There’s only a few things in life that are guaranteed. Taxes, death, NFL players getting injured and the ‘rule of 16’. 

Here at 5 Yard Rush we have one steadfast rule when drafting. Players have to, no, must play 16 games thought the fantasy year. This stat is vitally important when drafting a consistently good team. It will ensure your not left high and dry at the most important time. Take Melvin Gordon for instance last year, missed the London game, missed week 13 and is looking likely to miss week 14. Sure you can draft the handcuff to your round one running back but that is a draft spot which you could use on stacking the team with depth. Staying in Los Angeles, (why leave, it’s warm) let’s consider Austin Ekeler as a draft pick at the start of the season. He is currently as of print the 23rd ranked running back. A rb2, and with Gordon now missing time he is a high rb2 with upside. When Gordon is fit, Ekeler is the Tevin Coleman to Devonta Freeman replica. He has stand alone value and although may not have been drafted in home leagues, in competitive leagues he will have been drafted. Eckler’s ADP was 164 as of this is in the realms of Courtland Sutton, Geronimo Allison and Mitch Trubisky. Hand on my heart I can say I would have taken all of those stated players before Ekeler. This is because I don’t draft handcuffs. Not only that but I would have seen better draft value in the others than Ekeler. 

By drafting a player that plays to the ‘Rule of 16’ makes the way you play the waiver wire more productive. You’ll be less reliant on adding players of need and it gives you a better shot at adding a player with upside knowing that your starters are locked in week to week and offer you a safer floor, allowing the boom waiver wire adds to do just that, boom. 

Injuries happen, this as stated in the title is inevitable. By researching players games played on a season bases and seeing who readily plays 16 will allow for those home run players later in the draft. Kamara and Beckham or Gordon and Thomas? On paper they both seem fine. Great even. But by taking Kamara and Beckham you almost guaranteed 16 games. Sure Beckham was Injured last year but that was a freak ankle injury. Then draft for upside in the later rounds.

Now in true 5 Yard Rush style, here are a list of players that we would never consider based on their ADP (Average Draft Position). Should they slip a round or two, then they might be worth that gamble, but not where they are usually forecasted, to name a few:

Leonard Fournette
Dalvin Cook
Jerick McKinnon
Greg Olsen
Joe Mixon
Zach Miller
Tyler Eifert
Hunter Henry
Will Fuller V
Sammy Watkins
Melvin Gordon
Jay Ajayi

We are now going to blow your mind and tell you the Tight Ends are the most valuable position in fantasy football. There are no ifs or buts. How many quarterbacks are there this year whom are serviceable? How many Wide Receivers have blown up and become fantasy mainstays? Running Backs are thinner but even the late second round picks are going well. Nick Chubb!! Late round speculative add has now cemented his place as the stud Running Back in Cleveland, albeit Carlos Hyde got traded but his skill level is much greater than Hyde and he would have surpassed Hyde eventually. Tight End, there are 2, maybe 3 that you can draft with confidence. Gronk? Not one of those 3. He doesn’t fit our model. This however is a piece for next week. Tune in to next week’s article for why Tight Ends should go even earlier. 
This is the first of a new weekly article that will be in addition to our weekly “Waiver Wire Grabs” article. If you haven’t already, then download and subscribe to the 5 Yard Rush Podcast, available on all good podcast outlets for more Waiver Wire/ Free Agency picks every week as well as other useful content to help you win your league. You can also fire off any questions to us on twitter @5yardrush.

Keep Rushing!