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Lessons Learned from 2015 by a Former STUD RB Theorist
By Michael Nazarek
I first started FFMastermind.com back in 1996, I was probably
one of the biggest believers in the STUD RB Theory.
Draft RBs (multiple ones) early and you can't go wrong. Well, things
have certainly changed in the past 20 years. Depending upon scoring
rules, I now have no problems taking a tight end like TE Rob Gronkowski
with my first pick. Heck in most PPR leagues, I will target an elite
WR or Gronk before I grab my first RB with only a few exceptions.
This is what I've learned throughout the years, and let me tell you
2015 was a doozie for STUD RBs!
The More Things Develop, the More Things Change, but the NFL is a Cycle.
The NFL is a "copy-me" league with the have-nots doing all they can to copy the haves. It used to be that a championship team would roll with their STUD RB and win along with good defense. And that can still happen, but it's no longer the norm. Most good teams have multiple quality RBs and like to use a 1-2 punch to wear down opponents. There are also many teams that actually use their running game to set up the pass. Think Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in recent years. But that doesn't mean things won't revert back, since once most teams copy each other, wins will be tougher to come by. Last year's champion, the Denver Broncos, had quite a bit of trouble throwing the football with an again Manning and such. They won primarily with defense and a good running game late in the season. Anyway, let's take a look at what 2015 meant for fantasy football. I'll start with the QB position....
Drafting a QB Early is No Sure Thing.
Most people had QB Andrew Luck and QB Aaron Rodgers atop their rankings. If one of them slid into the 3rd or 4th round of a draft, you thought you got a real steal if you drafted him. Injuries and inconsistency really plagued fantasy owners that went that route in these two cases. Heck, it may have killed you in the case of Luck if you waited to take your backup QB until the latter portion of your draft. And of course, many fantasy owners also didn't hesitate to draft QB Drew Brees or QB Ben Roethlisberger fairly early as well. That didn't turn out so well, eh? Hey! At least I had Brees ranked fairly low! On the flip side, there was surprises like QB Blake Bortles and QB Carson Palmer. Their fantasy owners likely drafted them in the mid-to-late rounds of their draft and smiled all the way to the bank. And then there were guys like QB Derek Carr and QB Kirk Cousins, whom both threw for 30 TDs. In many leagues, they might not have even been drafted. What does that say about the QB position in 2016? Well, let's just say that outside of QB Cam Newton, whom gets WR Kelvin Benjamin back, I'd hold off on drafting my QB until the middle rounds of most fantasy drafts. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is a perfect example of a value pick, a journeyman whom threw for 31 TDs and rushed for 2 more himself. I'm not saying he will do it again (well, he must first re-sign with the Jets to even have a chance), but there is certainly value at this position, so taking two solid options in the middle rounds (I did this in the FF Index Mock Draft with Bortles and Stafford), seems like the smart way to go.
Only Bell-Cow RBs in the First Rounds of Your Draft.
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