Running backs typically are the position drafted first in fantasy drafts, even though over the past 15 years the majority of the highest scoring position players have been Quarterbacks. Why then do people typically draft Running Backs instead of Quarterbacks first? There are a couple of reasons:
- The drop off from the Top Running Backs to the secondary ones is very large and can be the difference between winning and losing. For example look at the difference between the Top Ranked Running Back and the Second Ranked Running Back, it is almost 2.5 points per game, and the difference is almost 5 points per game from the Top Ranked Running Back to the Fifth Ranked Running Back. That is a substantial difference and is the reason why you want to get 1 of the top Running Backs. In contrast, once you get past the first Quarterback, to find the Quarterback that is 3 points less than the Second Ranked Quarterback you would have to go all the way down to the Ninth Ranked Quarterback. So you can see that if you do not get the Top Ranked Quarterback then the impact from QBs 2 through 9 is comparable to going from the Top Ranked Running Back to the Second Ranked Running Back.
- Most Fantasy leagues require you to start 2 Running Backs as opposed to 1 Quarterback so you need to draft a Running Back with one of your TOP 2 Picks.
A couple of other observations:
- You should draft 1 of the Top 5 Wide Receivers because after that their production starts to slip pretty quickly.
- The Top 10 Kickers average within 2 points of each other so you can definitely wait until later rounds to draft one, and the difference from Kicker 1 to Kicker 10 is not that great. It is less than from Running Back 1 to Running Back 2.
- Tight Ends are not big producers, but once you get past the Top 10 then they produce only about 2/3 of the points as the Top 3. So if you do not get one of the Top 3 it will not ruin you, but it is best to try and draft one of the Top 5 tight ends.
These rankings are based on position averages over the past 15 NFL Seasons so if a player has one great season (such as Tom Brady in 2007) it can make the point difference, between position rankings, a little skewed. For the most part though, over the past 15 years, the positions follow this ranking fairly consistently.