The Myth of the Stud Running Back

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Your season depends on the success of your initial draft picks. Those first few rounds produce the core of your team and dictate how you acquire the rest of your starters. For many years, this meant blindly taking running backs because they were high scoring, consistent and low risk. Plus you needed two and everyone else chased them like they were $100 bills blowing down the street.

But much like rewinding your VHS rentals, time has passed the Stud Running Back Theory. Blindly grabbing early running backs is now a myth that hurts far too many teams.

There are two reasons why loading up first on rushers   is questionable at best. First, the scoring of wide receivers increased in recent seasons to the point where they rival the value of running backs. In leagues that use a reception point, wideouts actually score better than running backs, especially after the top 20 players from each position are taken. And you start at least as many wideouts as you do running backs and probably more.

Secondly – and more importantly – running backs are no longer the core of an offense and rarely end up with 20+ carries each week. NFL offenses are more pass-oriented and often employ a committee approach with running backs. Two-down backs advance the ball; short yardage specialists run near the goal line and third down backs catch a pass or stop a blitz. Worse yet, the overall consistency for the position continues to decline every year.

The reality of those initial picks is that no matter which position you select, you cannot get them wrong. You need players that meet expectations. To draw a flop in those initial rounds puts your team at a huge disadvantage that cannot be countered merely with crafty free agent moves.  Wait, you know a few sleepers in middle rounds that can save your team! Yeah but so does the guy who picks right before you in every round.

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