Knowing your league’s scoring system is key.
In Point Per Reception (PPR) leagues, your draft strategy certainly
changes as “role players” often gain more value. Players like Theo
Riddick (for example) who do not carry a big workload, can contribute
to a fantasy team by catching 4-5 short passes even if his yardage,
carries, and touchdowns do not fill up the stat sheet on regular
While these players are certainly worth drafting in PPR formats,
by doing so, it forces other players down your rankings, often a
full round or more. By targeting these depressed players you often
come away with incredible value as these “non-PPR” guys
will often score as much as PPR specialists.
Below I will highlight five players who I feel have become nice
bargains and recommend drafting all of them at their current ADP
as a sort of “alternative” drafting strategy in PPR leagues.
In nearly 300 career carries Spencer Ware has averaged over 4.6
yards and for the first half of last season, looked like he was
on his way to joining fantasy’s elite backs. After a concussion
and an injury to his ribs, Ware seemed to be running out of gas
in the latter part of the season and consequently, he is being drafted
as more of a low-end RB2 in PPR leagues rather than the RB1 that
he showed he could be.
With the 2016 second half falter and the addition of rookie Kareem Hunt, Ware is falling out of favor with drafters but I see a real
value with Ware in PPR leagues. Ware, by all indications will be
the Chiefs starting running back this season. On a fairly conservative
offense that wants to focus on the run and the short pass, Ware
is in a prime position to rack up fantasy points, even if he’s
not a true workhorse back. It’s strange he’s being drafted
a full round lower in PPR leagues even though it’s very likely
he will still catch the most passes out of the Chiefs backfield.
While Kareem Hunt is a solid all-around back, he is not an Alvin
Kamara-type prospect who excels as a receiver.
While Ware’s game-to-game performances were up and down in
the receiving department, he totaled 33 receptions in 14 games and
had four games catching 3 or more passes, including a seven-reception
game against the Chargers. While it is only preseason, Ware showed
his receiving chops in game one, catching 3 passes for 20 yards,
clearly working ahead of Hunt who caught just 1 pass with the backups.
All in all, the Chief’s coaches seem to be behind him, his
past performance supports a solid season, his preseason (to date)
performance has been solid, and his competition is likely more hype
than substance. In standard league’s his 4th round ADP seems
about right, but the full round discount in PPR leagues makes him
a borderline steal.
Peterson's non-PPR perception has dropped
his ADP low enough to make him a bargain in PPR leagues.
I know as soon as some of you saw Peterson’s name you probably
started shaking your head, thinking “give me a break”,
but hear me out.
As the 27th running back off the board in PPR leagues, Peterson
isn't being drafted as a starting back so you’re not investing a
huge amount into someone who may have landed in the best team situation
he has been in for his entire career. We all know Peterson is an
elite runner who just two years ago was the number one fantasy running
back in most formats. Yes, he is several years older (32) and yes
he has suffered several injuries make you concerned, but he’s a
once-in-a generation-talent that has already defied most odds as
a physical freak of nature.
There is certainly some competition in the backfield with veteran
Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara both expected to steal touches.
While Ingram has been a fairly productive pro, he has battled inconsistency
(both performance and injury-wise) throughout his career and finally
(after 6 seasons) just had his first 1000-yard rushing season (1043
yards). Don’t forget, the Saints benched him last season,
and potential trade deals were rumored this off-season.
Kamara should eventually excel in catching passes out of the backfield
and will probably get some work this season in that role, but “rookie
fever” by fantasy drafters often takes a strong hold and Kamara
is more likely to spend his first year as a kick returner and role
player much more than a real threat to Peterson’s workload.
While reports of Peterson working on his pass catching have become
an every yearly occurrence (and part joke), the truth is that when
given the opportunity, has been a solid receiver, with four seasons
of 30-plus receptions including 43 in 2009 when he averaged 10.1
yards per catch.
Peterson is now working with the best quarterback he has ever played
with, on a team where opposing defenses will be focused on stopping
the pass before concentrating on the run. In addition, the Saints
love to throw to their running backs so even if he is pulled in
most 3rd down situations, he should still get a handful of passes
each game operating on early downs.
While nobody will confuse Peterson with some of the best RB pass-catchers
in the game, his non-PPR perception has dropped his ADP down low
enough in PPR leagues to make him a real bargain with upside.
While I believe Gillislee’s ADP in standard leagues is a bit
high, the discount drafters are giving him in PPR league’s
makes him a quality target in this formats. As the 22nd running
back off the board in PPR leagues, Gillislee has the rushing yardage
and TD upside to outperform his ADP, even if he didn’t catch
a single pass. While the Patriots definitely have other pass-catching
backs that will get their share of targets, Gillislee is the only
back on the roster that could be a true three-down option.
