There are two types of people in the (fantasy) world: Those who prefer standard league scoring and those who prefer PPR scoring. As many know, PPR stands for “Points Per Reception” meaning that every time a player establishes a catch, he not only receives the yards but also one additional point for every catch he makes (or half a point if you're into that sort of thing).
This type of scoring creates an entirely different strategy when it comes to your draft, as running backs who have hands softer than stone usually get a bump in the rankings (i.e. Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, David Johnson, etc).
In addition to running backs, wide receivers receive a major boost. This article is aiming to point out some players who may not be the upper echelon of their position in standard scoring formats, but PPR scoring makes them very good starting or fill-in players. Let’s begin!
Landry finished the 2015 season with 111 receptions (4th) for 1159 yards and 4 TDs. This equates to 276.4 fantasy points in PPR scoring, good for top ten in his position and WR1 status. If we were to score Landry in standard scoring with his stats from last season, he would make WR3 status. This is the beauty (and hardship) of PPR. Landry only had 5 games over 75 yards last season, but he had 11 games of 6 receptions or more including 7 of them having 8+ receptions. Devante Parker may take some targets away from Landry, but that also means defenses won’t be able to smother him at the line of scrimmage anymore. I expect another top 10ish finish with about 100 receptions and 1000 yards. Maybe he'll score a few more TDs? Who knows.
Many fantasy players, including myself, know Powell as the guy who stole Chris Ivory's touches towards the end of the 2015 season. What many people don't realize is that Powell killed it in the receiving game, totaling 47 receptions in 11 games played. In his final 6 games, Powell had 5 or more receptions in 5 of them. While it's not clear what Powell's role will be with the addition of Matt Forte, it is safe to say that Powell has established himself as a reliable pass-catcher in a crowded Jets backfield.
Maclin had another great year in 2015. He saw 124 targets and converted them into 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and 8 TDs. Alex Smith is a QB known for short, safe throws which seems to suit Maclin and his skill set as more of a possession receiver. I think Maclin can match last year's production fairly easily, as the offense does not have many receiving options. He may be limited in his TD production as Alex Smith has never been known for throwing many TDs, so Maclin matching his 8 TDs from last year could be a bit of a stretch.
Delainie Walker exploded last year for 94 receptions, 1,088 yards, and 6 TDs in his first season with Marcus Mariota. The Titans rewarded him with a new contract, suggesting that maybe (not really maybe) the Titans plan on making Walker a top tier tight end for years to come as he is pretty much the only receiving weapon Mariota has. Walker should see an increase in numbers as Mariota continues to improve. As much as it pains me to say, Walker could surpass the great Greg Olsen as the second best tight end in the league.
Aiken was a relative nobody when it came to the fantasy community last year. Once Steve Smith Sr. was injured, Aiken became a waiver-wire stud in the latter part of the 2015 season. He finished the 2015 season as a top 30 wide receiver somehow. In his last 9 games, Aiken had 5+ catches in every game including 3 TDs. This included multiple games with Ryan Mallet and Jimmy Clausen throwing him the ball. Joe Flacco isn't the greatest gun slinger in the league, but he will definitely be able to get more production out of Aiken. The only obstacle in Aiken's way is that he's currently 4th on the depth chart. Steve Smith is still recovering from his injury, however, and could miss time early in the season. Even as a Ravens fan, I'm not confident in Mike Wallace's abilities or work level either, meaning Aiken could take his spot, or at least see more time than most expect.
As always, feel free to comment or email your responses or questions. And remember to follow me at @FFMilkMan.
"Value" is a hard word to define.
Everyone understands the meaning, but when you try to actually think up a definition, your brain turns into a sack of noodles.
I know this because I just tried to define it and here I find myself cleaning up a room full of macaroni.
In fantasy football, value essentially wins you championships. You draft a guy in the ninth round who performs like he should have been drafted in the first round (2015 Devonta Freeman), and you're golden. That's a drastic example, but value everywhere is what gives you a good, deep team.
There was value in the Devonta Freeman situation because no one was really sure who the Falcons starting RB would be, but it looked like Freeman had the outside track to the job. You take a chance, it pays off, you ride into the sunset. Cool.
Another way to create value is by targeting players that had bad seasons last year - in relative terms, at least. It's just human nature. Obviously there are exceptions, but if a player burned you personally last year, there's a good chance you avoid him this year - or at least have a somewhat-more-negative perception of that player.
