With fantasy football leagues starting to form and prospective team managers already scouting for the best players and rookie prospects. One type of player that will be in demand are those in PPR (point per reception) leagues.
Depending on scoring, the right PPR player can mean the difference between winning and losing, and with the NFL’s pass-happy emphasis the need for grabbing a pass-catching running back, speedy slot receiver would be ideal.
There are a lot of No.1 and No.2 wideouts who are their respective team’s leader in targets and catches, so be sure to look at the number of targets that they average, but also from my own experience, look at a team’s No.3 or slot receivers(i.e; possession receivers), who may not get the touchdowns or red-zone targets that a tight end, but will likely be targeted on key third-down conversion attempts, and other tough catches in crunch time.
Think Wes Welker, Hines Ward or former Colts great Marvin Harrison.
Without further ado, here are the top 25 PPR players that you must have this coming fantasy football season.
1.) Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Perhaps THE most dangerous wideout in football today, not only is he Big Ben’s go-to guy, but the recipient of many targets.
2.) Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: After having a monster rookie campaign and winning NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year honors, Beckham now gets a fully healthy Victor Cruz back in the slot and a pass-catching back in Shane Vareen to take some of the attention from him downfield.
3.) Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: Tom Brady’s go-to guy in terms of targets, Edelman is set to have another monster year in Foxboro.
4.) Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: Fully healthy and ready to roll, look for Cruz to once again be Eli’s go-to guy under duress.
5.) Shane Vareen, RB, New York Giants: A little high for Vareen here at number five, but as stated above, with Cruz and Beckham likely to command attention, Vareen could be a deadly weapon for Eli to use out of the backfield.
6.) Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: Dangerous both vertically and out of the slot, Nelson is Rodgers go-to guy early and often.
7.) Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos: Thanks to Julius Thomas bolting to Jacksonville in free agency, and the lack of a credible run game, look for Sanders to catch plenty of targets from ol’ Peyton
8.) T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Despite the off-season addition of Andre Johnson and the play of Donte Moncrief, Hilton is a solid PPR option and Luck’s main man.
9.) Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: The best dual-threat running back in football, look for him to be the receipent of Andy Reid’s patented running back screens.
11.) Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: Call this the “Calvin Johnson” effect. With defense likely to roll their coverage’s towards Megatron as well as towering tight end Eric Ebron, Tate will clean up underneath on dump-offs and short/intermediate routes.
12.) Greg Jennings, WR, Miami Dolphins: After a shaky season with a rookie quarterback in Minnesota with Teddy Bridgewater, Jennings lands in the perfect spot in Miami with a better QB in Ryan Tannehill and rookie Devante Parker likely out for opening week.
13.) Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: The small and diminutive jitter-bug will continue to do damage for lucky fantasy owners everywhere catching screen passes from Sam Bradford.
14.) C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints: Playing the afore-mentioned Darren Sproles role for the Saints, Spiller could be a PPR steal, due to his ability to catch balls out of the backfield and as a wide receiver.
15.) Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears: A dangerous threat both vertically and out of the slot, look for Cutler to look for Royal on third downs early and often this year.
16.) Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Dangerous as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield, look for Carson Palmer to target him a lot on screens and flare routes.
17.) John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Another deadly option for PPR players is the No.3 Cards receiver, who will be sure to be able to sneak into open areas, while defenses are focused on Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
18.) Justin Hardy (R), WR, Atlanta Falcons: With no more Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez retired, Matt Ryan needs a new safety blanket on third down conversions and a reliable possession receiver. And the former record-setting ECU standout, more than fits the bill.
19.) Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns: With question marks at quarterback and a suspect WR corps, Hawkins can be the main go-to guy for either Josh McCown or Johnny Manziel.
20.) Mohammed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: The No.3 wideout behind A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, Sanu is always a PPR bargain, as he is one of Andy Dalton’s top targets.
21.) Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Like Sanu, the shifty and elusive change-of-pace Bernard is one of Dalton’s favorites and always a threat to take it to the house.
22.) Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans: Likely to be one of rookie franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota’s top go-to guys, the former Baylor star is always a good PPR bet.
23.) Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams: After three years of dealing with the oft-injured Sam Bradford, Austin could turn into a PPR steal under the more durable and sure-armed Nick Foles.
24.) Richardo Lockette (R), WR, Seattle Seahawks: A low-risk, high-reward in PPR, due to Seattle’s heavy run-oriented offense, the speedy Lockette could give the mobile and accurate Russell Wilson a much-needed possession receiver.
25.) Duke Johnson (R), RB, Cleveland Browns: Another lock-risk, high reward play in PPR leagues, thanks to his impressive training camp in working as both a running back and wide out, Johnson could lead all Browns receivers in targets and receptions.