Blog Entry

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

Posted on: September 16, 2008 12:24 am
Edited on: September 27, 2008 1:41 pm

A major paradigm shift, years in the making, has finally occurred in the NFL.  The passing game has surpassed the running game to such an extreme degree in so many offensive systems (ARI, DEN, GB, DET, SD, DAL, etc.) that running backs are no longer the most coveted position in fantasy football. 

Gone are the days when you "have to take a stud RB with your first pick." A look at the numbers shows Calvin Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Brandon Marshall, Plaxico Burress, and Terrell Owens outscoring Joseph Addai, Ladanian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, and Clinton Portis.  In point per reception (PPR) leagues, the predominant scoring system for high stakes leagues, the difference is even more extreme.  In fact, in PPR leagues, Barber and Westbrook are the only RBs to crack the top 10!  Moving forward this year, fantasy owners need to trade their top RBs for explosive WRs before other owners catch on.  Looking ahead to next year, fantasy owners must modify their draft strategies -- stocking up on impact WRs while ignoring the ultra-expensive "stud backs."  A fantasy owner is much better off with a team configuration that looks something like this: Romo, T.O., Fitzgerald, Brandon Jacobs, and Julius Jones, rather than a configuration that looks like this: Ladanian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson, Brees, Cotchery, and Coles.

Incredibly, with the running back disease currently plaguing fantasy football, you were better off with the last pick in the draft than the 1st pick this year!!!

Note: auction drafts are replacing "snake drafts" nation wide, but even in auction drafts, running backs were going for irrational prices.


Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2008 8:26 pm

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

I would load up on Derrick Wards, Brandon Jacksons, Correll Buckhalters, and other lotter tickets.  One RB injury and you have an awesome flex option.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2008 12:56 am

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

Sound advice!!  Much appreciated.  Nice accountability from Plax by the way today with the "I had to take my kid to school and stuff like that...i'm always going to put my family first and if people don't like that they can get over it".  i'm paraphrasing here, but the was the basic sentiment.  man, talk about missing the point.  weak excuse aside, i can't believe the guy doesn't get that you can't just not show up for work and not call somebody. 

I think I'm going to be able to package Plax and Hightower for Brees.  Hightower has more value in our league due to a rule that you can keep anyone drafted after the 10th round (i picked him up in the 11th round expressly for this reason) in exchange for a 5th round pick the following year -- so if edge hangs it up (or the cards decide that for him), he'd be able to keep him as his 5th round pick next year.  I think there's a very good possibility of that happening, so it pains me to do it, but I'd basically be deciding that I've got a shot at a really dominant team so i'm willing to mortgage that upside for next year.  I'd be looking at Brees (QB), Addai (RB1), Turner (RB2), Wayne (WR1), Housh (WR2), J Jones/D Bowe/B Engram (WR/RB Flex), Clark (TE).  The flex spot isn't stellar but the rest of the lineup seems pretty sick if they stay healthy and generally meet expectations. 

ps - i'm going to take a flier on Chris Henry as my potential late round keeper in place of hightower.  I don't think he has much value this year, but ocho is a malcontent that might finally get his wish to get shipped off and Housh is a free agent end of this hear, so i'm thinking Henry could be the #1 there going into next year.

If you have any other feedback or thoughts on this, please share.  Otherwise, thanks for the advice already provided.

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: October 4, 2008 10:39 am

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

There are always going to be running backs that have great seasons (see above) and there will always be WRs that blow up (see above).  If you spent a 1-3 round pick on Ocho, Welker, or Braylon Edwards, you are a masochist..

This year, the top WRs were drafted outside the first three rounds: Marshall, Coles, Boldin, Jennings, D. Jackson, and S. Moss. Bizarre.

In PPR leagues, Reggie Bush (not a high pick) is the only RB outscoring the top 5 WRs.

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: October 4, 2008 10:37 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: October 3, 2008 11:21 pm

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

Well, what about the owners who drafted the following WRs in rounds 1-4:

Randy Moss

T.J. Houshmanzadeh

Marques Colston

Torry Holt

Andre Johnson

Wes Welker

Chad Johnson

Braylon Edwards

Yet, there has been plenty of production from these following RBs:

Adrian Peterson

Brian Westbrook

Clinton Portis

Marion Barber

Marshawn Lynch

Larry Johnson

Frank Gore

Reggie Bush

It definitely looks like the RBs drafted in rounds 1-3 have out-performed the WRs drafted in that round by far.

