Most Fantasy players either swear allegiance to standard scoring leagues or PPR leagues, which is why I wanted to create two different guides. Earlier, the So-Called Fantasy Experts provided you with tips for dominating a standard league draft. Now, I want to focus on PPR advice.
With these three key tips, you should feel ready to dominate your 2017 Fantasy Football PPR league.
3 Key PPR League Draft Tips
Draft Tip No. 1: Find Undervalued Receivers With Strong Red-Zone Targets
When a wide receiver is the focal point of an offense, sometimes the only thing holding back his Fantasy production is touchdown catches. It could be the fault of the receiver, or it could be the fault of the quarterback for the lack of touchdown production. But if you believe the receiver will still catch a lot of passes and can improve his touchdown totals, you can start to find values.
For example, Demaryius Thomas is being drafted in Round 4 because Fantasy players aren’t fans of Trevor Siemian.
But did you know that Thomas finished last year with the eighth-most targets in the red zone in 2016? He only hauled in five touchdowns, but the 29-year-old receiver was dealing with a hip issue last year and had a young quarterback throwing him the ball.
With another year of experience under Siemian’s belt and Thomas healthy, the duo could turn more of those targets into touchdowns. With his 90-1,083-5 stat line in 2016, Thomas finished as the 13th highest scoring receiver in PPR leagues from Weeks 1-16.
If he had caught just two more touchdown passes, he would have tied Michael Crabtree as the 10th highest scoring receiver.
You can also look at red-zone targets being left behind from players leaving a team to find potential value. For example, Anquan Boldin had the sixth-most targets in the red zone in the entire league last season.
Now, there’s the possibility some of those targets find their way to Golden Tate. However, as a 5-foot-10 receiver, Tate will not be Matthew Stafford’s top choice in the red zone. That honor could go to 6-foot-4 Eric Ebron, especially considering the Detroit Lions are supposed to run more two-tight end sets this year.
If you want a deep sleeper, you could speculate rookie Kenny Golladay (6-foot-4) could end up with some of those targets as well. In a PPR league, sometimes a receiver only needs to just slightly increase their touchdown production to make a jump into the Top 10.
Draft Tip No. 2: Add Dual-Threat Backs in the Later Rounds
In the later rounds of my drafts, I’ve been focusing on adding backs who could earn relevant roles because of their dual-threat abilities. And one of those players is Theo Riddick. It appears Ameer Abdullah is ready to take a lead role in 2017, but that doesn’t mean Riddick will be worthless.
In Week 1 of the 2016 season, Abdullah was on the field for 62% of the offensive snaps. Riddick was only on the field for 37% of the offensive snaps. However, Riddick still scored 22.80 Fantasy points and Abdullah scored 18. Riddick was only able to appear in 10 games last year, so his production was limited.
But when he played in a 16-game season in 2015, he posted an 80-697-3 stat line as a receiver. He also finished 2015 as a Top 20 back. According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, you can draft him in Round 10.
I’ve also been adding Tim Hightower in a lot of my drafts, and it appears I’m going to be vindicated for drafting him. The new coaching staff has no loyalty to Carlos Hyde, and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan was adamant the team draft rookie Joe Williams.
There’s going to be a shakeup at the running back position in San Francisco this year, but I’m betting Hightower will be the biggest benefactor at the start of the season. He wasn’t asked to catch too many passes in New Orleans, but he did haul in 63 passes for 428 receiving yards in 2009 in Arizona.
Williams, on the other hand, never caught more than 11 passes during a single college season. Hightower adds more versatility, and he also has veteran experience on his side. As a 31-year-old back, he may wear down at some point during the year. Though, he’s still worth owning because he could provide a handful of strong Fantasy performances.
I’d also consider adding Alvin Kamara because he could have a relevant Fantasy role, even with Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram in the mix. According to Nola.com, the “plan is likely to recreate the Saints’ 2009 and 2011 potent backfield attack.” He is expected to have a role like Reggie Bush.
In each season in New Orleans, Bush caught at least 34 passes and had career-high 88 receptions in 2006. Kamara can do more than just catch passes, so if Peterson or Ingram gets hurt, he could have a much more prominent role than most Fantasy players are anticipating.
Draft Tip No. 3: You Can Still Draft Top Receivers of Bad Teams
On three of my MFL10 teams last year, I drafted Kenny Britt. In two of those leagues I added him in Round 18, and in the third league, I was able to draft him in Round 19. That was a steal, as he finished just outside the Top 20 in scoring for PPR leagues.
I didn’t believe in Case Keenum or Jared Goff, but I knew someone on that team had to catch passes. Britt was the best option.
For this year, there is a ton of wide receiver talent to target in the later rounds of your draft. You can draft Pierre Garcon in Round 8 or later in a lot of leagues, and he will provide an excellent return on your investment. Brian Hoyer is a competent quarterback, and Garcon is going to be his favorite target by default because there are so few options for Hoyer to target. And if we want to bring a history lesson into the mix, Garcon had the best year of his career with Shanahan in Washington. In 2013, Garcon hauled in 113 catches, recorded 1,346 receiving yards, and finished the year with five touchdown receptions.
If you want to go a little deeper, I’m adding Robert Woods in as many of my drafts as possible. He’s the new replacement for Britt for the Rams, and he could finish 2017 with his first 1,000-yard season.
Also, consider adding Zay Jones. He is going to be involved in this offense regardless of what happens with Sammy Watkins, but he could have an even more prominent role if Watkins is hurt or underperforms.
All three of these receivers could finish in the Top 20 this year, but most Fantasy players are overlooking them because they play on bad teams. However, their loss will be our gain.
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If you are looking for a place to conduct a mock draft or need assistance with drafting in general, check out the Fantasy Pros Draft Wizard. This is a terrific tool that will help you dominate your league, along with So-Called Fantasy Experts, of course.
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