I'd be willing to bet that many of the owners who owned the guys below last year will be avoiding them this year. I call it the "dead to me" syndrome.
My advice? Target these guys. They'll fall in drafts because they weren't their true selves last year. We don't live in the past on fantasyfusionsports.com, and neither should you.
My most recent rankings can always be found here.
In the market for live draft materials? A trophy? A championship belt? A winner's jacket? Look no further than FantasyJocks.com. High quality stuff and great customer service. I promise.
Recent word out of Green Bay is that Eddie Lacy looks a lot better and is no longer obviously a fat person.
He was drafted as a top five pick last year, and it's not crazy to think that he'll return to that kind of form this season. He also happens to be the starting RB on arguably the best offense in the league. I'm on board.
My ranking: 20th overall, RB9
It seemed like the fantasy community was pretty split on Anderson last season. There was a group that thought he would be amazing after a stellar second half of 2014, then there was another group that thought the sample size was too small and he would be a dud. I was in the group that thought he would be great. I was wrong.
I'll probably end up with CJA on several teams this year. He burned a lot of people last year, and he will be falling in drafts as a result.
The Broncos dished out a good chunk of change in the offseason to prevent CJA from joining the Dolphins, so one would think that he's going to be the feature back. Anderson still averaged 4.7 yards per carry last year; he just didn't have the volume with only 152 carries.
Running back gets very ugly very quickly this year. C.J. Anderson is at the front of a run of likely starting running backs with question marks all over the place.
Also, what else are they going to do? Let Mark Sanchez throw it?
My ranking: 28th overall, RB12
Mathews didn't have a bad season last year by any means, considering he was the number two running back on the Eagles behind DeMarco Murray. If you drafted him as a borderline RB2, though, you weren't happy. I wrote a piece on FantasyPros that explains why I like Mathews so much this season. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy.
My ranking: 41st overall, RB16
Dez was my number one receiver last year, and I really felt the pain of him being so unproductive. Dez played in nine games after missing most of the first half of the season due to injury.
Tony Romo played only four games in 2015, and Dez played in three of those. Other than that, Matt Cassel was throwing the ball (very poorly). Cassel averaged 132.3 yards per game and had a 58.3% completion percentage. In rigorous algorithmic reference terms, both of those are no bueno. For comparison, Romo averaged 212.3 yards per game (admittedly still not great, but definitely better), and had a 68.6% completion percentage.
In short, things will be better for Dez. Don't forget that he had 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014. With a healthy Romo and a healthy Dez, don't be surprised if they approach those numbers again.
My ranking: 10th overall, WR5
Okay let's be clear. I don't like Matthews. I don't like or want any receivers on the Eagles. However, there is something to be said for a number one receiver that you can get in the seventh round (FantasyPros ADP: 67th). Keep him in mind if you're nervous about your receivers at that point.
My ranking: 61st overall, WR28
See an early season piece on Graham here.
I have no clue what to expect from Graham. I hope the Seahawks throw like they did in the second half of last season, and Graham reaps the rewards. Tight end is an awful position in fantasy, and you could definitely do much much much worse. You can get Graham very late, and I think it's worth a shot at that point.
My ranking: 108th overall, TE12
Andrew Luck: Apparently he's healthy. He has weapons. He good.
DeMarco Murray/Carlos Hyde: Still a starting running back, albeit for a not exciting offense
Arian Foster: Imagine if you drafted him (again), and he didn't get hurt...
Alshon Jeffery: Easily the best target on that offense
Come back this week and throughout the offseason for fantasy draft materials. Don't hesitate to tweet at me @DonaldGibsonFF.
You can almost see it on draft day. In a live draft, the stickers of certain players have an aura about them. You can see a mystical glow that lures you in right away. "You know me. You know what I've done. Go ahead. Take me. Draft me. Let's do this together."
Nope. Throw it in the trash.
Well, maybe not the trash because someone is going to draft them eventually and no one (I MEAN NO ONE) likes dealing with trash juice.
Looking for draft materials? The draft boards and trophies at FantasyJocks.com are trash juice-resistant. Seriously. You'll like what you see.
Big name players tend to get a bump in value just because they have big names. They've earned their big names through a variety of performances and often times stellar careers, but for our purposes in 2016, who cares?
Anyone who drafted Peyton Manning last year already knows what I'm talking about. There were obvious concerns about Peyton's health - if I remember correctly, he finished around QB1 in 2014 and had a ranking of roughly QB6 heading into 2015 (don't fact check me). The concerns were there. It didn't matter. It's Peyton Manning! Arguably the greatest quarterback many of us have ever seen. I actually saw him go ahead of Aaron Rodgers in a draft.
