Redraft Leagues: Drafting Outside the Box

Nick DarinContributor IJune 18, 2009

HONOLULU, HI - FEBRUARY 08: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the NFC All-Stars Arizona Cardinals leaps and catches a 2 yard touchdown pass while covered by cornerback Cortland Finnegan #31 of the AFC All-Stars Tennessee Titans in the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on February 8, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The NFC defeated the AFC 30-21. (Photo by Paul Spinelli/Getty Images)

The redraft league is the most common type of fantasy football league. There are no long-term commitments and even the casual fan can get into it with out much knowledge.

The age-old theory is draft running backs and then when you are done, draft more running backs. The “Running Back Stud Theory” as it is coined by some of the fantasy football magazines out there. 

Now, I am not suggesting that this idea doesn’t work, because if you drafted Adrian Peterson or Brian Westbrook, then took Michael Turner, and followed that up with the committee back DeAngelo Williams, you looked like a genius and most likely walked all the way to the Super Bowl. 

But the scenario I just laid out would have taken tons of luck and some brain dead owners in your league. 

To counter the running back stud theory, I'm suggesting that the trend has now shifted much as it has shifted in the NFL—teams no longer rely on one back to carry the load and those teams that do quickly found out that you need a good backup in case of an injury. 

Take the Rams for example. Steven Jackson goes down and they have no one—well, there went their season.

More and more teams are moving towards the running back by committee leaving fantasy owners to guess who is going to score the touchdowns and who is going to get the most touches. 


Almost every NFL team has only one good WR. Arizona is pretty much the only NFL team with two legit all-stars.

I am sure everyone can say well this guy or that guy, but sit and think would Wes Welker catch 100 balls if Moss wasn’t there? Yes, Welker is a viable fantasy option but would you choose him to be your No. 1? I sure wouldn't. 

People such as Larry Fitzgerald, Andre and Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, and Anquan Boldin are the cream of the crop. 

When you pick in your fantasy drafts in a ten-team league I would venture to say that at least six of the top 10 are running backs. This year, after Adrian Peterson every running back has a huge question mark in one area or another. I am not going to take time to break them all down maybe I'll do that in a future article if the demand is there. 

The top wide receivers don't have a lot of question marks. I think the only one with a question mark is Calvin Johnson and that is because the unknown quarterback situation.  Other than that there is very little to worry about there.    


So my suggestion is to create the apply a new theory, Wide Receiver Stud Theory. If your league allows trades pre-draft, try to move down if you’re picking anywhere other than No. 1.

If you’re able to, take Fitzgerald at around eight or so and then in round two, grab Andre Johnson. You’re looking at two of the top wideouts no questions asked. 

Now, you will not get premium backs. Think about it though: In the 3rd and 4th rounds you should be able to get running backs such as Ronnie Brown, Earnest Graham, Darren McFadden, Chris Wells, and Knowshon Moreno. You’re taking the same risk as the running back stud theory guy but you have two near-sure things as opposed to one. 


The bottom line to the redraft league draft is rounds 3-9. In those rounds you have to pick the guys that are over looked that are going to do well or you find the diamond in the rough. Players like DeAngelo Williams and Michael Turner were not picked in the top two rounds in last year's redraft leagues.

One of the main reasons I feel that selecting wideouts is a safe plan is that the stud wideouts are always going to get some yards and they should score touchdowns at a similar rate to many running backs.

Their injury potential is much lower than a running back. Stud wideouts will, at most, face a double-team, stud backs will be met by eight-man defensive fronts.  Defensive strategy almost always begins with stopping the running game and then forcing the offense to pass.   

Sometimes thinking outside the box will allow you to gain a huge advantage over your fellow owners. If you’re sitting there with three stud wideouts you instantly have a nice asset to trade for one of those elite backs.

Just think back to last year: There were about six wideouts that couldn’t be had for anything ( Fitz, Boldin, Marshall, Andre and Calvin Johnson, and Steve Smith.) 

For running backs that number was cut in half (AP, DeAngelo, and Turner).

Now you may disagree with how I feel about some of these players or how I ranked them, but I do think the idea of wideouts gaining value is valid.

Think about the teams that won your league last year who were their key players. In my leagues the common players were Fitzgerald and Marshall—Fluke, I think not.  


Check out my dynasty articles as well and let me know if there is something else you would like me to write on.