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.