My newest article gives a zero RB strategy to a dynasty startup mock. Early in my dynasty experience, I learned that taking elite running backs in the startup draft matters less. This is especially true for Superflex/TE premium leagues which is the coming norm for the dynasty. I did a 15-round dynasty mock draft in a 12-team league and took my first running back in the eighth round of the draft. I will explain each of the 15 rounds, which players could have been available, and why I chose who I chose.
Round 1 (1.07) – Justin Hebert, QB LAC
Potential options: Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence & Lamar Jackson
I made it slightly more complicated to do the zero RB strategy sitting at the seventh seed. Fortunately, I was gifted with Hebert falling due to Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase going ahead. I’d never take a running back in the first round; I’d always go quarterback or receiver in any Superflex league. The reason because quarterbacks have a six to ten-year window to production, and receivers have a four to six-year window. Running backs have more of a two to four-year window, and with a first-round pick doesn’t make sense.
Round 2 (2.06) – Tyreek Hill, WR MIA
Potential options: Amon-Ra St.Brown, Austin Ekeler, Kenneth Walker
In round two, I had two outstanding running backs to select, Ekeler and Walker. Ekeler would have been solid, but he is getting older and exploring a new team. Walker is my RB1 in dynasty right now, and if I were going Hero dynasty RB, he would be my choice in this round. I decided to select Hill and the explosive offense he is a part of. He is a solid WR1 to have in fantasy over the next few seasons.
Round 3 (3.07) – Garrett Wilson, WR NYJ
Potential options: Travis Kelce, Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris
In the third round, I had choices to make as Kelce is a game changer at this position, even in his middle 30s. I also had another opportunity to draft two strong running backs to add to my team. Jacobs is on the wrong side of 25 for my liking, and Harris is 25 years old already and likely has only two more years of elite opportunity. Wilson was the obvious choice, with Aaron Rodgers hoping by the time you read this article will be a Jet. Wilson gives me a solid young receiver to pair with an elite stud in Hill.
Round 4 (4.06) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB MIA
Potential options: TJ Hockenson, Rhomondre Stevenson
If you can make it out of round four without taking a running back, then you’ll be fine over the next few rounds. There is no point in reaching for a running back and continuing to build the rest of your team with depth and future value. In Superflex, Tua makes so much sense as a QB2 for a fantasy team. Yes, he comes with his risk, but when he is healthy and on the field, he has QB1 upside to his game. Plus, the bonus of pairing him with Hill.
Round 5 (5.07) – Michael Pittman Jr., WR IND
Potential options: Dameon Pierce, Chris Godwin, George Pickens
The fifth round was an easy decision to continue my zero RB approach as Pierce was the best available option, and his role could change dramatically in 2023 if the Texans add to their depth chart. In this type of league, where you have to start three receivers and or multiple flex options, getting receivers is essential. Pittman is still a young receiver getting into his prime, just needing a young talented quarterback to throw him the ball, and he has little competition around him, too.
Round 6 (6.06) – Terry McLaurin, WR WAS
Potential options: Rachaad White, Dallas Geodert, Calvin Ridley
Another round where taking a running back doesn’t make much sense. Goedert was an exciting option, but I’d rather have a receiver who will likely get me 130 targets over the next few seasons. He’ll be a solid WR3 or flex option on a team, especially with the receivers I took ahead of him. The value of a guy like White is exciting but does that offense still score, and can Baker Mayfield lead that team?
Round 7 (7.07) – Dalton Schultz , TE Free Agent
Potential options: Aaron Jones, Cam Akers, Diontae Johnson
Here is where I scooped up my starting tight end. Everyone has different opinions on Schultz, but he is one of the better tight ends in the league. He is a free agent but will link up with a team soon. He is entering his prime at 27 and should be a mid-range TE1 for many years. Jones could have been a good RB1, but I’m concerned about how this offense looks without Rodgers. Akers looked better at the end of the season, but that Rams’ team is a mess right now. Round seven would be the earliest to take a running back based on current values.
