In the Fantasy Football World Championship, a Fantasy owner needs to start two RBs, three WRs, and two Flex players. The added length to the starting lineup by one player requires Fantasy owners to be creative when building their roster. It puts a premium on the depth of the wide receiver position.
As we work through the final Fantasy points for the top 24 RBs and top 48 WRs, it is pretty easy to see most teams in this format will start WRs at the first flex position. Here’s a look at the RB3 and TE2 scores again plus the WR5 over the last four years just for comparison for the second Flex position:
Last year 43 wide receivers outscored the top RB3 options, and 48 wide receivers had more points than the top TE2 options. The best team structures in most PPR leagues is to start two RBs and four WRs with an occasional RB or TE delivering enough value over the course of the season to be starter worthy. The second Flex position in the FFWC will come from a mixture of RBs, WRs, and TEs with each Fantasy owner finding short terms options at different times of the year due to injuries.
In 2017, only five wide receivers finished as the top plays at the first flex position with a high of 157.5 Fantasy points and a low of 145.4 Fantasy points. The previous year, 12 WRs filled the Flex1 bucket. Here’s a look at the drop-down if your league uses a second flex position:
The goal for a Fantasy owner is to find a flex two options that will average over ten Fantasy points per week while making sure his top two RBs average close to 30 Fantasy points per week. Last season the top options to play at the second flex position came from WR5s and RB3 (six each).
When reviewing the data in this series of articles, some Fantasy owners may conclude that I’m making the case to be RB strong in the early rounds of the draft. I know for a fact a team that wins an overall championship in the FFWC will need two solid RBs plus a third serviceable option. Draft position dictates opportunity.
The change in player flow in drafts over the last few years allows Fantasy owners to roster a starting RB in the 5th or 6th round as Fantasy owners have adjusted their draft style based on the rising value of the WR position.
To have success at the backend of your Fantasy roster, a Fantasy owner needs to identify upside opportunities at the RB, WR, and TE. Many of the upside RB opportunities in-season will come from injuries to starting RBs.
The RB position turned in many boring seasons in 2015 leading to WRs being the position of choice for many Fantasy owners in the 2016 draft season. In 2016, the RB position regained its form thanks to the elite play by David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott with follow through in 2017. Three-down backs with high scoring ability have plus value in the Fantasy market, but there are limited options each season. This rise of the front RBs does create a pitter patter in the hearts of Fantasy owners when making their other decision for their lead RBs.
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If a Fantasy owner decides to draft three RBs early, he needs to make sure he doesn’t end up with three players with league average value for the RB position. One player has to deliver a separator score and a second has to beat the second group of WR2s.
A team that selects an elite running back with value on every down plus TDs has a definite edge to the start of their team in most Fantasy seasons. This season Fantasy drafts will be front-loaded at RB, which will allow the top picks to gain strength as well at WR1 and WR2 on the 2/3 turn.
The team drafting an elite WR in the middle of round one will need to decide what is the best path to land the highest upside RB/WR combinations over the next three or so rounds. The wide option in 2017 will have a wide range of value and opinions by Fantasy owners on draft day, so a Fantasy owner will need to be quick in his decision making when on the clock.
The front of the draft sets up so many outs on the 2/3 and 4/5 turns where value is a big part in the decision making of Fantasy owners.
Either way, a Fantasy owner in a league with dual Flex positions will require a Fantasy owner to load up at the WR position during the draft. Even with a ton of WRs, a team can’t win an overall championship without finding a way to build a solid base of RBs. The RB position will be full of ups and downs with a minefield of risk due to the higher volume of injuries, but the overall talent at the RB position continues to improve heading into 2018 while Fantasy owners wait for the next wave of elite WRs.
If you would like to see the full offensive projections, they can be found here.
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