Fantasy Soccer: Outcomes from the FSGA Consultants league, plus the case for Zero-RB even in a 14-team league

How does a 14-team league change your approach to a Fantasy Football draft? 12 teams is the most common league set up, and the Fantasy Football Today team has been doing mostly 12-teamers every week — you can see Jamey Eisenberg’s latest write-up of a SuperFlex mock draft we did on the FFT YouTube account here, and you can see all of our mock draft results on the Fantasy Football Draft Prep Guide page, here. 

14 teamers shouldn’t be that much different, right? It’s just two more teams, right? Well, those two teams add up pretty quickly, especially at running back. You can kind of squint and see 24 or so running backs you would feel pretty good about starting this season — Mike Davis and Travis Etienne are ranked 24th for Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg, and Heath Cummings, and I would be fine with either of them in my lineup. 

Things get a bit hairier when you try to stretch it to 28. Michael Carter, James Robinson, Javonte Williams … they could be viable starters, of course, but there are probably going to be at least a few teams in a 14-team draft that don’t feel great about their stable of running backs. 

So, you should focus on RB early in a 14-team draft, right? Well, that’s not what I did in my draft Tuesday for the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association experts league. In fact, I didn’t take my first running back until the sixth round — 79th overall.

It wasn’t an intentional strategy I had going into the draft — I want to be flexible when I’m drafting, especially in the first round –, but when Travis Kelce — my No. 3 overall player — slipped to No. 6, I couldn’t pass on him. I was willing to take an RB in the second — especially with Austin Ekeler still, somehow, sitting out there after the 20th pick — but when Ekeler was taken just before my pick, I couldn’t pass on Michael Thomas. 

By the time my third pick came around, the top running backs left were Chris Carson, J.K. Dobbins, and Josh Jacobs, and while I like all of those guys plenty, I decided at that point to lean into the zero-RB build, selecting Patrick Mahomes. That gave me a base with what I think is the clear No. 1 option at both tight end and quarterback, along with my No. 2 overall wide receiver. I followed that up with Julio Jones (my No. 14 WR) and Curtis Samuel (No. 27, and a favorite breakout of mine) before finally grabbing my No. 1 RB in Carter.

Do I love having an RB corps with Carter as my No. 1 RB and Jamaal Williams as my No. 2? Of course not! I spent late-round picks on Rashaad Penny, Chuba Hubbard, and Malcolm Brown, and that is clearly the weakest group at the position in the entire league. That might be a problem, obviously.

But I’m a pretty firm believer in the concept of the “RB Dead Zone,” as coined by former CBS Fantasy analyst Ben Gretch. The idea is that, while early-round running backs are typically a very good investment, once you get past the first three rounds or so, your chances of hitting on a good starting RB are pretty slim. In fact, from 2016-2020, only 11 out of 80 running backs taken from the fourth through eighth rounds have finished as top-12 RB, and only 30/80 even finished as top-24 RB — and only 15 of them topped 200 PPR points. 

The simple fact of the matter is, running back is the most volatile position in Fantasy. That’s less true for the truly high-end options at the position, but if you don’t land one of those, you’re taking a risk that you’ll be throwing one of the most valuable assets you have — an early-round pick — away on a player who might lose his job in three weeks.

This is what you have to keep in mind when you go with a zero-RB or RB-light build. Your team may not win any projections contests because of how weak your backs look, but you have to remind yourself that those seemingly strong RB groups on other teams will end up pretty weak before long. That’s just the nature of a position defined by attrition and fragility. You’re starting out in a hole at running back, to be sure, but you won’t be alone in that hole before long, and 

Your mileage may vary, of course. The easiest way to get negative comments about a draft on social media is to come out of your draft light on running backs. But I’ve loaded my team up with elite non-RB as well as some of my absolute favorite sleepers/breakout candidates at WR like Jerry Jeudy, Mike Williams, and Rondale Moore. If Carter emerges as a must-start option — not impossible given the relative lack of competition in New York — and Williams’ role is as robust as Anthony Lynn is hinting at, I’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

If not … well, I’ll definitely have my work cut out for me. But no team is guaranteed a championship coming out of the draft. You’ll always have to work for it. At least now, I can be reasonably certain about what I need to fix from the beginning.