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: October 2, 2008 11:10 am

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

The likely difference in production between Schaub and Brees will be dwarfed by the likely difference in production between Wayne and Jackson.  Wayne is an uber-stud, and you almost always want to be the team acquiring the uber-stud, not giving one up.  Also, buying Jackson now is like buying AOL in 1998.  Bottom line: Don't do that trade.

I think that your team is in good shape if the Colts come around and could make the playoffs without any trades.  However, the police have been called to two incidents at Burress's house this year already and he just signed a massive contract. Plax is like a toxic mortgage-backed security right now... you need to liquidate it before it becomes worthless. I would attempt to package him (as opposed to Wayne) for an underperforming WR like Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, or Colston, up-and-comer like Jennings, Cotchery, or Calvin Johnson, or an emerging stud QB like Cutler.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: October 2, 2008 12:40 am

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

Great stuff Halo.  Have read through a lot of your stuff and you've got some great insight.  How about some advice for someone that sort of followed this strategy and is finding themselves in a bit of a jam.  Here's my situation -- standard scoring format (no PPR), 10 team league with requirements to start 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1 RB/WR, 1 TE.   First 6 rounds for me went Addai, Wayne, Housh, Burress, Turner, Clark, Palmer.  Late rounds I took a lot of RB flyers with Julius Jones, Kenny Watson, Rudi Johnson, Hightower and Norwood and also picked up Kitna near the end of the draft.  Taking me a long time to get to my point, but things obviously haven't panned out for me too well on the QB front (truth is that my stud WRs in round 2-4 haven't quite delivered either).  Anyway, coming back to my QB situation, I've since picked up Schaub off waivers after you inspired me with one of your other blogs (another reason why i'm turning to you for some advice on this particular matter).  So here's my weekly lineup today:

QB:  Pick em between Kitna/Palmer/Schaub based on matchup

Addai (RB1), Turner (RB2), Wayne (WR1), Plax (WR2), Housh/J Jones/Rudi (Flex), Clark (TE)

I've got the following trade offer that i'm mulling over -- Brees + Desean Jackson for Wayne + Rudi.  So my starting lineup after the trade would look like:

Brees (QB), Addai (RB1), Turner (RB2), Plax (WR1), D Jackson (WRs), J Jones/Housh (Flex), Clark (TE)

Part of me wants to take the trade just to not have to deal with the week to week heartburn of inevitably picking the wrong QB from my bunch of misfits.  What do you think?  Should I make the deal or is Schaub going to be my savior?

ps - I'm 3-1 and the 1 loss came last week with literally half of my squad on byes, so i'm not really in panic, but i'm trying to head off what i feel might be my looming demise at QB.


Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2008 9:01 pm

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

i love this blog it def rings true!!

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: September 20, 2008 2:35 pm

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

North Harbour, you are not alone.  I took this strategy to its most ridiculous extent and allocated my auction budgets approximately as follows:

110% WR, 75% QB, 10% RB, 5% TE (Indeed I was ridiculed in every draft for "forgetting" to acquire a stud RB)

With only 10% of funds going to RBs, you have to stock up on 5-6 RBs on good offenses and hope 2 of them hit. In my case, I tended to bid on inexpenstive RBs like Selvin Young, Michael Turner, Julius Jones, Jonathan Stewart, Kevin Smith, Steve Slaton, Chris Perry, Derrick Ward, and Brandon Jackson.  So far, Turner, Jones, and Stewart have hit, and its only a matter of time before guys like Ward and Jackson take over with so many injuries plaguing RBs in the NFL. In fact, it was the high percentage of injuries that wipe out first round running backs over the years that led me to fully develop this theory, which has lead to an incredibly successful fantasy stategy and thousands of dollars in winnings.

The primary underpinning of the theory is that top WRs should only be available at a premium, because their production is impossible to replicate with inexpensive WRs (not even free agent pick-up dujor DeSean Jackson can possibly keep up with Brandon Marshall, Plaxico Burress, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, and Terrell Owens).  But many fantasy leagues behave irrationally -- evidenced by the fact that you can get top receivers for less than mid-level, replacable RBs!  Using this method, I was able to grab Romo, T.O., Marshall, and either A. Johnson or Fitzgerald in my big money leagues this year.

Since: Jan 2, 2008
Posted on: September 17, 2008 3:39 am

Wide Receivers are the new Running Backs

I was called stupid for drafting Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne and Plaxico Burress in round 2,3 and 6.

I drafted RBs in rounds 1 and 4 and my QB in round 5.

I think you raise a good point. My RBs Addai and Lewis have been faltering, all my points come from Kurt Warner, Brett Favre (whoever I start) and my WRS and Jason Witten and my defense (Seahawks or Giants)

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