Round 8 (8.06) – Brian Robinson, RB WAS
Potential options: Tyler Allgeier, AJ Dillion, Zek Elliott
Finally! My first running back in this zero RB strategy is Robinson. He was somewhat disappointing in 2022 but had a reason for it. Robinson will be the main early down back for this Commanders team, likely using a young quarterback in Sam Howell for 2023. Is Robinson an RB1? No, he isn’t, but he should provide enough weekly fantasy output to mix with the rest of my strong team. That’s what you are hoping for with this strategy a running back that can get you ten fantasy points most weeks. Allgeier was something else I highly considered and should have taken.
Round 9 (9.07) – JuJu Smith-Shuster, WR NEP
Potential options: Mac Jones, Cole Kmet, Darren Waller
Round nine was a gross round to draft, and there was no good option for a running back, so I’m waiting again. Snagging JuJu in the ninth round as my final flex spots is solid. Now that he is with the Patriots, he should be in line for the leading target share for the team. All five of my receivers are now in line for 120-plus targets.
Round 10 (10.06) – Greg Dulcich, TE DEN
Potential options: Devin Singletary, Jakobi Meyers, DPJ
Round 10 had me sure up my other positions. Meyers was interesting, as I did this mock shortly before Darren Waller was traded, but I still like the Dulcich pick. As I mentioned before, I do like Dalton Schultz, but there is a risk to where he lands. Dulcich came into the league and produced right off the bat. Sean Payton loves using tight ends during his time in New Orleans, so Dulcich should benefit as a pass-catching tight end. The rumors of Denver wanting to trade one of their top three receivers should only help Dulcich.
Round 11 (11.07) – Jamaal Williams, RB NOS
Potential options: Josh Palmer, Romeo Doubs, Brock Purdy
Finally, I went with a player with more play for 2023 than dynasty value for my second running back. Grabbing a veteran running back like Jamaal Williams with one of your first three picks is essential. This pick gets even better for my 2023 season, as Williams is now with the Saints on a three-year deal. The Saints always work a two running back system, and with Alvin Kamara’s situation, Williams can be a solid ten-point fantasy player.
Round 12 (12.06) – Jordan Love, QB GBP
Potential options: CEH. Michael Gallup, Damien Harris.
Since I’m doing this strategy, it’s essential to set the rest of your other positions so that the only position you’ll need to worry about is running backs. Love is expected to be the new starter for the Green Bay Packers. He was raw coming into the league but sitting behind a hall-of-fame quarterback has to have learned the game. Love could be a solid trade mover to get a running back later in the season. He’ll have enough weapons and a strong run game to be a solid QB3. CEH and Damien Harris’ values are at an all-time low, and I can’t see many good productive seasons left. I’ll take the upside of Love.
Round 13 (13.07) – Kenny Gainwell, RB PHI
Potential options: Michael Carter, Mike Gesicki, Tyler Boyd
Back to the running back position in round 13 by taking Kenny Gainwell. Gainwell’s situation is excellent, with the Eagles signing Rasheed Penny this week. Penny has been unable to stay healthy for an entire season or may never get on the field in 2023. Gainwell has been underused in the Eagles’ offense and should see an expanded role in 2023. Getting a running back this low with starting upside is critical. If all works right, no other running back has a more precise shot at being an RB2 in fantasy.
Round 14 (14.06) – KJ Osborn, WR MIN
Potential options: Rashid Shaheed, Tyquan Thornton, Jeff Wilson
I did this draft before Jeff Wilson resigned with Miami, but I’d still take KJ Osborn here. Even with being low on running backs, taking a receiver with good upside can always benefit you in future trading. Osborn has progressed over the last three years, and now with Adam Theilen gone, he should leap.
Round 15 (15.07) – Jerome Ford, RB CLE
Potential options: Rasheem Mostert, Keaontay Ingram, Hassan Hankins
In the last pick of this draft, I selected a guy with significant upside in a good run game. Ford was my fourth-ranked running back in the 2022 draft. He has upside as a receiver and runs well. Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson are likely gone, with Ford as the RB2 behind Nick Chubb.
Here is my final roster!
|QB||Justin Herbert||Jordan Love|
|RB||Brian Robinson||Kenny Gainwell|
|RB||Jamaal Williams||Jerome Ford|
|WR||Michael Pittman Jr|
|TE||Dalton Schultz||Greg Dulcich|
|Flex||Terry McLaurin||KJ Osborn|