March Mayhem

RB vs WR


It’s that time of the year again —  March Madness. No, this is not a bracket, and you will find zero material that is useful for your bracket in this article (which by the way, all your brackets will be eliminated on day 1.) As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of the tournament; listening to sports talk radio has become ear piercing with all this NCAA hoops talk, making my work commutes that much more miserable. I have nothing against basketball, I’m just not a fan of how the tournament takes over the world for two or three weeks (rant over).

Is everyone really a fan of college basketball, or is creating a bracket a trend or something to talk about at the water cooler? I question dynasty owners as well: is building your dynasty squad through wide receivers the most productive way or is it the new trend? (That’s called a segue). This article will take you on a journey through the ins and outs of how I cope with this March Madness nonsense.


Philosophy– A particular system based on such study or investigation

If you could form anything with a piece of clay, what would it be? Every owner should ask themselves that very question. When you build a roster whether it be a start-up draft, dispersal draft, or taking over an orphaned team, you have the opportunity to form that team into anything you desire.

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Over the last two or three years building a core group of elite wide receivers has seemingly been the popular way to start building a dynasty team. It’s hard to argue this philosophy with the longevity of the position and passing stats being at an all time high. Unless you’re participating in a start-up draft, acquiring a top 20 wide receiver will require you to over pay in terms of value.  Majority of teams do not have the talent pool to pry top tier players away from their owners.  In order for this philosophy to really dominate your league, you must be ahead of the curve (foreseeing talent) or have enough depth so you can afford to gut your team in a trade.

Is the grass greener on the other side? You will embark on this journey as I take one of my actual dynasty teams ($250) and transition it from a wide receiver driven philosophy into a running back driven philosophy. This philosophy is very similar to my wide receiver philosophy, my objective is to acquire 3 top 20 running backs, retaining just one top 20 wide receiver while taking a “plug and play” approach with the other two wide receiver positions in my lineup.



Seen below is my roster before this journey started, having zero value at the running back position but incredibly strong at wide receiver. This is a 12 team league with standard lineups: QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/WR/Flex(WR/RB/TE), PPR scoring, and 22 roster spots:

Roster Prior

The way this current roster is constructed it’s probably on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Percy Harvin was the wide receiver I elected to keep as my WR1 only based on value; I could get more in return for Keenan Allen and Demaryius Thomas. Thomas, Allen, and Harvin were all put on the block March 13th as their age all generated a fair amount of interest from other owners (Harvin being least attractive). The first move was trading Thomas away as follows:

Trade 1

I had a similar offer on the table of CJ Spiller, Vincent Jackson, and the 1.2.  I elected to take the more productive running back in Eddie Lacy. I would have been satisfied with either offer, as I also feel the value of Thomas was maximized. The next move was to trade away Allen. After a patient negotiation the goal was accomplished as follows:

Trade 2 Up.

Zac Stacy was my next target after Lacy.  Again, getting another promising young running back and landing Robert Woods in this deal was just an added bonus. With 2 of my 3 top 20 running backs in place my choices were: 1) Attempt to land my RB3 via the rookie draft or 2) Attempt to work another deal using the additional picks acquired. I chose the latter in moving the 1.12 as follows:

Trade 3

This was my least favorite deal, and I wasn’t thrilled to land Arian Foster as my RB3.  This should, however, give me a 2-3 year window to be a playoff contender. My plan before this trade was to use Woods as my WR3, but obviously that plan has changed.  I will look to use the 1.4 rookie pick(acquired in the Lacy deal) on a rookie WR as my 3rd and final wide-out. The new running back focused roster looks as follows:

Roster After


What I learned

I was stunned by the value I found in return for Thomas and Allen. With the trend leaning towards elite wide receivers, this was a simple example of supply and demand: with more owners valuing the wide receiver position rather then running back position, I put myself in a position to create a bidding war while having my choice of which running back I desired. This was a relativity easy process to accomplish, but of course it has its downfalls as well (James Starks resigning with Green Bay.)  As a Lacy and Jonathan Franklin owner this news irritated me, but I have zero plans to invest anything in Starks. I don’t recommend acquiring the handcuffs (in most cases).  I just happened to own Benny Cunningham and Franklin was a throw in.  I will keep Bilal Powell because Chris Ivory has a well-known injury history.



To retain sustained success using the running back philosophy you will be required to be more active as the turnover at the position is immense. Along with being active, you will need the ability to separate yourself from your top players as free agency creates a whirl wind of complicated situations whether it be a time share or handcuffs. Prioritizing running backs can be frustrating at times, but as you have seen throughout this process, other owners are willing to overpay for the elite wide-outs.  I wouldn’t recommend trading them away, but I suggest at least feeling the temperature on them.  You might be surprised.

This experiment has opened my mind as a dynasty owner.  There is always something to learn as a dynasty owner.  Just like General Managers throughout the NFL, you should never become complacent — always explore every avenue. There is no wrong way to build a dynasty team.

Enjoy your actual March Madness, no hard feelings!

-Eric Harrison/@FFPrimeTime




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