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When it comes to fantasy football, I will play any format, standard, DFS, Head-to-Head, rotisserie style. There’s no question that one of my favorites and one of the most popular is PPR or points-per-reception. In this format players are rewarded with a half-point or a full point (other leagues may vary) for each reception.
In this format, the emphasis is on the pass-catching players; wide receivers, tight ends and 3rd down running backs. The PPR studs are the guys fantasy owners can count on to see a heavy volume of targets and receptions throughout the season.
Now you have your top tier elite PPR running back ballers in the Cardinals David Johnson and the Steelers Le’Veon Bell, and below them on the pecking order are the backs a couple of tiers down that specialize at the passing game.
At the top of this (my) list for such candidates include; for one the new Ravens running back Danny Woodhead. When he was in San Diego, Woodhead was featured in the passing attack. Last season Woodhead’s season was cut short to two games, but back in 2015 when he played all 16, he lead all running backs with 106 targets and tied for the most receptions with 80. If he can stay healthy, which has been an issue in recent years, no question he’s a PPR stud.
Another capable pass-catcher out of the backfield includes the Lions running back Theo Riddick. In 2015 Riddick tied with Woodhead with 80 receptions (on 99 targets) to lead all running backs and again in 2016, he was a top 10 running back in targets with 67. Despite only touching the ball 159 times last season, Riddick still finished as the number 25 running back in PPR.
Without a doubt an up and comer in the PPR fantasy world is the Browns 2nd year running back Duke Johnson. The kid out of Miami University has proven to be excellent out of the backfield totaling 74 targets in each of his first two seasons finishing with 114 receptions, finishing only behind Theo Riddick (133 receptions), Devonta Freeman (127 receptions), and David Johnson (116 receptions) over that same span. The word is Duke is expected to be even more involved this season; can you say upside.
Now this back is a bit of sneaky play and one you can likely get at great value. The Jets running back Bilal Powell is coming off the board around the 6th round as the RB28 (according to FFC). Over the past season Powell has seen 137 targets and hauled in 105 balls, making him a prime value PPR play at his current ADP. The Jets are in rebuild mode and there’s just not much there right now, even with the presence of Matt Forte. Last season Powell saw 205 touches finishing as the number RB16 in PPR; would not surprise to see him equal of increase his touches in 2017.
Okay, with all of that shared and said, one more.
Perhaps a sleeper this year or a great late round value in fantasy drafts is the Giants running back Shane Vereen. There’s been nothing said or reported recently that should have anyone believing Vereen won’t be a part of the offense this season. Vereen has a current ADP of 13.07, coming off the board around the 13th round as the RB58. Vereen missed a lot of time last season which is likely why he is the forgotten man in New York, but back in 2015 he played in all 16 games finishing with 81 targets, 59 receptions, and a total of 120 touches; not a huge volume but good enough for Vereen to finish as the RB26 (flex play territory). Savvy Owners will be looking at him in the later rounds.
That’s My Take. ~David Ortega