There’s something to be said for playing the contrarian. That’s not to say conventional wisdom should be defied at every turn (I’m reminded of the Dave Chappelle sketch, “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong”), as that can be every bit as inflexible as falling in line with those rigidly adhering to the norm. But, zigging while other zag can help dynasty owners find value where they may previously not have looked.
My recent contrarian take would’ve actually been the Stepford Wife of dynasty strategies as recently as five to six years ago. But now, when it comes to selecting running backs early and often, that approach has gone the way of the afternoon paper. The dynasty universe is run by wide receivers and those who love them, and even with the incredible ball carrier performances in 2016, it doesn’t appear to be changing.
To that last sentence, however, I see something more. I previously wrote about exactly what made these young, stud running backs so special, and why we should consider selecting them early in drafts. Taking it one step further, I even advocated for taking Cardinals running back David Johnson as the 1.01 in dynasty startups.
Unfortunately, I’m still a salmon swimming upstream, with the wide receiver loving bears swatting at me and my ilk with the casual indifference of Bill Belichick discarding a reporter’s question. Their newest argument has centered around why members of the robust ball carrying crop of 2017 shouldn’t be selected with high, first round picks, laughably using Zeke Elliott as the example as to why this is bad practice. Yes, the same Zeke Elliott who led the league in rushing as a rookie, scoring 16 total touchdowns and averaging 5.1 YPC in the process – because somehow we just know that if it was Derrick Henry in the second round, things would’ve magically turned out the exact same way.
Naturally, this led to the companion argument that running backs either bust at a higher rate than receivers, or they get hurt and fall out of the league altogether. Continuing, it’s also easy to find backfield “diamonds in the rough” in the later rounds, and as such there’s no reason to spend a high pick at the position. It’s these exact arguments that I want to focus my energies on.
You can find his (typically strong and hopefully reasonable) opinions on Twitter at@EDH_27.