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Nick Whalen
How To Win At The RB Position The Sneaky Way

Nick Whalen tells you how to pick up extra fantasy points, the sneaky way!

May 27th

The RB position has seen a huge resurgence in the past few years. A long time ago, RB’s were the only way to win at FF. Drafting Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Frank Gore types were the way to a championship. However, the NFL saw a large dip in college RB’s making an impact. The NFL Draft saw lots of busts and injuries from David Wilson, Trent Richardson, Jahvid Best, CJ Spiller, Beanie Wells, and Bishop Sankey. However, the past few years the influx of Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, and others have aided many FF owners to championships.

Drafting studs will easily lead to winning. I’d rather show you where some gaps are in terms of valuing the RB position for FF and give you hidden value.

Target RBs who catch the football often!

In PPR leagues, RB’s who catch the football should be highly sought after when deciding in drafts or trades.

#2018 NFL Rushing Yards Finish(receptions)2018 FF RB Finish(receptions)
1Ezekiel Elliott(77)Christian McCaffrey
2Saquon Barkley(91)Saquon Barkley(91)
3Todd Gurley(59)Todd Gurley(59)
4Joe Mixon(43)Alvin Kamara(81)
5Chris Carson(20)Ezekiel Elliott(77)
6Christian McCaffrey(107)James Conner(55)
7Derrick Henry(15)James White(87)
8Adrian Peterson(20)Melvin Gordon(50)
9Phillip Lindsay(35)David Johnson(50)
10Nick Chubb(20)Joe Mixon(43)
11Lamar Miller(25)Tarik Cohen(71)
12James Conner(66)Kareem Hunt(26)

#2017 NFL Rushing Yards Finish(receptions)2017 FF RB Finish(receptions)
1Kareem Hunt(53)Todd Gurley(64)
2Todd Gurley(64)Le’Veon Bell(85)
3Le’Veon Bell(85)Alvin Kamara(82)
4LeSean McCoy(59)Kareem Hunt(53)
5Mark Ingram(58)Melvin Gordon(58)
6Jordan Howard(23)Mark Ingram(58)
7Melvin Gordon(58)LeSean McCoy(59)
8Leonard Fournette(36)Carlos Hyde(59)
9CJ Anderson(28)Christian McCaffrey
10Ezekiel Elliott(26)Leonard Fournette(36)
11Alex Collins(23)Duke Johnson(74)
12Frank Gore(29)Ezekiel Elliott(26)

When looking at the past two years of statistics, lots of great RB’s have reigned superior. But not many have excelled in FF without catching 50 or more passes, despite their rushing yards. The players with RB1 seasons who were very undervalued had huge pass catching seasons in Duke Johnson, James White, and Tarik Cohen.

Here are players I would target based on pass catching on where they’re valued:

Tarik Cohen – He’s only 23 years old and his role has only expanded in Chicago. Despite being the RB11 in PPR leagues in 2018, he’s currently going in the low end RB2 to high end RB3 range. That’s a value for a player who will always provide a high floor with receptions and, quite frankly, is the best weapon on an explosive Chicago offense.

Kenyan Drake – a new head coach can affect the RB position. However, Drake is 25 years old and coming off of 32 and 53 receptions seasons. He’s currently going in the low end RB3 range for FF.

James White – Are we really doing this again? White was the RB7 last year and now he’s a RB3/RB4 in drafts. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady trusts White. Looks like a solid buy to me.

Damien Williams – He’s coming off the board as a mid RB2 and plenty of people are scared of by him. In his 5 seasons in the NFL, Williams has failed to have less than 20 receptions in any single season. This is despite being a 3rd string RB during a few of those years, which reveals his strength as a pass catcher. Last season, Williams started the last 6 games of the season in Kansas City at RB, which included the playoffs. His 16 game pace for targets was 88, but receptions would’ve been 75! Take into account potentially losing Tyreek Hill and the very little capital KC used to address the RB position and signs are pointing up for Williams.

A few other guys who are just a tier behind the above group as potential buys:

Darrell Henderson – The mystery behind his role with the Rams will remain until the season begins. However, Henderson was a good pass catcher in college and those traits translate well to the NFL game.

Kerryon Johnson – As a 21 year old rookie, he caught 32 receptions in Detroit. This is despite the Lions already having a good pass catching RB in Theo Riddick. Johnson missed the final 6 games of the season, but he was on pace for 51 receptions last year.

Nyheim Hines – He caught 63 receptions as a rookie and finished as the RB28 in PPR leagues. Yet, he’s going unnoticed as a player to potentially buy.

Whether it be in trades or drafts, I hope you can see the advantages of chasing pass catchers can have in your hopes of chasing a FF championship.

Insight by
Nick Whalen