Playing in a PPR (point-per-reception) fantasy football league is much different than playing in a traditional league.
Sure, yards and touchdowns still are important, but owners must prioritize wide receivers, running backs and tight ends who catch the ball at a greater clip than their peers. Some players are virtual locks to excel in PPR formats, but there are others who are perennially untrustworthy.
With the 2017 fantasy football season fast-approaching, we compiled a list of 10 PPR players you should target, and 10 who should be avoided.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
No-brainer here, as Brown is the best PPR receiver in the game. Age might become a factor next year when he turns 30, but there are no such worries this season.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Brown is the best, but Jones is neck-and-neck with him. The Falcons receiver may be the best pure wideout in the game, and the best still might be yet to come.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
This guy is an absolute force in PPR leagues. Even when the Cardinals face stout run defenses, Johnson’s ability in the passing game makes him a must-start, regardless of matchup.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The only thing keeping Bell from being the top PPR running back is his injury and suspension history. If he stays on the field, he could be the best option at the position.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans could top this list by next season — he’s that good. Already an absolute stud, Evans should be even better this season, assuming quarterback Jameis Winston makes his expected next step toward greatness. He still should see plenty of targets even with DeSean Jackson in the fold.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
When healthy, McCoy is one of the most productive backs in the NFL, and he gets a ton of touches in both the running and passing games. The Bills are pretty thin at receiver, so expect them to rely heavily on McCoy again this year.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
Eli Manning’s favorite target once again should be among the best receivers in fantasy. Sure, he can be a bit of a headcase, but Beckham’s ability to throw up crooked numbers more than makes up for it.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
As is always the case, injuries are the biggest concern for “Gronk.” That said, he’s still the best tight end in the game, and should be the first taken in all fantasy drafts.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Plagued by inconsistency early in his career, Hilton was a monster last season. Andrew Luck loves to throw him the ball in all situations, and PPR owners will reap the benefits.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Given the team he plays for and the quarterback who throws him the ball, Green sometimes gets overlooked. But the fact remains that, when healthy, he’s among the most trustworthy receivers in all fantasy formats.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Robinson had an unreal season in 2015, but was horribly disappointing last season. We think his ceiling really lies somewhere in the middle, but given that Blake Bortles still is under center in Jacksonville, he could be a bust once again.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Hopkins is one of the most talented receivers in the game, but an iffy quarterback situation in Houston makes us uneasy about targeting him early in drafts.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
Howard was a PPR revelation in 2016, as the then-rookie put up huge rushing and receiving numbers. But with Alshon Jeffery now in Philadelphia and Mike Glennon at quarterback, the Bears’ passing game could struggle, which spells trouble for the team’s rushing attack.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
Lynch is a risky target to begin with, as he’s 31 years old and coming off a year of retirement. He doesn’t add much more in PPR leagues, either, as he recorded fewer than 40 catches in each of his six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. You can do better than “Beast Mode.”
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
Miller was good, but not great in his first year with the Texans. We think he’s talented enough to be a PPR stud, but Houston’s quarterback situation drastically limits his ceiling.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
Even if Benjamin is 100 percent after last season’s ACL tear, we don’t have much confidence in him this season. He showed up to camp alarmingly heavier than usual — and not in a good way. If he’s available in the late rounds, give him a shot, but don’t reach.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers
The dual-threat ability Montgomery showcased last season has him high on many PPR boards. But the Packers drafted three running backs who could fight for playing time, and it’s ultimately unwise to trust any back in Green Bay’s offense given how much Aaron Rodgers likes to throw.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is a popular breakout candidate for this season, we’re not sold. Yes, the guy is electric, but Alex Smith still is the quarterback in Kansas City.
New Orleans Saints Running Backs
With Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram in the backfield, the Saints have plenty of depth at running back. But fantasy owners should be wary of the inevitable RB tandem, and neither Peterson nor Ingram is know for their pass-catching abilities.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
Whether Trevor Siemian starts at quarterback or not, we’re not comfortable targeting any Broncos receiver in the early rounds.
Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images
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