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Players Receiving Bumps in PPR Leagues (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Joshua Lefkowitz | @JLefkoNFL | Featured Writer
Aug 20, 2020

The heavily targeted Jamison Crowder offers immense value in PPR leagues.

Full Point Per Reception, most commonly referred to as PPR, has become the go-to for fantasy football league formats in recent years. Certain players thrive more in PPR compared to half-PPR or standard leagues due to the volume of targets they receive in the passing game, resulting in valuable fantasy points even if their stat lines do not always stand out elsewhere.

A PPR superstar can come in many forms. Sometimes, they’re a change-of-pace running back utilized more as a receiver out of the backfield rather than a traditional rusher between the tackles. Other times, a PPR monster can be a wide receiver on a team with little WR depth and a bad defense, resulting in an uptick in targets when the offense is forced to pass more when trailing.

I have researched and analyzed five players who receive significant bumps in PPR leagues and fit the criteria listed above. These players find most of their fantasy value through their ability to maximize their skill set in the passing game.

Coincidentally, each player listed in this article is currently available at an extreme discount has a great opportunity to smash their Average Draft Position (ADP). Taking advantage of this shortsightedness could help you build a league-winning roster in upcoming fantasy football drafts.

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Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ)
Jamison Crowder has the perfect formula to succeed in PPR. The New York Jets have a bad defense that will force them to abandon the run game early and often, having to sling the football at a high-rate to remain competitive. Crowder has preexisting history and chemistry with Sam Darnold, which gives him the edge over newly acquired WR Breshad Perriman and second-round rookie wideout Denzel Mims.

Crowder is the wide receiver to roster from the Jets. After receiving 122 targets in 2019, he has a serious chance to see 110+ again in 2020. Crowder is a great late-round piece who will exceed his current rank as WR38. For those who prefer the ‘ZeroWR’ draft approach, Crowder is a prime target at his No. 98 ADP who should produce consistent double-digit fantasy outings.

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
Austin Ekeler made a name for himself in 2019, especially when former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon held out to begin the season. Ekeler dazzled as the both as the featured back and with Gordon back in the lineup. Although he never saw the rush attempts of a conventional workhorse running back, he was able to produce in other ways. Some believe the Chargers will struggle without Philip Rivers, especially if they change directions and shift from Tyrod Taylor to Justin Herbert. Ekeler is already entering 2020 with a QB change, so another one mid-season could challenge his production. However, Ekeler has proven to be efficient when he’s on the field with the ball in his hands, and I don’t think that will change.

As the focal point of the Chargers’ offense, Ekeler should finish as an RB1 again in PPR this season. Last season, Ekeler saw 108 targets for 92 receptions and 993 yards (all ranked second among RBs) and eight touchdowns (ranked first). This is an indication that Ekeler thrives in the passing game and will continue to perform at a high level despite the uncertainties surrounding the Chargers’ offense. Ekeler remains a tremendous value in fantasy drafts with an ADP of 16.3. He also signed a four-year contract this offseason, which increases his dynasty value as well. Do not sleep on Austin Ekeler this season, particularly in PPR leagues.

Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
Aaron Jones continues to be criminally overlooked as an afterthought to a lot of fantasy managers this season. This should not be the case. The Packers’ lack of WR depth means Jones could realistically fill the void as their WR2. The addition of second-round running back A.J. Dillon might take away some rushing attempts and goal-line work for Jones, but he’ll still be fantasy relevant. Rather, he should be utilized more in the passing game, similar to his usage last season when Davante Adamas missed four games due to injury.

After finishing 2019 as the RB2, Jones is being drafted as an RB2, but he presents RB1 upside and should not be faded in drafts. Jones saw 69 targets last season, a number that could rise significantly even if Allen Lazard emerges as the Packers’ WR2. Jones is currently being slept on in fantasy drafts with a 19.0 ADP. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones found his way inside the top-12 RBs this season in PPR, even if Dillon slices into Jones’ rushing production. There have been recent talks of the Packers and Jones working towards an extension, which would elevate his value in dynasty. Regardless, Jones is an elite RB who should outproduce his current ADP.

James White (RB – NE)
James White seems to be the most forgotten player in the NFL heading into the 2020 season. Tom Brady’s departure leaves a question mark about the Patriots’ new identity. However, signing Cam Newton bodes well for the notion that tanking was never part of Bill Belichick’s game plan. Sony Michel will begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which opens up the chance for second-year running back Damien Harris to take over as the between-the-tackles RB. However, White is cemented as the pass-catching option out of the backfield regardless of the other running backs in rotation.

Last season, White saw the sixth-most targets (95) and receptions (72) among RBs, brought in the third-most receiving yards (645), and was tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns (five). White is familiar with this level of production in the passing game, finishing second in 2018 in targets and receiving yards while ranking third in receptions and tying for first in touchdowns. White is perhaps one of the best value picks in PPR formats this season with an ADP of 81.0 (RB31). White is now tied to Newton, who utilized Christian McCaffrey at a high rate in Carolina. Don’t be surprised if White surpasses his ADP, returning outstanding value relative to his offseason rank, and finishes the season as an RB2. He’s a great option for ‘ZeroRB’ drafters who like to gamble and wait on running backs.

Allen Robinson (WR – CHI)
Chicago’s lack wide receiver depth sets Allen Robinson in a prime situation to produce at a high level once again this season. Limited competition will equate to Robinson seeing a large volume of targets such as he did in 2019, regardless of whether Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky is quarterbacking the team. Robinson saw 154 targets last season with inconsistent quarterback play. If the Bears can fine-tune their offense, find a consistent rhythm with their quarterback, and continue targeting Robinson at a high clip, he will maintain WR1 numbers with a chance to climb inside the top-five WRs in PPR.

Robinson saw the NFL’s fourth-most targets in 2019. This was not a one-year wonder season for Robinson, who was also targeted 151 times in back-to-back seasons from 2015-2016. He enters 2020 as the WR9 with an ADP 30.7. Although currently projected as a WR1, Robinson could very well find himself inside the top-five for wide receivers in PPR. Set to be a free agent following the season, Robinson is among the league’s best wideouts who has a chance to prove his worth once again this season and earn a big payday in 2021.

Conclusion

Coaches will tailor their offense to certain players depending on their capabilities in the passing game, excelling in PPR formats due to their role in their team’s offense. Understanding coaching schemes, tendencies, and which teams might be run-heavy or pass-heavy will allow fantasy managers to map out which players get a boost in PPR formats. The players listed in this article are great examples of those who thrive particularly well in PPR, with enormous upside and the ability to crush their ADPs.

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Joshua Lefkowitz is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joshua, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @JLefkoNFL.

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