There are plenty of players this year with big names that you need to watch. I'm not saying you can't draft them. Just don't draft them where you would have in the past.
My updated rankings can always be found here or on FantasyPros (along with a ton of other stuff including the ADP figures shown here).
I've already spoken at length about Jamaal Charles here, and he won't be on any of my teams this year. In short, he's coming off another serious knee injury, and his backups last year were just too good. I'm staying away.
Charles used to be a perennial first round pick. FantasyPros has him going at the 14th overall pick. I have him at 30.
I'm still not used to seeing him so low. Simply anecdotally, Demaryius didn't look like himself last year. Granted, part of that probably had to do with Peyton's struggles (at least for part of the year), but there were plenty of times where he just simply couldn't catch the ball.
I'm not saying he's lost it by any means, but he definitely needs to show me that he can produce like his old self (LIKE WHEN TEBOW WAS THROWING HIM THE BALL. AM I RIGHT?!).
Oh yeah, his starting quarterback is Mark Sanchez - who I actually probably like more than most. With that being said, it's still Mark Sanchez. He's probably not going to throw for 4,000 yards. Mr. Thomas is a major question mark heading into 2016.
Thomas used to be an easy top five receiver going probably end of the first round or beginning of the second. Both FantasyPros and myself have him around WR16 and being drafted around pick 32.
Put down your pitchforks and just listen.
Cam was more or less the superstar of the league last year. I'm sure he led plenty of fantasy teams to championships, not to mention almost leading the Panthers to a Super Bowl title. He's good. There's no doubt about that.
This just has more to do with where he gets drafted. I already know that he will go in the first round in some drafts. He'll absolutely get you the points that you so desperately need, but there really isn't any need to take a quarterback that early. You can get guys like Russell Wilson (going 40th overall), Andrew Luck (43rd), Ben Roethlisberger (52nd), and Drew Brees (54th) at much better value.
Try not to get sucked into the excitement that Cam brings to the table. It's probably going to hurt your overall fantasy roster.
In 2015, Matt Forte had the least rushing yards of his career and tied for the least receptions with the Chicago Bears. He's now on the Jets, and I don't really think it's a good thing.
I must admit, I have this innate feeling that the Jets offense is just awful. It really isn't anymore - see the success of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker last year. I just have this permanent memory of the Jets teams that would have a top five defense and a bottom five offense, and I can't shake it.
The Jets offense should be solid this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick has finally agreed to a contract, and Marshall and Decker are returning along with the obvious addition of Forte. I'm still worried about Forte's age (30) and the fact that he and Bilal Powell (27) are both receiving backs. Forte could have a solid season as a result of involvement in the passing game, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an even less productive version of 2015 Matt Forte.
Forte used to be a lock for a pick in the top two rounds. I currently have him at 45th overall; he's being drafted at number 34.
Foster finally signed with the Dolphins a few weeks ago, and I have zero idea what to do with him. My crystal ball (and general common sense) tells me that he's going to get hurt. From a pure skill standpoint, Foster is one of the best running backs in the league. Unfortunately, he can't stay healthy. I have him ranked at RB31 and 86th overall. On FantasyPros, he's going at the 109th overall pick. If you can get that kind of value, go for it.
Honestly I have no idea how he's still playing football at a high level. His lack of upside - no games over 100 rushing yards last year - combined with his close relationship to Cretaceous era fossils is keeping me away (just like it has for the last four years). I have him ranked at 71, and he's being drafted at 74. No thank you.
Here are some other guys whose names may lead to an impulse draft pick. Be sure to do your research on them:
Matt Ryan: Always just so so so so so so so so so so so so so SO average.
Justin Forsett: Getting up there in age and no one has any idea if there will be a workhorse RB in Baltimore
Chris Johnson: Should be conceding most (all) carries to David Johnson
DeSean Jackson: Health always an issue, unsure of his place in that offense
Larry Fitzgerald: Age is a concern, there are a million weapons in Arizona
Jimmy Graham: Coming off injury, wasn't a focal point of the offense last season
I hope you enjoyed my first installment of the Fantasy Fusion draft kit. Be sure to keep coming back this week especially as our draft kit releases on a rolling basis. Of course we'll be inundating you with fantasy football information for the rest of the offseason in preparation for your draft and eventual glory.
