Fantasy Football: Which Players Should You Bump Up in PPR Leagues?
If you’re playing in a PPR league, there are a few things that you should know. One is that there are not as many adjustments to your rankings as you would expect. Things that need to be taken into account are those who typically score a majority of their fantasy points via the touchdown. Touchdowns cater to standard formats, while chain-movers cater to PPR formats. Another thing you should know is that you should try and avoid those who don’t see a lot of targets. It may sound obvious, but did you know that Donte Moncrief saw just 6.2 targets per game in 2016, which ranked 49th among wide receivers. That’s not very good for PPR when he’s being drafted as a top 30 wide receiver.
In the end, you don’t necessarily care about how they get points, you just want them to accumulate so that you can beat your co-worker Tom, who you secretly despise. To help you do just that, I’ve put together a list of players you should consider moving up your lists based on their previous track records. I’ll also toss in a few players who should be downgraded at the position.
Danny Woodhead (RB – LAC)
When drafting Woodhead, you don’t get the “I just won my league” feeling. I get it, I really do. But when playing fantasy football, put your personal feelings about a player’s talent level aside and look at cold hard facts. He’s finished as a top-25 PPR running back in four of the last seven years, including two top-12 finishes. His PPR finish is typically about 5-8 spots higher than his standard league finish. Add in the fact that the Ravens have now lost 393 targets from last season, Woodhead may finish 10 spots higher in PPR formats.
Theo Riddick (RB – DET)
Similar to Woodhead, Riddick isn’t used like your typical running back. He’s averaged 6.4 targets per game over the last two seasons, which would be more than Jeremy Maclin, Jamison Crowder, Anquan Boldin, and the aforementioned Donte Moncrief. The return of Ameer Abdullah actually increases his difference in PPR, as we’ve seen how he was used with Abdullah on the field in 2015. He saw 99 targets, turning them into 80 receptions for 697 yards and three touchdowns. He finished 18th in PPR formats that year, but 38th in standard leagues.
Duke Johnson (RB – CLE)
He may be a player being undervalued in both standard and PPR formats, as he’s being drafted outside of the top 36 running backs in both scoring settings. Over his first two years in the league, Johnson has totaled 148 targets, which ranks fifth among running backs. This offseason, head coach Hue Jackson said that they’re going to get even more creative with Johnson, moving him into the slot, on top of his backfield duties. The Browns offensive line may be the best in football, and game script should favor Johnson’s skill set more often than not.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR – ARI)
This may not have been the case earlier in Fitzgerald’s career, but it’s now a necessity that he’s a force to reckon with over the middle of the field. Most don’t realize that the soon-to-be 34-year-old wide receiver led the NFL in receptions last year, despite ranking ninth in targets. That’s the reason he finished as the No. 11 PPR receiver, but the No. 17 standard receiver. Considering he’s seen at least 135 targets in seven of the last eight seasons, it’s fair to say that Fitzgerald is one of the safer bumps in PPR formats.
Stefon Diggs (WR – MIN)
Once Norv Turner left the Vikings last year, Diggs was moved into the slot much more often, playing 73 percent of his snaps out of the slot. While I don’t think that percentage is as high in 2017, Diggs is obviously a movable chess piece in the Vikings offense. He showed chemistry with Sam Bradford in year one, catching 75 percent of the balls that came his way, which should translate to being the ‘safety blanket’ of the offense.
Jarvis Landry (WR – MIA)
If you haven’t noticed a trend by now, all three wide receivers mentioned here are those playing a significant amount of their snaps out of the slot. Remember when I said that you want chain-movers in PPR and not those who score a majority of their points via the touchdown. Landry is the definition of just that, totaling 288 receptions over his first three years in the league (tied for fourth over that time), with just 13 receiving touchdowns (46th in the league). While I’m not in love with Landry for standard leagues, he’s a solid WR2 in PPR formats.
Jason Witten (TE – DAL)
This is the case of good ol’ boring production. Witten isn’t the sexy tight end pick that will get “ohh’s” and “ahh’s” at your draft, but Witten is all but guaranteed to perform in PPR formats. Since 2004, Witten has ranked inside of the top-12 at tight end in PPR formats, including eight top-six performances. Over the last few years, he’s lost his upside in the touchdown department while totaling just three scores in each of the last two seasons. Considering the tough slate of cornerbacks that Dez Bryant will see this year, Witten may be see an increase in that department this year. Bump up the tight end who’s seen at least 90 targets since you were in high school.
Kyle Rudolph (TE – MIN)
This is the second Vikings player on this list, Mike. Why? Well it all comes back to the fact that Sam Bradford set the record for completion percentage last year, which would definitely help when looking for receptions. In PPR, the depth of target doesn’t matter – just get the targets. Rudolph led all tight ends in targets last year with 132 of them, making it much less likely that he relies on touchdowns to produce in fantasy. The best part about him, though, is that he is a force in the redzone.