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Deeper PPR Draft Values & Early Waiver Wire Pickups

By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What's up RotoBallers. The NFL and fantasy football seasons are right around the corner, and will be kicking off in just a few short days.  At this point, you're either getting ready for your final fantasy football drafts, or have already drafted your teams and are now ready to analyze the waiver wire for any overlooked players and make minor roster tweaks.

This is definitely not the time to be making wholesale roster changes, but the last few picks in drafts are usually fliers, and adding or dropping those players normally won't make a break your team. That is unless you can identify a high-upside, low-cost player who is being overlooked and can provide sneaky PPR value for your teams. For those who haven't drafted yet, and play in PPR leagues, consider this a list of undervalued running backs, wide receivers and tight ends that can outperform their current ADPs and draft day prices.

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Undervalued PPR Draft Targets, Waiver Wire Adds & ADP Sleepers

Today I will focus on some PPR draft sleepers and waiver wire targets, or players that may be getting a sneaky amount of pass targets/receptions and fantasy football production. These pass catchers are either being drafted really late in drafts, or not at all, and can be easily plucked off the waiver wire for some PPR upside. Not all of these players may be available on your league's waiver wire, but if they are you should consider adding them.


PPR Running Back Draft Sleepers & Waiver Wire Adds

Matt Jones - RB, Washington Redskins

Okay, so here at RotoBaller we've written about Matt Jones ad nauseam, with an especially strong man-crush by lead NFL editor Edward Gorelik. Well, here we are again discussing Jones, and there's a good reason for that. Currently he has a PPR league ADP of 158 (or the 54th running back being drafted), and is only owned in 18% of leagues that have drafted. Simply put, that's just way too low. It looks like the Redskins are going to be a bad football team this year, and playing from behind a lot. When that happens, Alfred Morris will come off the field and Matt Jones will enter as the pass-catching running back, getting lots of targets and check-downs along the way from Kirk Cousins or Robert Griffin. That's what we call sneaky PPR upside, with a chance to become PPR gold. Even without this playing-from-behind scenario, the Redskins are in love with Matt Jones as a runner, and he should be spelling Morris with some carries along the way. Bundle that all together, and Matt Jones is a must own in PPR leagues. If you haven't drafted yet, be sure to grab him at the end of your drafts. If you're already drafted and he's just sitting out there on your league's waiver wire, add him immediately. Do it now.

Reggie Bush - RB, San Francisco 49ers

We have a similar situation here with Reggie Bush, although this may not be as young and sexy as the Matt Jones scenario. Everyone expects the 49ers to be pretty bad this year, and with that the 49ers may find themselves down a lot and playing catch-up throughout their games. Bush has always excelled as a pass-catching back, and may find himself on the field more than some expect this season getting check-downs from Colin Kaepernick. Bush has always been a great talent, and has produced for fantasy football owners in the past, whereas Carlos Hyde has never "done it" yet. Hyde may be a solid running back this year, but he may not. In my book, it's certainly not a slam dunk. To quickly compare, Hyde has a PPR ADP of 38 (or the 19th running back drafted), while Bush is being overlooked with a PPR ADP of 127 (or the 47th running back being drafted) and only 46% owned. If you're in a PPR league, get Bush on your roster and see how this all plays out over the first few weeks of the fantasy football season.

Darren Sproles - RB, Philadelphia Eagles

I think we all know what Darren Sproles brings to the table for fantasy football purposes. The boom-or-bust running back can be a PPR monster one week, and get very few snaps another week bringing disappointment. But let's not forget that he plays for arguable the best offense in football (led by Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Jordan Matthews and company), with the best offensive minds calling the shots. The Eagles have already stated that they want Sproles more involved in the offense, and that's exactly what we like to hear when searching for PPR sleepers. In addition to getting targets out of the backfield, the Eagles have been working on getting Sproles involved as a wide receiver as well. It remains to be seen how he will be utilized, and how consistent he will be week-to-week - but this looks like a situation where a "cheap" player can outperform their draft day cost. Currently Sproles has a PPR ADP of 119 (or the 44th running back being drafted), and is only 38% owned in fantasy leagues. Stash the human swiss army knife on your PPR roster, and keep your fingers crossed for a sneaky PPR stud.

PPR Running Back Stashes: David Johnson (RB, ARI) - ADP: 124 / 22% owned, James White (RB, NE) - ADP: 191 / 2% owned, Josh Robinson (RB, IND), Christine Michael (RB, DAL), Terrance West (RB, TEN)


PPR Wide Receiver Draft Sleepers & Waiver Wire Adds

Markus Wheaton - WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Even with an injury to their center Maurkice Pouncey, and early season suspensions to Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, the Steelers are expected to be a high-powered and pass-heavy offense this year led by Ben Roethlisberger. With the news that Bryant will be suspended for the first four games of the NFL season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, Wheaton will fill-in as the second wide receiver on the team behind Antonio Brown. This immediately vaults him into fantasy football relevance, and a sneaky PPR value pick / sleeper for your teams. The Steelers, and the media, have been hyping up Wheaton as a legit breakout candidate this preseason, and now he will have four weeks to show the world what he can do. He is certainly no slam dunk, but in PPR leagues he is a must-draft target and stash (at least for the start of the season). Currently he has a PPR ADP of 130 (or the 51st wide receiver being drafted), and is only 56% owned. Stash him at the end of your drafts, or off the waiver wire, and see how this all plays out.

