the leftovers at RB?  People cannot predict running backs, but wide receivers are much easier to predict.  So my theory is, take the guy you have more confidence in to be a top player at that position.  That would have been Adrian Peterson with my first pick, and Calvin Johnson 2nd.

What if running backs don’t fall and you are sitting there with a WR and no RB to take unless you want to reach?

Don’t reach unless you are in love with a player.  Take the next best WR on the board, or take a QB.  What if you reached for Steven Ridley in the 2nd round?  Your team would probably be screwed at this point.

To summarize, running back is unpredictable.  Do not take a player you don’t feel confident in.  Don’t reach in drafts.  And honestly, take the player you love over the guy experts are telling you to take.  Fantasy football is fun because you get to cheer on your team.  And as smart as these experts might be, they don’t know….but I might.


Ryan Jackson

About Ryan Jackson

My name is Ryan Jackson and I love fantasy sports. I graduated from the University of Maine in 2014 with a degree in Journalism, and I am now a graduate student at Quinnipiac University working on a sports journalism degree.