We kicked off this new series of articles by first looking at the quarterback position. I outlined the two rules I like to use during drafts to ensure that our teams have the makings of a very dominant team. Today we are going to continue our Draft Day Beast Series by looking at the rules I like to follow on draft day when it comes to the running back position. Essentially, when looking at the running back position I am following two simple rules on draft day and we will begin with rule number one.
The first rule I follow on draft day that I find to be crucial when looking at the running back position is be sure to draft one top ten running back. This is very important in constructing a competitive team. So, when we look at the top ten RB’s coming off the board according to ADP (NFFC ADP) we find McCaffrey, Barkley, Elliott, Kamara, Cook, Edwards-Helaire, Henry, Sanders, Mixon, and Drake. All of these players listed have a first round ADP. I would agree with all but Kenyan Drake being a top ten back. In fact, we at The Elite Fantasy have Kenyan Drake coming into 2020 ranked as our RB12, making him a second round target. With Drake removed from this group of top ten, let me reorder the backs in the order I would target in the first round, Barkley, McCaffrey, Zeke, Kamara, Cook, Mixon, Henry, Sanders, and Edwards-Helaire. My goal on draft day will be to land one of these backs. If you are unable to land one of these nine my tenth ranked running back can be had in the second, Josh Jacobs.
Now that we have rule one secured with our top ten back we can now look at rule number two when it comes to the running back position, and that is be sure to draft four running backs before you get to the tenth round. So with the top ten back locked up we are already a quarter of the way to this goal. The key to this rule is to stay flexible round to round and not be locked into that mindset of needing four straight backs, because that is not what the rule is telling us. The rule states have four running backs by the tenth round not the fifth round. In fact, another rule I like to follow on draft day is draft for value in the first five rounds; which means we are looking for value through the first 50 picks in 10 teamers, first 60 picks in 12 teamers, and first 70 picks in 14 teamers. When executing this rule I am very successful and good at looking for value as I work my way through the middle rounds of drafts, and this is what we will do as we look for three more backs to round out our RB stable.
Let us start in the second round where ADP has Aaron Jones, Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, and Nick Chubb being taken. This ADP would suggest Jones is the RB11, Jacobs RB12, Ekeler RB13, and Chubb RB14. We at The Elite Fantasy have them ranked as followed Jacobs (RB10), Jones (RB11), Ekeler (RB14), and Chubb (RB15). I actually have Melvin Gordon, who has a third round ADP ahead of both Ekeler and Chubb as my RB13. So, realistically, knowing how deep the WR position is, I could go RB with my first three picks. In fact, I have gone Cook, Jacobs, and Gordon with my first three picks many times this season in drafts, which mean I’m three quarters of the way to completing this goal.
Round three ADP has another six backs flying off the board in Conner, Gordon, Gurley, Fournette, Bell, and the rookie Taylor in that order as backs 15-20. The only ones we are looking at in this range are Gordon (RB13), Taylor (RB16), Conner (RB18), and Bell (RB19), as Fournette (RB24) and Gurley (RB23) offer zero value to our teams in the third round. Round four ADP has Chris Carson and David Johnson coming off the board next. Carson (RB20) would be the target here out of these two, but I would actually target a back here who we have ranked as RB17 with an ADP of 55, making him a fifth round pick. The back I would go after a round early is rookie Cam Akers. We are very high on Akers and his likely big role in this Rams attack. Not to mention Akers is much more appealing than the other backs with similar fifth round ADP (Singletary, Mostert, Hunt, Ingram, and Swift). I would rank this fifth round as Akers, Ingram, Hunt, Swift, and Mostert.
Round six, we see Ronald Jones and the rookie Dobbins with ADP’s making them RB30 and RB31. That is too rich for me, as Dobbins only becomes a value in the eighth round. Ronald Jones more of a seventh round target. Round seven ADP has White as RB32, Mack as RB33, and Cohen as RB34. Mack is severely overpriced here and is more of a tenth round back in my eyes. Cohen and White are the big values in this round as they are our RB28 and RB30 respectively. Round eight and nine ADP has Howard, Breida, Lindsay, Mattison, Coleman, Moss, Kerryon, and Latavius Murray, as RB’s 35-42. The only back I would target in this range is rookie Zack Moss who is our RB40, and for that Cook owner Mattison of course. I would not bat an eye at taking Moss in the eighth round ahead of his ninth round ADP. I would also not hesitate to take rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn in this range either, as his tenth round ADP is a value.
So, as you can see each round offers nice value at the position for you to navigate and work as you build a strong team. Like I mentioned before the key is being able to one stay flexible, and two be able to recognize value as you work through the draft. With taking a top ten back right out of the gate it allows you to be more flexible as the draft goes deeper. In addition, by taking three more backs before you reach the tenth you are securing a strong RB stable early enough in drafts, that you are still able to build high upside depth at other positions, such as WR that is full of nice high upside late round talent. In fact, the next article in this series will look at the rule to follow in drafts that has to do with this exact topic of high upside players.