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With all the Black Friday ads, you might have missed this obituary….

The Stud RB Theory died in its home earlier this week after a long battle with the Zero RB Theory and fighting off complications arising from constant busts.

The loss of Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett earlier this past week proved to be fatal. Born in a simpler age, Stud RB Theory rose to prominence before the turn of the century, bringing smiles to all who applied it.

Stud RB Theory is survived by the memories of championships past. Memorial services will be held throughout this country at the conclusion of the Fantasy Football season when its owners who applied it will mourn the loss of another season along with the Stub RB Theory. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your league pot.

The true news however is that the Stud RB Theory has truly become a very weak strategy and you should think long and hard before utilizing it next year. I have discussed how the top RBs have not provided value in both the ¼ pole and ½ way point article, but a quick review of the top dozen RBs drafted reveals a very startling and disappointing result: A success rate of not even 10%.

Just Who Are the Studs in Stud Running Back Theory?

The fact that Lamar Miller, who didn’t score a TD until week 6 and now finds Jay Ajayi cutting into this carries, is currently a top five RB speaks volume about the state of running backs (especially first rounders) in Fantasy Football. Right behind Miller are Doug Martin and Danny Woodhead, both who had ADPs when many owners were drafting bench players.

The success story of course is Adrian Peterson, who is the only Running Back that has returned first round value for Stud RB Theory subscribers. And depending on your scoring, he still only has about 2/3 of the points of top RB Devonta Freeman, who typically went in the late rounds or possibly undrafted in your league.

I won’t belabor the point anymore, because it is not like you can’t find quality WRs late in your draft because…

WR3 and WR4 are People too!

Every year, players that are typically listed as the third and fourth receivers on the depth chart rise up and become Fantasy stars. Travis Benjamin, Rishard Matthews, and James Jones are all top 25 WRs right now in a PPR league this year, and none were listed as a WR1 or WR2 to start the season.

And realize that excludes players like Stefon Diggs, who is averaging double digit points on the season, but since the Vikings bye, when he became featured, he has averaged over 15 PPR points since.

Moreover, if we look at any given week, it becomes even more dramatic. And we’ll discount guys like Benjamin and Diggs who have risen to the WR2/WR1 position, but check out this abbreviated list of “superstar” WR3/WR4s who have finished in the top 25 in a given week since the bye weeks started:

JJ Nelson, Chris Hogan, Marquess Wilson, Dwayne Harris, Chris Givens, Bryan Walters (Even I was surprised to see he’s done it twice!), Chris Conley, Lance Moore, Jalen Strong, Josh Huff….Need I go on?

Some of these guys are going to be next year’s sleeper picks (I loved Wilson coming into the year and like him even more next; and I also like Chris Conley next year). Yet, for those of you who are still active in your quest for a Super Bowl who might need to make a “Hail Mary” pick when your WR stud is out, realize that it can be done.

Speaking of picks that can work out, this time of the season is a great time to evaluate what you got right and what you didn’t….

“Sometimes I even amaze myself…”

Yes, I am quoting Han Solo, but if a cosmetics company can attach itself to Star Wars, why can’t I? I know some of it’s luck. Nonetheless, I amazingly find myself in the mix for the playoffs in every one of my leagues, including currently three No. 1 seeds.  Like Princess Leia, you might not think that’s very hard, but it is worth learning that many of my preseason predictions I’ve made here on SCFE have been successful.

To be fair, we’ll start with one that has had some mixed results:

Back in September, I made this prediction here;

“The Steelers probably won’t be the worst defense this year, but I would stay far, far away from them. Well, unless I am looking at whom my offensive players play this season.”

I’m a bad news first kind of guy, so the truth is that the Steelers, buoyed by their six sack performance against Cleveland last week are currently a Top 10 fantasy defense. On the flip side, the Steelers are ranked 12th in allowing Fantasy points.

I also was on the Doug Martin bandwagon early. He has rewarded my faith in him with over 900 rushing yards already and the fifth best running back in Fantasy Football.

In that same article I also predicted a bounce-back season from Larry Fitzgerald, who has responded with over 900 receiving yards and 7 TDS already, making him a top five WR. Not bad for a player even you Stud RB Theory folks could have grabbed easily.

But where I might have really excelled is my QB predictions. I recommended a number of underrated QBs back in July. How have they each done?

-I said the reports of Brees demise have greatly been exaggerated and he’s responded with simply another season on pace for more than 30 TDs and greater than 4,000 passing yards.

-For those in 2-QB leagues, I also was high on Tyrod Taylor back in July before many were. While has he faded recently, he was a Top 5 QB through the first five weeks of the season and with three NFC East teams on tap during the FFL playoffs, I would not hesitate to roll him out.

-And I might have saved the best for last in that article recommending Derek Carr to those in standard leagues. How has he done? His 21 passing TDs and nearly 12 yards per completion rate has him ranked as a Top 10 quarterback.

Perhaps you think predicting strong seasons from Brees and Carr was easy, but I also went out on a real limb in our bold predictions, claiming that Brock Osweiler would be a viable fantasy starter. As last week’s 250 yard and two passing TD performance suggests, I was not wrong.

Despite my success, I will leave you with a final learning that has been underscored this year:  the only predictable thing is unpredictability. I was wrong because I loved Flacco as a sleeper. One reason was that unlike most other QBs, Flacco had a “death and taxes” Favre-like streak of 112 games started. But of course you know what happened last week.

Something for you to keep in mind; even for those who refuse to abandon the Stud RB Theory.

Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg remembers making Jerry Rice his first round selection as well as taking a flyer on a young pitcher named Doug Drabek. His Fantasy analysis has spanned multiple sports including football, baseball, basketball, and even golf. A FSWA finalist, his fantasy analysis has been featured in various outlets including but not limited to, USA Today national magazines, Yahoo! and RotoExperts.

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