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Welcome to part three and the final article in this series. In part one, I discussed why implementing the zero RB theory is a HUGE mistake. In part two, I detailed some of the strategy/considerations in using the Zero WR Theory, but let’s go through an actual application of it by doing a mock draft using Zero WR Theory.

To do so, we will use Fantasy Pros Draft Wizard which includes their Draft Simulator suite. This includes their mock draft capability which allows you to mock literally in minutes by using updated experts rankings. The bells and whistles is what makes it better than most. You can see for example “recommended overall picks” or “choose by position only.” You can see the probability that a player will be there on your next pick. And while I did not use it for this exercise, their “revert pick” feature is an interesting option. It allows you to go back and see how the draft unfolds should you think twice about a pick.

Fantasy Pros post mock-analysis is comprehensive as well. In addition to evaluating your draft, as well as a ranking of starters and bench, it provides expected final standings. It also shows you which teams (and specific picks) had the most reaches, steals, and so forth.

I went through a number of derivations to do a mock draft using Zero WR Theory. I wish I could show you all of them, but unfortunately, I can’t. However, I will show you the most recent one as I think it might be the “truest” of them all. I had one where quarterbacks went in the first round, or I had another where RBs were five of the first seven picks. I don’t think either of those are likely for an example. The chosen mock draft using Zero WR Theory was from the 10th spot, which is a very fair spot to evaluate the Zero WR Theory.

So, let’s see how it went down:

Mock Draft using Zero WR Theory

Background

So I went with a PPR league (which tilts in the direction of WRs) with a flex spot but also 3 starting WRs. If you can only start two RBs, the Zero WR Theory is still useable but less valuable than those where you can start three RB. However, I kept the starting three WR restriction as well since those are the leagues where many might question using the Zero WR Theory the most.

Recall that I am drafting from the tenth spot in a 12-team league. I deemed this a fair slot to mock draft using the Zero WR Theory: there is often a good mix of players that have already been taken, and at least three RBs and three WRs are gone by this point typically. This is also a good spot to pick Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately, just like an unpredictable real draft, he went two picks beforehand.

 

1st Round

I am more than happy to pick Ezekiel Elliott here, who should be an absolute stud this year. Maybe in your draft Elliot doesn’t fall this far and instead goes in front of Devonta Freeman. However, I would argue that DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green would probably go before the 10th pick as well, so I feel both positive and justified in the Elliot pick.

2nd Round

2nd pick is Jamaal Charles. Charles was actually a pretty common second round pick when doing a mock draft using the Zero WR Theory. He ended up being my 2nd round pick probably 60% of the time, especially when I picked in the middle of the round. Even if Charles “only” sees 250 carries and catches, please recall that he has one of the highest YPC in history. And realize that includes QBs….

Rank Player Y/A
1 Michael Vick 7
2 Randall Cunningham 6.4
3 Marion Motley 5.7
4 Jamaal Charles 5.5
5 Jim Brown 5.2
6 Mercury Morris 5.1
7 Joe Perry 5
Gale Sayers 5
Barry Sanders 5
10 Adrian Peterson 4.9
Napoleon Kaufman 4.9
Paul Lowe 4.9

 

Charles can win you a week single-handedly; Charles plus Elliot gives me two 3-down backs. So far I’m very happy.

3rd Round

I went with Carlos Hyde. Hyde should get at least 20 touches if not 20 carries a game. He’s an easy 3rd round pick to make.

4th Round

With 17 RBs off the board, I’m not liking the value on the board at RB. Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton are gone; it’s tempting to grab Andrew Luck. I probably should, but coming off an injury he scares me. I decide to grab a WR. A few guys I like here. I like Cam Newton’s go to receiver in Kelvin Benjamin despite the injury. Despite the likely regression, I like Russell Wilson’s favorite receiver Doug Baldwin. Jarvis Landry is a PPR machine, so he’s tempting too.  Randall Cobb gets serious consideration as I think he bounces back. As I mentioned in part two, I expect Green Bay’s offense to bounce back. But given how difficult it is to grab a WR1 with Zero WR Theory, I go with Benjamin.

5th Round

A bunch of QBs get taken and so do many quality WRs including the aforementioned Landry and Cobb, but Baldwin remains. Yes, he’s going to regress, but 58th overall seems about right.

