My 2023 dynasty fantasy football campaign was one of my best ever. My non-RB positions were battened down by Jalen Hurts (QB), Tyreek Hill, Mike EvansDeebo Samuel and Brandin Cooks (WRs), and Evan Engram and Dalton Kincaid (TE). My team scored the most regular fantasy football season fantasy points and went to the championship game. The other team blew it out in the championship game so the final score was 170.9 to 137.2 and my team came in 2nd.

Going into the 2023 season my team's greatest weakness was running back. I explained my strategy for how I planned to address my RB1 need in these articles:

My Dynasty FF Team Needs An RB1: Written May of last year. By turning the focus on maximizing the value of my team, I concluded it was best to do nothing at that time so that my draft picks would continue to increase in value and so that the decisions that I would inevitably make later would be more certain.

How To Add An RB1 To Your FF Dynasty Team: This article goes deep comparing a running back's long term value to his average draft position. Historically RBs peaked in value their sophomore year, leveled out through their 6th year, and plummeted their 7th year. Only picks 1.01 and 1.02 (in a rookie draft) had a good probability of landing a top RB. Therefore, I opted to target undervalued sophomore handcuffs behind older running backs that I thought would tank soon. I ended up targeting sophomore backs Jerome Ford (behind Nick Chubb, Cle), Brian Robinson (behind Antonio Gibson, Wsh) and James Cook.

Dynasty Draft Strategy: A Tale of Ten Trades: This article explains how through a total of ten trades, I added James Cook, Brian Robinson, Jerome Ford, two 1st round picks and more, while giving up Miles Sanders, Rashaad Penny, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Leonard Fournette.

My RB corps going into the 2023 season ended up being James Cook, Jerome Ford, Brian Robinson, Cam AkersTyler Allgeier and Joshua Kelly. Basically it could be described as a running-back-by-committee of mostly young RB2s.

I did not get my RB1, or did I?

Okay, I will say right here, my running back squad is not anything to boast about, but it was sufficient, and it cost me virtually nothing. And even if I had had Christian McCaffrey on my roster, my fantasy season would not have turned out differently.

For this article I have done a deep dive analysis on the RB squads of all teams in the league. Specifically I looked at the average fantasy points per RB starter on each team, and how my team ranked compared with the other teams. The detailed chart that I created is at the end of this article.

The range of average fantasy points per starting RB per team was from 8.26 to 16.64. In our league we can start 2 or 3 RBs, scoring is PPR. (We also start 1 QB, 3 or 4 WRs, 1 or 2 TEs, 1 K and 1 DST, for a total of 10 starters.)

My average starting RB scored 11.88 fantasy points. This was the 9th best average in the league, just below the middle of the pack.

The team that won the championship had a lower average per RB start than my team, 11.46, 11th best in the league.

The team that was just below my average, 11.54 fantasy points per RB start (10th best), drafted Bijan Robinson with the 1.01 pick in 2023, Kenneth Walker III with the 1.01 pick in 2022 and Cam Akers with the 1.03 pick in 2020.

Do you see what I am getting at here? First, the top two teams in the league, mine, and the team that won the championship, did not have a strong RB corps, 9th and 11th best in the league. Second, just because one spends a lot of draft capital focused on RBs does not guarantee a top RB corps.

Here is another view that shows Total Fantasy Points vs Average RB Starter Fantasy Points per team:

The two teams that came in 1st and 2nd place in the league and had the 1st and 2nd highest total fantasy points had the 9th and 11th ranked average fantasy points from their RB starters. The team that had the highest RB starter average fantasy points only had the 6th highest total fantasy points in the league.

The team that spent the highest draft capital on RBs in the last four years (two 1.01 picks and one 1.03 pick) had the 10th ranked average fantasy points per RB starter and came in 10th for total fantasy points last year (around 1800 total fantasy points).

Finally, while I didn't get an identifiable RB1, my RB2s by committee almost gave me an RB1. Specifically over the 14-week regular season, my team had nine RB1 performances. Specifically:

  • James Cook was a top-12 RB starter 4 times last year. He ranked 9th, 8th, 7th and 3rd in Weeks 2, 4, 7 and 14 respectively.
  • Brian Robinson was a top-12 RB starter 3 times last year. He ranked 1st, 10th, and 7th in Weeks 2, 4 and 11 respectively.
  • Jerome Ford was a top-12 RB starter 2 times last year. He ranked 8th and 12th in Weeks 7 and 13 respectively.

No single one of my RBs dominated, but it was an RB1 by committee.

I conclude from this is that in my league, RBs are overvalued as a whole. There is certainly nothing wrong with having a solid RB back field to work with, but when the back field comes at the cost of compromising other positions or overpaying, it is not the best strategy for managing a dynasty team.

RB is still a weak position for my team, but I have a nice core of young RBs and I have a ton of draft picks for 2024: 1.06, 1.09, 2.02, 2.04, 2.11, 3.02, 3.04, 3.07 and 3.12. (How I ended up with all those draft picks could be the topic of another article.) 

I have yet to formulate my strategy for addressing the needs of my team in 2024. I suspect it will be a little of the same as last year and a little of looking for RB talent from the draft. I don't feel the need (yet) to go out and simply buy an RB1. My goal will be to have more RB1 performances from my RB corps in 2024 than I did in 2023. However, despite my ongoing need for an RB1, I will continue to follow the strategy I presented in How to Win Your Dynasty League, which focusses on efficient use of draft picks.

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