Here’s what my full roster looks like in this league where you start one QB, two RB, three WR, one TE, a  FLEX, a K, and a DST: 

OVERALL

PICK

PLAYER

6

1.6

Travis Kelce, KC, TE

23

2.9

Michael Thomas, NO, WR

34

3.6

Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB

51

4.9

Julio Jones, TEN, WR

62

5.6

Curtis Samuel, WAS, WR

79

6.9

Michael Carter, NYJ, RB

90

7.6

Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR

107

8.9

Jamaal Williams, DET, RB

118

9.6

Mike Williams, LAC, WR

135

10.9

Jalen Reagor, PHI, WR

146

11.6

Rondale Moore, ARI, WR

163

12.9

Rashaad Penny, SEA, RB

174

13.6

Chuba Hubbard, CAR, RB

191

14.9

Malcolm Brown, MIA, RB

202

15.6

Jacksonville Jaguars, JAX, DST

219

16.9

Matt Gay, LAR, K

And here are the full results, along with who took part in the draft: 

  1. Trevis Waters / Anthony Carson – DFS Karma
  2. Dan McKenna – Gaming Talent
  3. Howard Bender – Fantasy Alarm
  4. Mat Sposta / Derek Siskin – Hall Of Fantasy League
  5. Barry Golombek / Mike Patch – Fantasy Data
  6. Chris Towers – CBS Sports
  7. Matt Walsh / Jay Dryburgh – Trophy Smack
  8. Michael Graben / Mike Lazarus – Yahoo Sports
  9. Denny Carter – NBC Sports Edge
  10. Adam Wexler / Dylan Cooper – PrizePicks
  11. Mark Taylor / Ryan Hallam – Fanjections
  12. Jason Lisk / Seth Trachtman – TeamRankings
  13. Scott Swanay – Sherpa Fantasy Sports
  14. Kevin Vela – Vela Wood

