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PPR Targets To Fade In Standard Leagues

As you’re skimming through all different sets of rankings, your ability to identify players who will either have or not have value based on your league’s scoring system is of utmost importance.

Are you looking for a running back that is going to catch passes out of the backfield for PPR purposes or a wide receiver that’s going to grab you 12 touchdowns on a low volume of targets for standard? Let’s face it, some players only have more value in a certain scoring system than others, and your ability to identify those players is what will keep you ahead of the pack on draft day.

Take a look and see who stands out at each position in PPR leagues that you can fade in standard leagues.

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Target Hogs to Target on Draft Day

Running Back

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers – McCaffrey heads into his sophomore season poised for an increased volume under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner stated earlier in camp that it would be no surprise to see McCaffrey garner 25-30 touches a game in his offense, and it’s not far-fetched to believe him.  In six out of his ten seasons as offensive coordinator, Turner has utilized a true “bell-cow” running back, meaning said back garnered a minimum of a 70% share of touches out of the backfield.  McCaffrey is a gifted runner, but his ability to catch passes out of the backfield is what will provide an increase in his value in PPR formats. While his usage in the red zone could become a bit clouded with the arrival of CJ Anderson as well as a healthy Greg Olsen garnering targets, the Panthers will look to stretch the field utilizing McCaffrey’s elusiveness.  McCaffrey can be faded in standard formats due to limited red-zone usage, but target him in the second round of your PPR drafts.

Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears/Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins – It’s no mistake that these two are sharing the spotlight here, where their respective roles are strikingly similar to each other. Both Cohen and Thompson will be utilized primarily as pass-catchers in their respective offenses with the more traditional of their team’s running backs carrying the load between the tackles.  Cohen and Thompson both have the innate ability to catch a five-yard drop pass and scamper up the field for an 80-yard score providing value not only in PPR leagues but Best Ball leagues as well.  Their red zone usage will, however, be impacted by strong wide receiver groups on both teams coupled bulkier running backs to slam the ball into the end zone in short yardage situations, but both can be targeted in the middle rounds of your PPR drafts and targeted mainly as handcuffs for standard league purposes.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts – Shifting our sights to the Colts offense, we have a backfield worth monitoring as there is certainly some fantasy value to be had here. Marlon Mack’s inability to stay on the field prompted the team to draft not one, but two running backs in this year’s draft.  The higher upside of the two backs drafted comes in Nyheim Hines.  Call me crazy, but Hines’ ceiling this season is last year’s Alvin Kamara.  His role will be the lightning to whichever thunder emerges between Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins, which will provide excellent value in PPR leagues.  The Colts offensive line is vastly improved from years prior, which is not only good news for their franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, but also for their running backs.  Look for Hines to take on the role of pass-catcher out of the Colts backfield, and with a short wide receiver depth chart behind TY Hilton, Luck will be forced to utilize his options at tight end and out of the backfield to stretch the field more efficiently.  Hines can be downgraded in standard formats with Mack and Wilkins sharing the goal line work as it stands for now, but don’t let him slip too far.


Wide Receiver

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns – This may seem like an obvious one, but Landry’s value in PPR is worth taking another look at as he changes uniforms and heads to Cleveland for 2018. With 112 receptions last season Landry finished number one in the league, ten receptions ahead of the next receiver below him in Keenan Allen.  While leading the league in any metric is a lofty expectation, it’s not too far-fetched to expect similar production from Landry in Cleveland thus cementing his value in PPR formats.  The question popping into your minds is likely to be regarding the surrounding weapons that he’ll be competing for touches within Cleveland (Josh Gordon, Duke Johnson, David Njoku), but it’s also reasonable to think that those surrounding weapons could work in the Landry’s favor.  While I’ve downgraded Duke Johnson due to Landry’s arrival, it’s safe to say that Njoku will function mainly in the red zone with his big-bodied frame, and Gordon’s role will be similar to what it’s always been – red zone target who can also be targeted on an occasional deep ball.  Landry’s nine touchdowns in 2017 should see a slight decrease as should his standard league value, but target the wide receiver early and often in your PPR formats as the volume will be plentiful.

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers/Sterling Shepard, New York Giants – Here we have it again, another duo of players set for strikingly similar roles in offenses that are seemingly stock-piled with weapons. Let’s get this out of the way, in no way am I seeking to infer that Cobb and Shepard’s value are the same based on their quarterbacks - Cobb has a sharp edge there, but how they’re utilized ought to be very similar.  Both of these speedster wide receivers have shown an ability to catch short balls and produce 12 to 15 yards after the catch, and those short balls tend to come in heavy volume.  Look for their respective quarterbacks to seek to stretch the field with quick drops to Cobb and Shepard, which should translate into some solid PPR value for each of them.  Cobb will secede red zone targets to Devante Adams and Jimmy Graham, while Shepard will do the same to Odell Beckham Jr and Evan Engram, but that doesn’t completely hinder either of their values in PPR as the volume will most certainly be there for both.

Cameron Meredith, New Orleans Saints – A change of scenery may be just what the doctor ordered, no pun intended as Meredith has finally shaken his injury from 2017 and said change should prove profitable for fantasy owners as well. Meredith proved capable of being efficient in an offense ran by Jay Cutler, so it’s only fair to expect the bar to be set a bit higher as he moves to an offense led by soon to be Hall-Of-Famer Drew Brees.  Meredith should line up primarily in the slot, and receive a solid share of targets with the Saints lacking a solid option at tight end providing nice PPR value in late rounds as a complimentary piece to receiver Michael Thomas. While the touchdown targets should be relegated amongst Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram (when he returns from suspension), and Michael Thomas, look for Meredith to slip in your drafts despite the opportunity for a nice share of targets from one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league.


Tight End

Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts – Pardon the reference, but the last time we saw an effective “thunder and lightning” approach at the tight end position was when the New England Patriots did so through Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. To again get out ahead of it, no we’re not inferring here that Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron will perform at that level, but to say they could be a lite version of that duo isn’t all that far-fetched.  Focusing on Ebron primarily, with a short wide receiver corps in Indy, quarterback Andrew Luck will be forced to utilize options elsewhere and Ebron is in line to benefit from that.  Doyle should remain the tight end target in the red zone which will fade Ebron’s standard league value, but the volume of targets should be such for Ebron that if he can prove to be efficient on the field, he’ll prove to be an efficient PPR option as well.

Adam Shaheen, Chicago Bears – It’s always a fun activity to listen to NFL coaches pump up their players in the preseason, but I don’t think that’s the case here. New Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy spoke highly of Shaheen and the role he is set to have in the Bears’ offense despite them bringing in Trey Burton in the offseason, leading to speculation that the tight end should have some decent value in a new-look Chicago offense.  Nagy commented on Shaheen’s wide frame and his ability to catch passes which can be translated for fantasy purposes that Shaheen will be utilized to move the ball down the field.  Trey Burton was primarily used in Philadelphia as a red zone target on low volume when sharing the field with Zach Ertz, a role that can similarly be expected in Chicago as well.  Thus, Shaheen should be a late target in PPR formats if you’re in need of a solid tight end, while Burton will continue to be over-drafted as the shiny new car in Mitch Trubisky’s garage.


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