Follow (yell at) me on Twitter: @DonaldGibsonFF
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But seriously follow me on Twitter: @DonaldGibsonFF
Welcome to the First Annual Fantasy Fusion Football Draft Kit! In the first piece of the installment, I will be discussing the potential sleepers of 2016. As always, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of my claims, but I’ll still do my best to prove each player’s potential for the upcoming season. Let’s begin!
Ryan Fitzpatrick: You have no idea how hard it was for me not to choose Andy Dalton. I don’t particularly like the Red Rocket, but he was just so good last year. I chose Fitzmagic because, even though he finished as the 11th overall QB, he was only owned in 56.9% of ESPN leagues by season’s end. He threw for 31 TDs and 3905 yards, plus an additional 270 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. The only offensive weapon missing from last year is Chris Ivory (now with the Jaguars), and he was eventually replaced by Bilal Powell anyway. Fitzpatrick is ranked as QB20, and I just don’t see why. I think Fitzpatrick has another productive year, finishing a little higher than last year at QB10.
Tevin Coleman: “Devonta Freeman is the man, Devonta Freeman is a sure-pick in the first” blah blah blah. Freeman is really good and Atlanta probably knows that better than any of us. That is why Coleman is expected to get much more work than he did last year. After getting injured, Coleman saw his starting role diminish into a mere 87 rushing attempts for 392 yards (4.5 avg).
If you don’t believe me when I say Coleman is going to get more work than what he’s projected (123rd overall pick), look at the facts. Atlanta’s coaching staff has publicly stated that Freeman’s role will diminish quite a bit. Freeman started his campaign with incredible statistics, but later wore down as the season went on. Atlanta doesn’t want this to happen again, hence more touches for Coleman. Also, Coleman was drafted by Atlanta’s current GM in replace of Freeman, who was drafted a year prior. If there’s anything to know about GMs, it’s that they want their guy to succeed.
Finally, Coleman is much more explosive than Freeman. What he lacks in size he makes up in quickness and elusiveness. Even if Coleman doesn’t see 10-12 carries a game, I still expect him to catch 3-5 a game, making him more PPR dependent. Just draft him, he’ll return more than his projected value.
Kevin White: As a nation of football-watching and fantasy-obsessing dweebs, we were robbed of watching White’s incredible athleticism in his rookie campaign. He may have burned you last year depending on how early your draft was too, but don’t let that prevent you from at least looking at him. White is currently ADP 84 which could be a HUGE steal. He’s 6’3, 216 pounds of pure freak!
Now you may be saying to yourself: “Alshon is the clear number one in Chicago when he’s healthy, and Smokin’ Jay Cutler isn’t very good, so why take a flier on the second year rookie?” Well this is why you big dumb idiot: From 2012 until 2014, Brandon Marshall was the man in town. Alshon came around in 2012 but wasn’t slotted as the number 2 wide-out until 2013 when he put up 89 receptions, 1,421 yards, and 7 TDs. No big deal, right?
My thinking is that Chicago wouldn’t have used a first round pick on White last year if they didn’t intend him to start from day one. White has the potential to replicate Jeffrey’s 2013 numbers in his first year of playing. Don’t forget that Alshon was also banged up last year, White has the potential to be the number one wide receiver in Chicago next year. Don’t you think ADP 84 is a little too low?
Sammie Coates: I know, this one may be a little “out there”, but Coates is a viable candidate to replace the suspended Martavis Bryant, mostly because he’s the biggest target available. Markus Wheaton is considered to be the automatic replacement for Bryant, but Wheaton is a smaller, shiftier type receiver. He’s more similar to Antonio Brown in style and size than Bryant. While Wheaton may be featured in the slot frequently on the Steeler’s three-wide sets, he’s not the replacement. Coates is the only guy who can go up and get the ball and I think he’ll be able to build on his incredibly disappointing and boring season in 2015 (1 reception, 11 yards). I understand if this pick turns this incredibly satisfying article a little sour for you, but I’d hate to say I told you so.
Eric Ebron: Ebron was projected by many to take a major step in his second season in 2015. He totaled 47 receptions for 537 yards and 5 TDs last year which was a significant upgrade from his rookie year. With Megatron gone and Golden Tate or Marvin Jones as the primary targets, Stafford will be looking for his biggest target in key situations and definitely in the redzone. The Lions have publicly stated that they want Ebron to see more targets. Expect about 90 targets, 65 catches, 8TDs. Not too bad for the tight end currently projected 17th among TEs for the upcoming season.