OVERALL

PICK

PLAYER

TEAM

1

1.1

Christian McCaffrey, CAR, RB

DFS Karma

2

1.2

Dalvin Cook, MIN, RB

Gaming Talent

3

1.3

Nick Chubb, CLE, RB

Fantasy Alarm

4

1.4

Alvin Kamara, NO, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

5

1.5

Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB

Fantasy Data

6

1.6

Travis Kelce, KC, TE

CBS Sports

7

1.7

Derrick Henry, TEN, RB

Trophy Smack

8

1.8

Jonathan Taylor, IND, RB

Yahoo Sports

9

1.9

Tyreek Hill, KC, WR

NBC Sports Edge

10

1.1

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB

PrizePicks

11

1.11

Aaron Jones, GB, RB

Fanjections

12

1.12

Davante Adams, GB, WR

TeamRankings

13

1.13

Stefon Diggs, BUF, WR

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

14

1.14

Joe Mixon, CIN, RB

Vela Wood

15

2.1

DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, WR

Vela Wood

16

2.2

Cam Akers, LAR, RB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

17

2.3

Darren Waller, LV, TE

TeamRankings

18

2.4

Najee Harris, PIT, RB

Fanjections

19

2.5

Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR

PrizePicks

20

2.6

Antonio Gibson, WAS, RB

NBC Sports Edge

21

2.7

Justin Jefferson, MIN, WR

Yahoo Sports

22

2.8

Austin Ekeler, LAC, RB

Trophy Smack

23

2.9

Michael Thomas, NO, WR

CBS Sports

24

2.1

Miles Sanders, PHI, RB

Fantasy Data

25

2.11

A.J. Brown, TEN, WR

Hall Of Fantasy League

26

2.12

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC, RB

Fantasy Alarm

27

2.13

David Montgomery, CHI, RB

Gaming Talent

28

2.14

D’Andre Swift, DET, RB

DFS Karma

29

3.1

D.K. Metcalf, SEA, WR

DFS Karma

30

3.2

George Kittle, SF, TE

Gaming Talent

31

3.3

Mike Davis, ATL, RB

Fantasy Alarm

32

3.4

Keenan Allen, LAC, WR

Hall Of Fantasy League

33

3.5

Terry McLaurin, WAS, WR

Fantasy Data

34

3.6

Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB

CBS Sports

35

3.7

Allen Robinson, CHI, WR

Trophy Smack

36

3.8

Chris Carson, SEA, RB

Yahoo Sports

37

3.9

Amari Cooper, DAL, WR

NBC Sports Edge

38

3.1

J.K. Dobbins, BAL, RB

PrizePicks

39

3.11

CeeDee Lamb, DAL, WR

Fanjections

40

3.12

Robert Woods, LAR, WR

TeamRankings

41

3.13

Josh Jacobs, LV, RB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

42

3.14

Chris Godwin, TB, WR

Vela Wood

43

4.1

Myles Gaskin, MIA, RB

Vela Wood

44

4.2

Mike Evans, TB, WR

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

45

4.3

Tee Higgins, CIN, WR

TeamRankings

46

4.4

Diontae Johnson, PIT, WR

Fanjections

47

4.5

Brandon Aiyuk, SF, WR

PrizePicks

48

4.6

Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR

NBC Sports Edge

49

4.7

Josh Allen, BUF, QB

Yahoo Sports

50

4.8

Kyler Murray, ARI, QB

Trophy Smack

51

4.9

Julio Jones, TEN, WR

CBS Sports

52

4.1

Courtland Sutton, DEN, WR

Fantasy Data

53

4.11

Kyle Pitts, ATL, TE

Hall Of Fantasy League

54

4.12

Kenny Golladay, NYG, WR

Fantasy Alarm

55

4.13

Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR

Gaming Talent

56

4.14

Adam Thielen, MIN, WR

DFS Karma

57

5.1

Mark Andrews, BAL, TE

DFS Karma

58

5.2

D.J. Moore, CAR, WR

Gaming Talent

59

5.3

Ja’Marr Chase, CIN, WR

Fantasy Alarm

60

5.4

Travis Etienne, JAX, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

61

5.5

JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR

Fantasy Data

62

5.6

Curtis Samuel, WAS, WR

CBS Sports

63

5.7

Chase Claypool, PIT, WR

Trophy Smack

64

5.8

Deebo Samuel, SF, WR

Yahoo Sports

65

5.9

T.J. Hockenson, DET, TE

NBC Sports Edge

66

5.1

Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB

PrizePicks

67

5.11

James Robinson, JAX, RB

Fanjections

68

5.12

Kareem Hunt, CLE, RB

TeamRankings

69

5.13

Melvin Gordon, DEN, RB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

70

5.14

Chase Edmonds, ARI, RB

Vela Wood

71

6.1

D.J. Chark, JAX, WR

Vela Wood

72

6.2

Odell Beckham Jr., CLE, WR

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

73

6.3

Javonte Williams, DEN, RB

TeamRankings

74

6.4

Justin Herbert, LAC, QB

Fanjections

75

