Project 2022 Fantasy Football strategy: When and how to use Zero-RB to win your own league

Over the past few years, I’ve been a staunch supporter of Zero-RB than most, but I even pointed this out by saying that if you had a pick among the top four, you probably wouldn’t use this strategy. That changed for 2022. I’m fine with both Justin Jefferson and Cooper Cobb in the top four picks, opening up a wider range of Zero-RB tracks than in years past, when it was mostly only available to teams drafting in the back half of the first round.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is that the catch should matter. I’d rather they count for a full point, but this strategy can work in the 0.5 PPR league as well, not just for the top five teams. If you are able to start quarterback players, the sooner the better. If the final premium is also tight, we’ve come to the point where I really prefer the Zero-RB.

As a proponent of no intentional positional strategy, this is where I must stress that you should not lock yourself in the Zero-RB approach. If you are in a league with a group of players avoiding running backwards, you should stock them. You should never get stuck in a draft of a particular strategy without considering what your leaguemates are doing. This article is about using Zero-RB when the strategy presents itself as the best option, rather than about locking it in beforehand.

Now that we’ve straightened things out when To go to Zero-RB, let’s talk about it How. in Run background preview I’ve given you my favorite Zero-RB targets, and will update them as the ADP becomes more stable. But first I’d like to address the dream of building a Zero-RB, and then three paths based on the existing ADP.

My dream scenario starts with landing Jefferson in the first round, Mark Andrews in the second round, DJ Moore in the third round, Branden Cox in the fourth, and Mike Williams in the fifth. No. 2 narrow end.

The only place this team is lacking, other than running, is the quarterback. If you’re feeling really bad, you can probably find Galen Hurts in the sixth round. If you’re missing him, Tom Brady might be in Round 7. If you’re in a league crazy about early players, then your top five picks might be better than my dream scenario. In that case, I could target one of Trey Lance or Justin Fields and pair them with one of Kirk Cousins’ sons, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr.

Now, it is possible to lose Cobb, Jefferson and Jamar Chase in the first round if you are at the back end of the draft in the first round. With Stefon Diggs. Let’s look at three possible beginnings based on different draft situations you can build from. I’ll go through round six in the Hurts build, and through round five in the other rounds. Note that all three of these architectures are possible according to Fantasy Pros Consensus PPR ADP:

  • Pick 4 Justin Jefferson, Mark Andrews, DJ Moore, Branden Cox, Mike Williams
  • Pick 8 Ja’Marr Chase, Mark Andrews, Michael Pittman, DJ Moore, Courtland Sutton and Jalen Hurts
  • Pick 11 Travis Kelsey, Stefon Diggs, Michael Bateman, DJ Moore, and Cortland Sutton

All three of these teams have four of their top 20 wide receivers and have either a #1 or #2 wide receiver. The team from Pick 8 has their #5 quarterback. Now is the time to attack running poses like a college student and a one-day-old pizza. Eat until you are full and then eat more. Here’s this list from the preview, for reference:

Round 6 – Miles Sanders, Kareem Hunt, Tony Pollard
Round 7 – Chase Edmonds, Kenneth Walker
Round 8 Michael Carter, Ramonder Stevenson
Round 9 James Cook, Nihm Heinz
round 10 – Dameon Pierce, Tyler Allgeier, Alexander Mattison
Round 11 Rahim Mostert, Isaiah Spiler
Round 12 – Marlon Mac, Mark Ingram
Round 13 –
Kenneth Jenwell and Rashad White
Round 14 or later
– Khalil Herbert, Donta Foreman,

Now, there’s a whole lot of backpackers here. There are high level cuffs that don’t come off without an injury, 1B appearances that can flex early or win the league due to injury, and less exciting appearances with the higher decks. I would like a combination of the three types. First, I want two backs that I can display as flexes or better for week 1. Then, I want as many upward picks and as many rounds as I can get from 6-14 rounds. With these builds, I would expect at least six of my last nine picks to be contestants, with at least one rising wide receiver and quarterback mixed in.

Zero-RB build of choice 4

1.4 Justin Jefferson
2.9 Mark Andrews
3.4 DJ More
4.9 Branden chefs
5.4 Mike Williams
6.9 Cream Hunt
7.4 Tom Brady
8.9 Chase Edmonds
9.4 James Cook
10.9 Alexander Mathison
11.4 Damon Pierce
12.9 plays Isaiah
13.4 Khalil Herbert
14.9 Jehan Dotson

You’ll notice a lot of novice runners running backwards in these builds because they haven’t yet been pushed into the ADP as they usually are. Pierce and Alger in particular seem to have very clear trajectories for the rookie reps, but I prefer Pierce because Cordarelli Patterson is likely to keep Algier off the field for his overtaking this year.

Zero-RB build from Pick 8

1.8 Ja’Marr Chase
2.5 Mark Andrews
3.8 Michael Bateman
4.5 DJ More
5.8 Cortland Sutton
6.5 Galen Hurts
7.8 Chase Edmonds
8.5 Michael Carter
9.8 trillion pyrex
10.5 Naheim Heinz
11.8 Damon Pierce
12.5 plays Isaiah
13.8 Mark Ingram
14.5 Tyler Lime

Mark Ingram doesn’t look attractive now that Alvin Camara’s case has been adjourned to court again, but that doesn’t mean he should go back to non-drafting again. For one thing, a video leak or compromise could cause a mid-season suspension, and on the other hand, Camara could waste time. Ingram’s age makes this surprising, but it’s very restrictive at worst and may be over 1B like Hunt or Pollard.

Zero-RB build of choice 11

1.11 Travis Kelsey
2.2 Stefon Diggs
3.11 Michael Bateman
4.2 DJ More
5.11 Cortland Sutton
6.2 Mil Sanders
7.11 Tony Pollard
8.2 Chase Edmonds
9.11 Kirk’s Cousins
10.2 Justin Fields
11.11 Damon Pierce
12.2 Isaiah plays
13.11 Tyler Lime
14.2 Jehan Dotson

I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of these racers, especially those in the double-digit rounds, see ADP boost in the coming weeks. But it’s hard to come up with a plan based on what the ADP might be, so I’m using what’s currently consensus. The original list of Zero-RB targets shows my early readiness to target these phenomena, while the three draft plans show the best case scenario according to the current ADP. Keep up with changes, and adjust accordingly.

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