Don't Reach for Running Backs in Your 2013 Fantasy Football Drafts

By Jim Heath
Reggie Bush Detroit Lions
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

If you do not draft consecutive running backs in the first two rounds of this year’s Fantasy Football drafts you’re hosed, right? That has to be the case; we’ve read that in countless articles, heard it on every podcast and radio show, and we’ve seen it on most websites.

For grins, lets look at this 2013 Fantasy Football phenomenon outside the proverbial box shall we?

Are running backs important to a team’s success this year, or any year for that matter? No question, if you lack the run then you lack the “ship.” There won’t be a single argument to the contrary. You need running backs, period.

What we will dispute is the idea that you HAVE to get two quality backs in the first couple rounds. Breaking conventional wisdom, I say you don’t. Furthermore, I would argue that it’s impossible to do so if you are in an unfavorable draft position. There just aren’t that many of what I would consider to be quality running backs. These are the true workhorses 280-300 plus carry guys. In 2012 there were less than ten.

That said, during countless mock drafts in which I have participated, I’ve seen GMs — too many to count — reaching for running backs while over looking solid wide receivers that in some cases will score more on the season than the running back they drafted. Chalk it up to the “get your running backs quick” hysteria prevalent in drafts this season.

Don’t reach – just say no. We’ve established that you need running backs to win, just use common sense when drafting your running backs. There are good value backs you can select in middle rounds with the upside of being fantasy studs in 2013.

Look for names like Le’Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard, Daryl Richardson and Lamar Miller to name a few. It would also behoove you to remember Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew. Johnson underachieved the last couple seasons but the Tennessee Titans offensive line underwent a massive transformation in the offseason while Jones-Drew, the poster child for work horse, is coming back from last year’s injury and seems to be garnishing little to no fantasy football love. Both potential fantasy super studs are available in the third and even fourth rounds of some draft.

To give you a visual of what a value based draft could look like and the kind of success you could have, I offer an this example.

If there was a way I could return to last year’s draft I wouldn’t draft a running back in the first two rounds, I would take my quarterback in the tenth round and still win the entire league.  Let me repeat that, I would draft my first running back in the third round and still whip the majority of teams that drafted running backs in the first two rounds last year.

“How,” you ask? Give me Adrian Peterson in the third round, Doug Martin in the fifth and Robert Griffin III in the tenth. I could easily fill in the gaps with Calvin Johnson from round one, Jimmy Graham in round two, Julio Jones in the fourth and Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant in middle rounds. My final pick would have then been a guy named Alfred Morris – winner, winner chicken dinner.

Of course if I had that kind of foresight in fantasy sports I would own a real NFL team instead of just writing about managing “fantasy” teams, but I think you get my point.

Just use common sense; by no means am I telling you to pass on Trent Richardson to draft A.J. Green, but I certainly wouldn’t pass on Brandon Marshall to reach for a guy like Frank Gore or Reggie Bush. Yet those things happen, more than not.

I’ve said it countless times and I will say it once more; avoid the hype, side step unproven trends and remember “value” is your best friend on draft day. Now go git ‘em and best of luck.

Jim Heath is a Fantasy Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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