Given their off-season investment in the former Bill, the Patriots
should give him the first crack at leading their high-powered offense
and even lesser talents (Blount) have become fantasy studs in similar
roles. While most drafters know that Gillislee has excelled in yards
per carry the past two seasons, many do not realize that he was
considered an excellent pass-catcher coming out of college four
years ago. While he wasn’t given many opportunities in Buffalo
to catch passes, I believe Belicheck knew what he was getting when
they signed Gillislee this off-season and will make use of Gillislee’s
With a relatively easy schedule, positive game scripts, a ton of
talent around him to keep the defense’s focus elsewhere, he
is set up to get 15-plus touches per week. For drafters that load
up on receivers the first few rounds, Gillislee has the upside to
be a RB1 but at a discounted rate thanks to public perception of
him not being the Patriots featured pass-catcher. Don’t fall
into that trap. Gillislee is an excellent value in PPR leagues as
part of a value-based, alternative draft strategy.
My argument for Martin is similar to Gillislee. While his standard
league ADP is perhaps a bit high, his public perception of not being
a “PPR guy” has made him a value in PPR leagues. In
the two years where Martin played all 16 games, he totaled 82 catches
for over 700 yards. In addition, the competition in the Bucs backfield
is weak with Jacquizz Rodgers as a try-hard player but a below average
talent. Charles Sims, who is a nice change of pace guy but no threat
to cut into a big workload and rookie Jeremy McNichols, who by most
accounts, is having trouble adjusting to the NFL game. With most
camp reports being very positive, he is poised to take over the
starting role as soon as he comes off suspension in Week 4. Still
only 28, and on the most offensively talented team he has played
on as a pro, Martin should face much less defensive pressure than
Martin’s ADP creates a great spot for several different drafting
strategies. If you’re taking a “Zero-RB” approach,
you can grab Martin as perhaps your first running back and instantly
have the upside of a workhorse back at a discount (just make sure
you grab Rodgers a few rounds later). If instead, you opt to go
RB-heavy your first five-six rounds, you can grab Martin as depth.
Finally, if you simply take best player available, as I normally
do, Martin has excellent value as a mid-to-late season starter or
even a great trade piece after he comes off suspension.
Whatever way you look at it Martin is a great value in the 6th round
as a guy that could be a league winner at a discount price. A down
year in 2016 plus a three-game suspension, is allowing Martin to
be had a very nice discount in PPR leagues, who was a top 5 fantasy
back in 2015.With a full round difference between standard and PPR
ADP’s, Martin to me is one of my favorite targets in the PPR
As the only wide receiver on my list, Benjamin leads the short list
of players at his position whose ADP drops significantly between
standard and ADP leagues. In fact, Benjamin is the only WR in the
first 7 rounds whose ADP drops more than three spots when comparing
standard and PPR leagues.
I’m not a big fan of Benjamin’s talent. I thought he
was drafted too high out of college and thought there were too many
holes in his game to ever become an elite NFL receiver. All this
being said, Benjamin is in a better than average situation for a
fantasy receiver and while not a traditional PPR darling, he has
about as much touchdown upside as anyone at the position. He’s
a lock to receive 110+ targets and is a value in PPR leagues mostly
because; (A) He is coming off a down year and (B) he is seen as
a low volume target. I suppose 63 catches for a team’s number
one receiver is not exciting, especially in PPR leagues, but despite
Cam Newton’s worst season as a pro, Benjamin still totaled
941 yards and 7 touchdowns, while playing in all 16 games. At times
last year Newton was horrible, and while I suppose some of that
blame can be put on Benjamin, Newton was clearly playing nowhere
near his 2015 level. I see 2016 as Cam’s floor, and thus Benjamin’s
floor, at least until the Panthers get more reliable help at receiver.
We must also remember, 2016 was Benjamin’s first year back
after ACL surgery, so some natural improvement is likely this year.
As far as being a low volume target, this might be true, although
too many times PPR drafters put an exaggerated emphasis on reception
totals and ignore yardage and touchdown numbers, and I believe that
is the case for Benjamin who is a perennial double-digit touchdown
In my mind, a touchdown is worth 6 fantasy points, meaning a player
has to catch 6 passes in PPR to match that total. While I realize
more factors go into such a simple example, my point is, on a week-to-week
basis, Benjamin has as much upside as PPR darlings that get drafted
With Christian McCaffrey sure to take away a little more defensive
attention and the loss of Ted Ginn Jr. opening up more touchdown
opportunities, I could see Benjamin matching or slightly improving
upon his 2015 rookie year when he was a top 20 fantasy receiver
in PPR formats. As the 32nd wide receiver being taken off the board,
Benjamin is a steal in PPR leagues where people greatly underestimate