After each season, it is important for fantasy players to be reflective. With the NFL constantly changing, it is important to see what strategies the winning teams in each league employed. Being reflective helps owners determine if strategies like Zero RB are worth employing.

Note: If you are not familiar with Apex Fantasy Football Money Leagues, all leagues employ 12-team, PPR scoring with 4 points per passing touchdown. The starting lineups require: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex, K, and D. For more information, visit our Rules.

Winning Players

These players were on 12% or more of the winning Apex teams:

PlayerPositionOwn %
Odell Beckham Jr.WR32.5%
Harry DouglasWR27.5%
Antonio GatesTE25.0%
Joique BellRB22.5%
Rob GronkowskiTE22.5%
Mike WallaceWR22.5%
Dez BryantWR20.0%
C.J. AndersonRB17.5%
Le'Veon BellRB17.5%
Jeremy HillRB17.5%
DeAndre HopkinsWR17.5%
Andre JohnsonWR17.5%
Jeremy MaclinWR17.5%
Latavius MurrayRB17.5%
Demaryius ThomasWR17.5%
Roddy WhiteWR17.5%
Fred JacksonRB15.0%
Eddie LacyRB15.0%
Ryan TannehillQB15.0%
Delanie WalkerTE15.0%
Russell WilsonQB15.0%
Antonio BrownWR12.5%
Eric DeckerWR12.5%
Julian EdelmanWR12.5%
Mike EvansWR12.5%
Frank GoreRB12.5%
Dan HerronRB12.5%
T.Y. HiltonWR12.5%
Alfred MorrisRB12.5%
DeMarco MurrayRB12.5%
Ben RoethlisbergerQB12.5%
Alex SmithQB12.5%
  • Odell Beckham Jr. tops the list by appearing on 32.5% of the winning teams. Does this mean if you draft ODB, you’re going to win 32.5% of the time? No. But it does mean if you can build a solid roster and pick up the highest scoring player for the last 10 weeks off the free agent wire, you give yourself a very good shot at winning your league.
  • Harry Douglas highlights what a quality pickup can do for an already solid roster. In Julio Jones’ absence, Douglas scored 20+ fantasy points in Weeks 13 and 15. Douglas isn’t a guy that I like from a talent standpoint but he receives consistent volume when Roddy White or Jones is absent.
  • It’s not always the young guys who make the difference. At a very shallow tight end position, Antonio Gates was a game changing pick this season. His average draft position was discounted to the 14th round because of concerns with Ladarius Green. Gates finished as the No. 3 scoring tight end for the season and rewarded his owners with 15+ fantasy points in three of his final four games.
  • Joique Bell, on average, was selected with the 4th pick of the 5th round. He provided owners with a running back that consistently produced, finishing as the No. 13 scoring running back. He was an inexpensive target of many Zero RB teams.
  • It isn’t surprising that the teams with Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski succeeded this season. Two of the only reliable tight ends, helped their owners gain a weekly advantage. Few players provide the weekly advantage that Rob Gronkowski does. Gronk provides his owners with a WR1 at a very week TE positon. He’s really good.
  • Dez Bryant is the most owned first round selection, helping 20% of his owners win championships. An elite talent, Dez led the league with 16 touchdowns. In the era of Zero RB, here’s more proof that taking a wide receiver in the first round can yield positive results.
  • To succeed with Zero RB, owners had to grab a solid running back. Three of the few game-breaking running backs this season are grouped together at 17.5% ownership: C.J. Anderson, Le’Veon Bell, and Jeremy Hill. Anderson is a prime example of the Peyton Manning effect. Le’Veon Bell jumped to become arguably the league’s best running back. Jeremy Hill was a Zero RB target that quickly proved he was more talented than Gio Bernard.
  • Another savvy pick up was Latavius Murray, who finished on 17.5% of winning teams. The waiver wire yields dividends for savvy owners.
  • Demaryius Thomas helped 17.5% of his fantasy teams win championships. He proved to be one of the best first round picks this season.
  • Once again, late round quarterback was the way to go this season. The most owned QBs on winning teams were Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill, at 15%. Both produced with inexpensive price tags. Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith follow at 12.5%. None of these quarterbacks were drafted before the 10th round.
  • When the NFL was a rushing league, workhorse running backs were the players to target early. With many teams using pass-heavy schemes and playing multiple running backs, it appears that drafting wide receivers early is a more dominant strategy.
  • The winning teams most frequently drafted from the sixth spot. Followed by a tie between 1st, 8th, and 9th. The fewest league winning teams drafted from 5th overall.