RB Early Draft Plan

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

In this article I want to illustrate to you not only what a running back early draft plan looks like, but also why it is one I personally like to attack in drafts year after year. Now don’t worry this is isn’t going to be some 15-minute read, I will just highlight the key points and objectives of using this strategy. I will then discuss three mocks I have completed using this very strategy to show you what your team could look like from various draft positions (early, middle, late). Then at the end I will reveal to you where this strategy is best utilized in terms of your draft spot.


The reason for using the RB Early strategy during drafts is quite simple. We all know the RB position isn’t nearly as deep or valuable as the wide receiver position, which means talent dries up fast on draft day. So, with that said we must hit the position early and often. In normal 16 round drafts the goal is to be done with the position by round 9. Now that may sound crazy to you but as you will see in the below mocks it isn’t that difficult to pull off while still building strong position groups elsewhere on your team. Now the one negative some may find in deploying this strategy is you likely will miss out on those top 12 wide receivers. This may be looked at as a negative, but like I stated above the position is deep and unbelievably valuable, so this missing out on the top wide outs won’t be damning to your team. Now let’s start looking at the rosters I have built deploying this strategy. I would also like to point out in all these mocks it will be clear how I used our famed “Old and Fruitful” strategy when it came to quarterback, and also our philosophy on when it is time to go after the tight end position.

Roster Make Up:

For this example of a 16 round draft I was drafting to fill the following weekly starting line up:

1.) QB

2.) RB

3.) WR

1.) TE

1.) FLX (RB, WR, TE)

1.) K

1.) Def

6.) Bench Spots

RB Early from Early Draft Spot:

For this part of the draft I was drafting out of the 3rd spot in a standard 12 team PPR league. Below you can see how my team looked after 16 rounds of using this strategy as well as our PPR rankings.

Starting Line Up:

QB.) Daniel Jones

RB.) Saquon Barkley

RB.) Aaron Jones

WR.) D.K. Metcalf

WR.) Hollywood Brown

WR.) Diontae Johnson

FLX.) Melvin Gordon

TE.) Hunter Henry

K.) Zane Gonzalez

DEF.) Patriots

As you can see from the above mock I lucked out a bit as our projected and ranked RB1 fell to me at three in Saquon Barkley. I was able to take two more solid top fifteen running backs right behind him in Aaron Jones(10th Ranked) and Melvin Gordon(15th Ranked). I then focus on my wide receiver position with the next three picks, nabbing three top thirty wide outs in Metcalf(17th ranked), Hollywood(29th ranked), and Diontae(28th ranked). Now if you know me you know I was reluctant to reach for Johnson in the sixth, but I was ok with it since I already locked up three solid backs. Then I nab another top eighteen running back in the seventh in Cam Akers (17th ranked). Tight ends began to fly off the board so I knew it was time to lock one up myself and I take a top eight option in Hunter Henry. Definitely not wild about the pick, but he will be serviceable. Quarterback I address in the tenth by taking Danny Dimes, who I then backup in the thirteenth with another QB I am high on in Baker(12th ranked). At wide out I add depth with two rookies in Jeudy(42nd ranked) and Pittman Jr.(36th ranked). I want to point out I took Jeudy before Pittman because I knew from ADP that Pittman would likely still be there in the eleventh. Then I address kicker and defense at the end of the draft taking NE(6th ranked) and Gonzalez(4th ranked).

RB Early from Middle Draft Spot:

For this part of the draft I was drafting out of the 6th spot.