6.5

Ronald Jones II, TB, RB

PrizePicks

76

6.6

Dak Prescott, DAL, QB

NBC Sports Edge

77

6.7

Raheem Mostert, SF, RB

Yahoo Sports

78

6.8

Leonard Fournette, TB, RB

Trophy Smack

79

6.9

Michael Carter, NYJ, RB

CBS Sports

80

6.1

DeVonta Smith, PHI, WR

Fantasy Data

81

6.11

Russell Wilson, SEA, QB

Hall Of Fantasy League

82

6.12

Robby Anderson, CAR, WR

Fantasy Alarm

83

6.13

Matthew Stafford, LAR, QB

Gaming Talent

84

6.14

David Johnson, HOU, RB

DFS Karma

85

7.1

Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB

DFS Karma

86

7.2

Michael Pittman Jr., IND, WR

Gaming Talent

87

7.3

Zack Moss, BUF, RB

Fantasy Alarm

88

7.4

Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR

Hall Of Fantasy League

89

7.5

Will Fuller, MIA, WR

Fantasy Data

90

7.6

Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR

CBS Sports

91

7.7

Brandin Cooks, HOU, WR

Trophy Smack

92

7.8

Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR

Yahoo Sports

93

7.9

Antonio Brown, TB, WR

NBC Sports Edge

94

7.1

Michael Gallup, DAL, WR

PrizePicks

95

7.11

Jaylen Waddle, MIA, WR

Fanjections

96

7.12

Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX, WR

TeamRankings

97

7.13

James Conner, ARI, RB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

98

7.14

Noah Fant, DEN, TE

Vela Wood

99

8.1

Jalen Hurts, PHI, QB

Vela Wood

100

8.2

Damien Harris, NE, RB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

101

8.3

Kenyan Drake, LV, RB

TeamRankings

102

8.4

Trey Sermon, SF, RB

Fanjections

103

8.5

Nyheim Hines, IND, RB

PrizePicks

104

8.6

Gus Edwards, BAL, RB

NBC Sports Edge

105

8.7

Corey Davis, NYJ, WR

Yahoo Sports

106

8.8

Dallas Goedert, PHI, TE

Trophy Smack

107

8.9

Jamaal Williams, DET, RB

CBS Sports

108

8.1

Devin Singletary, BUF, RB

Fantasy Data

109

8.11

Tony Pollard, DAL, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

110

8.12

Phillip Lindsay, HOU, RB

Fantasy Alarm

111

8.13

Tevin Coleman, NYJ, RB

Gaming Talent

112

8.14

DeVante Parker, MIA, WR

DFS Karma

113

9.1

Marquise Brown, BAL, WR

DFS Karma

114

9.2

J.D. McKissic, WAS, RB

Gaming Talent

115

9.3

Darnell Mooney, CHI, WR

Fantasy Alarm

116

9.4

Logan Thomas, WAS, TE

Hall Of Fantasy League

117

9.5

Robert Tonyan, GB, TE

Fantasy Data

118

9.6

Mike Williams, LAC, WR

CBS Sports

119

9.7

Christian Kirk, ARI, WR

Trophy Smack

120

9.8

Tyler Higbee, LAR, TE

Yahoo Sports

121

9.9

Elijah Moore, NYJ, WR

NBC Sports Edge

122

9.1

Irv Smith Jr., MIN, TE

PrizePicks

123

9.11

Hunter Henry, NE, TE

Fanjections

124

9.12

AJ Dillon, GB, RB

TeamRankings

125

9.13

Mike Gesicki, MIA, TE

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

126

9.14

Henry Ruggs III, LV, WR

Vela Wood

127

10.1

Tom Brady, TB, QB

Vela Wood

128

10.2

T Y Hilton, IND, WR

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

129

10.3

Joe Burrow, CIN, QB

TeamRankings

130

10.4

James White, NE, RB

Fanjections

131

10.5

Nelson Agholor, NE, WR

PrizePicks

132

10.6

Darrell Henderson, LAR, RB

NBC Sports Edge

133

10.7

Marvin Jones, JAX, WR

Yahoo Sports

134

10.8

Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET, WR

Trophy Smack

135

10.9

Jalen Reagor, PHI, WR

CBS Sports

136

10.1

Ryan Tannehill, TEN, QB

Fantasy Data

137

10.11

Tarik Cohen, CHI, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

138

10.12

Mecole Hardman, KC, WR

Fantasy Alarm

139

10.13

Zach Ertz, PHI, TE

Gaming Talent

140

10.14

Cole Beasley, BUF, WR

DFS Karma

141

11.1

Trevor Lawrence, JAX, QB

DFS Karma

142

11.2

Emmanuel Sanders, BUF, WR

Gaming Talent

143

11.3

Carson Wentz, IND, QB

Fantasy Alarm

144

11.4

Deshaun Watson, HOU, QB

Hall Of Fantasy League

145

11.5

Russell Gage, ATL, WR

Fantasy Data

146

11.6

Rondale Moore, ARI, WR

CBS Sports

147

11.7

Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT, DST

Trophy Smack

148

11.8

Latavius Murray, NO, RB

Yahoo Sports

149

11.9

Alexander Mattison, MIN, RB

NBC Sports Edge

150

11.1

Matt Ryan, ATL, QB