Brandon Coleman - WR, New Orleans Saints

Whenever the words "wide receiver" and "Drew Brees" are in the same sentence, you have to like your chances in fantasy football. With the offseason departure of non-inspiring Kenny Stills, and target monster Jimmy Graham, the young and talented rookie Coleman should immediately be catapulted into the Saints high-powered offense. Weighing in at 6' 6" and 225 pounds, Coleman should provide Brees with a big body to target in the passing game. Interestingly enough, although Coleman hasn't had a big preseason, Brees has already declared a "great comfort level" with the rookie. It should be noted that Coleman also "started" their third preseason game over Marques Colston. While Brandin Cooks will be featured in this offense, along with Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, there will still be plenty of targets to go around. Currently he has a PPR ADP of 161 (or the 60th wide receiver being drafted), and is only 21% owned. Target him towards the end of your drafts, or pick him up off the waiver wire, as Coleman may be a legit WR sleeper and breakout candidate this NFL season.

Rueben Randle - WR, New York Giants

Eli Manning will have a plethora of weapons at his disposal this season, with the likes of Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Larry Donnell. But let's not forget about Rueben Randle, who is currently the second wide receiver on their depth chart, and had a solid season last year in PPR leagues. While his production decreased over the second half of the season, he racked up between seven and 15 targets for a stretch of nine games last season. He also finished the year strong with six and 13 targets over his last two games. Clearly Manning has heavily targeted and trusted Randle in the past, so we may be seeing more of the same this year especially with all the injury uncertainty around Cruz right now. Currently Randle's PPR ADP is 167 (or the 63rd wide receiver being drafted), and he is only 37% owned. This makes for a great draft sleeper target in PPR leagues, and a great waiver wire add if your league has already drafted. Get on it.

PPR Wide Receiver Stashes: Marvin Jones (WR, CIN) - ADP: 164 / 24% owned, Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, TEN) - ADP: 160 / 20% owned, Jeff Janis / Ty Montgomery (WR, GB), Chris Conley (WR, KC)


PPR Tight End Draft Sleepers & Waiver Wire Adds

Jordan Reed - TE, Washington Redskins

Given the extensive injury history of Reed, I can understand why some fantasy football owners may be shying away from rostering him. But there's a lot to like here with Reed's situation entering the start of the NFL season. Let's take a quick look - he's healthy, Niles Paul is out for the season, Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback, and Reed has normally produced in PPR leagues when healthy. In games where Cousins and Reed both played last year, he racked up stat lines like this: 8-92 (11 targets) and 5-54 (6 targets). In general, he had other games with 7 targets, 11 targets, 10 targets and 7 targets. As mentioned above, the Redskins will be throwing from behind a lot, and Reed should be a primary beneficiary of that as long as he stays healthy. The term "PPR monster" may be in the conversation at some point. With a PPR ADP of 193 (or the 22nd tight being drafted), and only 53% owned, Reed has the upside to be a valuable tight end draft sleeper and waiver wire pickup for fantasy football owners. He needs to be owned in all PPR leagues.

Owen Daniels - TE, Denver Broncos

Even though Daniels hasn't been a very relevant fantasy football tight end recently, he finds himself in a nice situation heading into the season. He is now reunited with Gary Kubiak, which should bring familiarity back to his role, and he has this guy named Peyton Manning running the offense and throwing the ball. We've already seen Manning make fantasy studs out of tight ends Julius Thomas, Jacob Tamme and Dallas Clark (among others), so it would be silly to write off Daniels as a potential tight end sleeper. There are a lot of offensive mouths to feed in Denver, with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, C.J. Anderson and others, but Daniels is in a situation that creates fantasy upside at the very least. He may not become a PPR stud in the "new-look" offense that's anticipated, and Virgil Green is also in the tight end mix, but Daniels is still a sneaky draft target. While his PPR ADP of 133 (or the 13th tight end being drafted) isn't a draft day "steal", it can still return owners with significant value based on his draft day cost. If Daniels emerges as a reliable offensive option, he will outperform many tight ends being drafted ahead of him.

PPR Tight End Stashes: Richard Rodgers (TE, GB) - ADP: 203 / 11% owned, Larry Donnell (TE, NYG) - ADP: 178 / 51% owned


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