Starting Line Up:

QB.) Carson Wentz

RB.) Dalvin Cook

RB.) Josh Jacobs

WR.) Adam Thielen

WR.) Hollywood Brown

WR.) Jalen Reagor

FLX.) Melvin Gordon

TE.) Hayden Hurst

K.) Justin Tucker

DEF.) Chiefs

Now one thing should stand out right away to you compared to the first mock, and that is I didn't go three straight RB's. After starting the draft with two top twelve backs in Cook(5th) and Jacobs(12th) I wanted to go with value, so I did by grabbing a top twelve wide out in Thielen(9th). I then hold true to my RB Early Strategy and select two more RB’s with my next two picks in Gordon(15th) and Taylor(16th), both who are top sixteen backs in our rankings. I then go wide out with five of my next seven picks. All these wide outs are top fifty-two options at the position, so again you can see how deep the value is at the position, Hollywood(29th), Reagor(37th), Williams(50th), Hardman(52nd), and Pittman Jr.(36th). Mixed into these wide outs I select my TE in the seventh round, taking Hayden Hurst (7th ranked), who I love this season. I also add my QB in the ninth round taking Carson Wentz (9 ranked), who I also love. I then grab our #1 ranked Kicker in the fifteenth in Justin Tucker. Before closing out my draft with our #9 ranked defense in the Chiefs.

RB Early from Late Draft Spot:

For this part of the draft I was drafting out of the 11th spot.

Starting Line Up:

QB.) Brady

RB.) Joe Mixon

RB.) Clyde Edwards-Helaire

WR.) Adam Thielen

WR.) Hollywood Brown

WR.) Jarvis Landry

FLX.) Melvin Gordon

TE.) Hayden Hurst

K.) Matt Gay

DEF.) Buccaneers

In this mock I return to that three straight RB strategy selecting two top ten backs in Mixon(6th) and CEH(9th). I then grab Gordon(15th) for the third straight mock, highlighting I must really like the value he presents us this season. I then won’t select my fourth RB until the 8th round where I select Hunt(28th). Before Hunt I select three straight WR’s in Thielen(9th), Landry(25th), and Hollywood(29th), who like Gordon, I have drafted in every mock highlighting his value. I take Hurst(7th) again for my TE in the seventh round. I then take Brady(10th) in the tenth round and Stafford(15th) in the thirteenth round to back him up. I add WR depth between rounds nine and twelve selecting Ruggs(45th), Aiyuk(55th), and Lazard(59th). I then close out draft selecting my defense in the fifteenth (TB), and then my kicker in the sixteenth, Matt Gay(3rd).


Deploying this RB Early Plan from the front of drafts netted us the following:

· 4 RB’s (3- top 15 ranked and 1- 17th ranked)

· 6 WR’s (5- top 42 ranked and 1 – 65th ranked)

· 2 TE’s (Both top 12 ranked)

· 2 QB’s (Both top 12 ranked)

· 1 top 6 ranked defense

· 1 top 4 ranked kicker

Deploying this RB Early Plan from the middle of drafts netted us the following:

· 4 RB’s (4 top 16 ranked)

· 6 WR’s (1- top 12 ranked, 3 more top 37 ranked, and 2 more top 52 ranked )

· 2 TE’s (1- top 7 ranked and 1 ranked top 14)

· 2 QB’s (Both top 12 ranked)

· 1 top 9 ranked defense

· 1 top ranked kicker

Deploying this RB Early Plan from the end of drafts netted us the following:

· 4 RB’s (3 top 15 ranked and 1 more 28th)

· 6 WR’s (1- top 12 ranked, 3 more top 45 ranked, and 2 more top 59 ranked )

· 2 TE’s (1- top 7 ranked and 1 ranked top 15)

· 2 QB’s (1 top10 and 1 top 15 ranked)

· 1 top 7 ranked defense

· 1 top 3 ranked kicker

We can see in all these mocks some similarities. The first similarity we see is roster make up is all the same for each. We see four running backs that were all selected before the eighth round, and apart from Hunt, who were inside the top seventeen in our rankings. We see six wide receivers in each mock who offer great value and upside, which makes this strategy extremely effective throughout all draft positions. Each team has two tight ends and quarterbacks who are mostly inside the top 10-12 of their position. So to answer the question as to which draft position is best to utilize this draft plan I say all draft spots are viable to deploy. We as owners just must be able to roll with the flow of the draft and be able to adapt our strategy if need be. Because as we all know all drafts never go according to plan. However, I use this strategy more than any other, because like I stated above, the position dries up quick, and I find a team that’s built with top ranked backs always seems to be in contention for a championship.