We have previously covered the zero RB strategy, but what about zero WR? Of course, zero WR is going to be most effective in a traditional scoring league with no points per reception. But can it work in a PPR league as well? Keep reading as we cover “Zero WR” from all angles and let you know how to best implement this fantasy football draft strategy.
Ironically, zero WR applies some of the same philosophies as zero RB. The point of loading up on running backs early in your draft is because they are both versatile, as well as risky. Given the inherent risk in running backs, the logic of zero RB is to not waste premium draft capital on a volatile position. And while this is true, it is also true that you will need at least two starting running backs and will likely be best off with a running back in your flex position.
So yes, you can get away with having just two running backs, but if they are borderline starters, you could be at an immediate disadvantage each week to your opponent at both RB positions and your flex. Instead, you can apply the zero WR strategy.
What Is Zero WR?
The basic idea of zero WR is to wait until the sixth round at the very earliest to draft a wide receiver. What this means for your team is you end up with an elite tight end, elite or near-elite quarterback, and a stockpile of running backs to deal with the war of attrition that is fantasy football.
Advantages of Zero WR
It may sound a little scary to not have any of the top-ranked wide receivers on your team. But the pool of wide receivers that have upside on any given week is much larger than the pool of running backs that offer the same upside. Starting caliber wide receivers are often found on the waiver wire, and while the same can be said about running backs, there is simply a higher volume of wide receivers available.
The overall idea is that the wide receiver is the best position to be weak at to start the season. Starting caliber tight ends are almost never found on the waiver wire, and securing one of the top guys will be a huge advantage over your opponent. And many teams will draft two quarterbacks, so it is often the case that the available quarterbacks on the waiver wire are nothing you want to put in your starting lineup.
With at least three running backs in the first five rounds, along with a top tight end and quarterback, your team has an excellent base to start from. Zero WR does require you to find gems on the waiver wire or target the right late-round wide receivers. So the strategy can only be employed by those committed to being on top of the waiver wire and doing the research required to find late WR sleepers.
Disadvantages of Zero WR
As with any strategy, this one isn’t without its downsides. One of these downsides is that drafting wide receivers at the top of the draft can be safer than drafting running backs. Running backs are at a higher risk for injury due to how many times they touch the ball, which leads to an equal amount of hard hits to the ground. But as we said earlier, that is also the exact reason why you need a stable of running backs on your team.
Another disadvantage is that you will most likely miss out on value at quarterback if you take one in the top five rounds. Now, if that quarterback is one of the top two guys and you can draft them in the third or fourth round, you will be in an excellent position. But if you wait until round five and take the fifth quarterback off the board, you would probably have been better off waiting until round ten to take a similarly talented QB.
Our suggestion is if you don’t like the value at QB, draft another running back. In most leagues, you can and should start at least three running backs. So you will need a good fourth RB to fill in on bye weeks and when injuries strike.
Can Zero WR Work With PPR?
It is unlikely unless you are a wide receiver wizard. With that said, it can be pulled off, but wide receivers have so much more value in PPR that it makes it difficult. Instead, you can try going with a one wide receiver approach when you see one that presents clear value.
Bottom Line on Zero WR
Zero WR is not for the faint of heart. If you want to draft a team full of safe players that have a high floor, and potentially a lower ceiling, stick to the BPA strategy: best player available. Going with the best player available is never a bad idea, but sometimes you need to zig while others are zagging. If you’re in a league with seasoned fantasy football players, you might want to change it up a bit and try a new strategy in order to gain an edge. If you can hit on late wide receiver sleepers and master the waiver wire, zero WR can be a championship-winning strategy.