Although going Zero RB, or at least WR-WR to start your draft is incredibly popular, there are times where the draft simply doesn’t fall your way. If you draft enough times, it will happen to you at least once: You have a late first-round pick, and the only wide receivers available are the Jordy Nelson/Alshon Jeffrey/Mike Evans tier. However, you notice that a run on wideouts has left valuable running backs on the board. How should you proceed?

Round One: David Johnson

Our very own Mike Braude wrote an article back in June about how David Johnson should be the top running back off the boardand that was before Le’Veon Bell’s suspension. In the late first round, an uber talented running back on a top-tier offense shouldn’t be available. Take a look at his splits from Week Eleven and on, the first time he got 8+ carries and became the bell-cow:


Round Two: Lamar Miller

After Keenan Allen goes at the turn, you could feel that passing up another bell-cow who catches passes is too difficult. He is worthy of late first round consideration and is a running back to target early. 

On a team that rode Arian Foster into the ground, they didn’t sign Lamar Miller in free agency to let him split time with Alfred Blue. Miller has seen over 200 carries just once (216 in 2014), and he should see many more this season. The Texans play fast and finished fifth in the NFL in rush attempts last season. Miller hasn’t seen big workloads but he’s frequently been one of the league’s most efficient back.

YearPPR RB FinishRush Attempts RankRB Target Rank

If he can be a top-10 RB while having mid-RB2 touches, imagine if he were to receive massive workloads.

Round Three: Golden Tate

You’ve started RB-RB, and now you definitely need a wide receiver. But how are you going to compete with the guys who started off with Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks and TY Hilton? You need a guy at mid-WR2 price with WR1 opportunity. The best bet for that late in the third round is Golden Tate.

I’ve covered why Golden Tate is already a steal, and I think he’s the highest upside guy here. One may worry about the signing of Anquan Boldin, but an unseen plus to his arrival:

Round Four: Eric Decker

For someone who has been so consistently incredible, it’s odd Eric Decker isn’t getting more love. His ADP is in the 4th round, and the only time he’s been held under an 80/1,000/11 line is his injury-ravaged 2014, where he still managed a 74/962/5 finish.

He doesn’t exactly have a 100 catch or 1,500 yard upside, but he scores touchdowns like nobody’s business. Take a look at the only guys who have caught 40 touchdowns from 2011-2015:

Dez Bryant53
Brandon Marshall51
Calvin Johnson50
Eric Decker49
Jimmy Graham48
A.J. Green45
Demaryius Thomas45
Jordy Nelson43

Obviously Jimmy Graham (patellar tendon) and Calvin Johnson (retired) aren’t compelling fantasy options this year, but everyone else on that list consistently goes in the top two rounds.

Rounds 5-8: Coming Next Week