6th Round

All three Arizona WRs are glowing and buzzing like a neon light. But those lights all overshadow one another. I like the upside of Donte Moncrief, especially with Luck back this year. and He’s the pick. My two previous WR picks are from teams who might pass less in 2016. I wanted to have at least one of my three starting WRs on a team whom I think will pass more.

So my top three WRs are Benjamin, Baldwin, and Moncrief. Rock solid studs? No. But given that 18 WRs went before I picked my first WR and 28 (26 not counting my first two) before I took my third in this 3-WR draft, I’ll take it.

7th Round

The value at WR stinks; for that matter so does the value at RB. The seventh round seems too early to take Tony Romo or Eli Manning. Yeah, Gary Barnidge is worth a roll of the dice here as I’m not convinced of any of the other targets in Cleveland. Maybe Ladarius Green, who is available, is a better pick here and I won’t argue with you. But now seems like a good time to grab one of those two TEs.

8th Round

I have a starting line-up’s worth of WR and RBs:

So I decide to grab some depth. Many of your Zero RB Theorists will  be getting their third RB here, but I like that I’m picking for RB depth at this spot. And I do. Despite all the bodies, I still think Ameer Abdullah gets the lions share of carries in Detroit. As an eighth round pick, I’m willing to gamble I’m right.

And seeing Abdullah’s shiftiness in this clip makes me feel even better:

9th Round

Justin Forsett is tempting and so are Steve Smith and Markus Wheaton. But compared to his ADP, the value at QB dictates the pick. Fine, Eli, you can play on our team. Sigh….

10th Round

Wow. Given that WR is a weakness for my team, but I can get a WR1 who not even two seasons ago had over 1,000 yards, and I can get that in the tenth round? I’m not building a dynasty team—hell yeah, Senior, you can play on our team. And remember what Trestman’s healthy WR1 numbers look like?

NAME Games Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FP PPR Rank
2013 Brandon Marshall 16 6.3 80.9 0.75 18.8 6
2014 Alshon Jeffery 16 5.3 70.8 0.63 16.4 10

 

Expect Steve Smith to be a very popular pick for those using Zero WR Theory.

11th Round

Things are starting to get ugly and I really don’t like my options here nor do I like the pick I make, but I got to go with the expert consensus and value pick of Laquan Treadwell. Other potential picks I could have grabbed? They include Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett, two WRs on offenses I expect to rebound this year.

12th Round

Not really liking the value at WR, so I grab Theo Riddick to “cuff” Abdullah, giving me some serious RB options at Flex and/or to trade.

13th Round

Again, not liking the options very much, but feel like I need to bolster my WR corps with something. That will happen whether real drafting or mock draft using the Zero WR Theory. I grab Terrance Williams. As I said in part two, when you use the Zero WR Theory, you are going to have to grab some WR2s. If Romo plays, I expect Williams can be a serviceable WR2.

14th Round

We are getting really thin and since I really hate the skill position player value right now, I take the top ranked D on the board, the Rams. If you like the Jets, Bengals, or Chiefs better here, they would be the pick.

15th Round

Second to last round and I am waiting to take a kicker and there is still value at QB with little to none at either WR or RB. Given my begrudging pick of Eli earlier, I decide to back him up with Marcus Mariota. Might have been smarter to pick a cuff for Hyde or maybe grab another WR. Probably not the best pick, but remember this come analysis time.

16th Round

Mason Crosby is my kicker.  I like Justin Tucker, who is available, just as much. But I don’t care. Do you?

Final Board

Here’s what the final board looks like:

ZeroWRTheoryMockResults-650x744

Click on image to see a larger version of this table

 

What do you think?

Mock Draft Using Zero WR Theory: Analysis

I’ll tell you what the experts think. I got a 94 out of 100 or an “A.” I have the third best starters, the best bench, and my team is projected to finish first. This is despite having the 10th and 11th best QB and WRs. What is also stellar is that my flex is considered tops in the league.

I also used my draft capital well. When looking at the draft anlaysis section, I am one of just two teams that had zero “reaches”—players picked two or more rounds “too early.” I am also just one of two teams that has two “steals”—players picked two or more rounds later than expected. Of course they are both my quarterbacks.
So maybe the Zero WR Theory needs to be supplemented with a sound QB strategy. I’m comfortable with the caveat. How comfortable am I? By doing this mock draft using Zero WR Theory, I now plan on using the strategy quite a few times this upcoming season!

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