There is no question PPR (Points Per Reception) scoring is taking over. Need proof? Almost 90 percent of the leagues represented in the MFL ADP results use PPR scoring.
Combine that with a new willingness to wait on running backs—call it “zero RB”, call it “do the opposite”, call it whatever you want; it was around before I did it at the turn of the millennium and thought I was being radical—and there’s a definite need to find pass-catching running backs in the later rounds.
So let’s go looking.
Justin Forsett, Ravens
This one’s almost too easy, but Forsett currently sports an ADP of RB17—in PPR leagues! There’s simply no rational explanation for him to fall that far. Not only is he ensconced as Baltimore’s feature back, not only is he coming off a career-high 44 receptions a year ago, but his new play-caller is the guy who oversaw the offense that produced 130 targets for Matt Forte last season. Forsett may not quite crack the top 10 PPR running backs, but at RB17 he’s about half a dozen spots too low. Grab him in the middle of Round 2 and reap the proceeds.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Martin’s bustout rookie campaign is now three years into the rear-view mirror, but you also no longer have to pay a premium price for him. An ADP of RB35 lands Martin very near the double-digit rounds, but early reports out of Tampa have him looking a whole lot like vintage Martin as opposed to the imposter we’ve seen the past two seasons. Moreover, the Bucs boast a bevy of field-stretchers—yet will start two rookie offensive linemen in front of another rookie, Jameis Winston, at quarterback. That spells plenty of checkdown opportunities for Martin, who even after two years of disappointment feels like a significantly safer investment than second-year Buc Charles Sims.
Roy Helu, Raiders
Only four teams completed more passes to running backs last season than the Raiders; only 11 backs caught more balls last year than Helu. Roy left Jay Gruden’s offense in Washington to join an Oakland attack helmed by Derek Carr, who averaged a league-low 5.5 yards per passing attempt last season. That’s a lot of dump-offs. While the Raiders have a new coach this season and added receivers like Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to encourage Carr to take more chances down the field, he’ll still do more than his share of checking down. Even if Latavius Murray blows up as the Raiders’ feature back there’s PPR upside to Helu—especially as RB54 in PPR leagues, with an ADP in Round 16.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers
Oh how easy it is to forget. Two years ago Woodhead ranked second among all running backs in receptions (76), receiving yards (605), and touchdowns (6)—stats that made him a top-20 fantasy back. Injuries cost Woodhead most of last season, but he’s back in his old role in 2015. The spotlight is shining brightly on first-round pick—and new Chargers feature back—Melvin Gordon, but the one knock on Gordon’s skill set is that he has limited experience in the passing game. No worries, Gordon can handle the carries and Woodhead is around to play the role made popular by Darren Sproles. Adding Woodhead to your PPR roster at his current ADP of RB57 might qualify as the steal of the draft.