PrizePicks

151

11.11

Baltimore Ravens, BAL, DST

Fanjections

152

11.12

John Brown, LV, WR

TeamRankings

153

11.13

Tua Tagovailoa, MIA, QB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

154

11.14

Jonnu Smith, NE, TE

Vela Wood

155

12.1

Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR

Vela Wood

156

12.2

Kirk Cousins, MIN, QB

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

157

12.3

Justin Fields, CHI, QB

TeamRankings

158

12.4

Parris Campbell, IND, WR

Fanjections

159

12.5

Rashod Bateman, BAL, WR

PrizePicks

160

12.6

Giovani Bernard, TB, RB

NBC Sports Edge

161

12.7

Breshad Perriman, DET, WR

Yahoo Sports

162

12.8

Denzel Mims, NYJ, WR

Trophy Smack

163

12.9

Rashaad Penny, SEA, RB

CBS Sports

164

12.1

Jared Cook, LAC, TE

Fantasy Data

165

12.11

Jerick McKinnon, KC, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

166

12.12

Sam Darnold, CAR, QB

Fantasy Alarm

167

12.13

Baker Mayfield, CLE, QB

Gaming Talent

168

12.14

Kadarius Toney, NYG, WR

DFS Karma

169

13.1

Los Angeles Rams, LAR, DST

DFS Karma

170

13.2

Washington FB Team, WAS, DST

Gaming Talent

171

13.3

Indianapolis Colts, IND, DST

Fantasy Alarm

172

13.4

Justin Tucker, BAL, K

Hall Of Fantasy League

173

13.5

San Francisco 49ers, SF, DST

Fantasy Data

174

13.6

Chuba Hubbard, CAR, RB

CBS Sports

175

13.7

Younghoe Koo, ATL, K

Trophy Smack

176

13.8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TB, DST

Yahoo Sports

177

13.9

Rhamondre Stevenson, NE, RB

NBC Sports Edge

178

13.1

Harrison Butker, KC, K

PrizePicks

179

13.11

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB

Fanjections

180

13.12

Zach Wilson, NYJ, QB

TeamRankings

181

13.13

Evan Engram, NYG, TE

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

182

13.14

Keke Coutee, HOU, WR

Vela Wood

183

14.1

Rodrigo Blankenship, IND, K

Vela Wood

184

14.2

Tre’Quan Smith, NO, WR

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

185

14.3

Jamison Crowder, NYJ, WR

TeamRankings

186

14.4

Adam Trautman, NO, TE

Fanjections

187

14.5

Buffalo Bills, BUF, DST

PrizePicks

188

14.6

Ryan Fitzpatrick, WAS, QB

NBC Sports Edge

189

14.7

Marlon Mack, IND, RB

Yahoo Sports

190

14.8

Josh Reynolds, TEN, WR

Trophy Smack

191

14.9

Malcolm Brown, MIA, RB

CBS Sports

192

14.1

Wil Lutz, NO, K

Fantasy Data

193

14.11

Kansas City Chiefs, KC, DST

Hall Of Fantasy League

194

14.12

Anthony Firkser, TEN, TE

Fantasy Alarm

195

14.13

Josh Palmer, LAC, WR

Gaming Talent

196

14.14

Tyler Bass, BUF, K

DFS Karma

197

15.1

Austin Hooper, CLE, TE

DFS Karma

198

15.2

Ryan Succop, TB, K

Gaming Talent

199

15.3

Gerald Everett, SEA, TE

Fantasy Alarm

200

15.4

Kenneth Gainwell, PHI, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

201

15.5

Le’Veon Bell, KC, RB

Fantasy Data

202

15.6

Jacksonville Jaguars, JAX, DST

CBS Sports

203

15.7

Sammy Watkins, BAL, WR

Trophy Smack

204

15.8

Salvon Ahmed, MIA, RB

Yahoo Sports

205

15.9

New England Patriots, NE, DST

NBC Sports Edge

206

15.1

Terrace Marshall Jr., CAR, WR

PrizePicks

207

15.11

Robbie Gould, SF, K

Fanjections

208

15.12

Greg Zuerlein, DAL, K

TeamRankings

209

15.13

Cleveland Browns, CLE, DST

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

210

15.14

New Orleans Saints, NO, DST

Vela Wood

211

16.1

Tyrell Williams, DET, WR

Vela Wood

212

16.2

Matt Prater, ARI, K

Sherpa Fantasy Sports

213

16.3

Denver Broncos, DEN, DST

TeamRankings

214

16.4

Allen Lazard, GB, WR

Fanjections

215

16.5

Javian Hawkins, ATL, RB

PrizePicks

216

16.6

Daniel Carlson, LV, K

NBC Sports Edge

217

16.7

Jason Sanders, MIA, K

Yahoo Sports

218

16.8

Joshua Kelley, LAC, RB

Trophy Smack

219

16.9

Matt Gay, LAR, K

CBS Sports

220

16.1

Nico Collins, HOU, WR

Fantasy Data

221

16.11

Mark Ingram, HOU, RB

Hall Of Fantasy League

222

16.12

Joey Slye, CAR, K

Fantasy Alarm

223

16.13

Carlos Hyde, JAX, RB

Gaming Talent

224

16.14

Justin Jackson, LAC, RB

DFS Karma

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