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5 Running Backs to Target in PPR including Giovani Bernard
In point per reception (PPR) leagues every year there are running backs that seem to get undervalued or overlooked. They may not be flashy runners or even carries but that doesn’t mean that they can’t help you. Which running backs should you target in upcoming PPR drafts?
Giovani Bernard | Cincinnati Bengals
Currently coming off of the board at 6.02 in 12 team PPR leagues Giovani Bernard is providing tremendous value for drafters. He is RB26 in average draft position right now and if the past two seasons are any indication he will once again produce a top 20 running back in PPR. In 2014 he was 18th in fantasy points among running backs but on a points per game basis he came in at number 12. Last season he finished as the 16th best PPR RB. He has averaged 65 targets a season during his three year career. It’s hard to imagine him not being in the same ballpark this season and potentially topping his 71 from his rookie season.
Charles Sims | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another running back that is going much lower than he should despite being a very productive PPR option is Charles Sims. He is being drafted as RB35 at pick 7.11 in 12 team PPR leagues. A season ago Sims was RB17 in PPR one fantasy point behind Bernard. This was in a season where Doug Martin had 321 touches and was RB5 in PPR scoring. Sims seems to have a pretty safe floor with a ton of upside. If Martin misses time Sims could vault into the lead back role or get a bigger piece of workload pie. Martin only played 17 games in the two previous season combined so the potential is there.
Theo Riddick | Detroit Lions
Theo Riddick may the running back the benefits the most in PPR scoring. He was RB38 in standard scoring a season ago but flies up to RB18 in PPR leagues. He had 80 catches for 697 and 3 touchdowns. He was targeted 99 times a season ago, good for third on the team. Riddick was targeted the second most of any running back a season ago. Assuming the Lions have pass blocking issues again this season Riddick should be peppered with targets again in 2016. Riddick had 43 carries last year and 72 over his three seasons with the Lions. He is a true passing down back which provides more risk than Bernard or Sims but a solid RB2 or flex option feels well within range for Riddick this season.
Duke Johnson | Cleveland Browns
Duke Johnson is another running back that gets a sizable bump in PPR formats. Based upon his 2015 numbers he goes from RB34 in standard to RB23 in PPR. He had an impressive 74 targets in his rookie season. Johnson caught 61 of those targets for 534 yards and two touchdowns. Hue Jackson has taken over as the head coach for the Browns and this has people excited. If you add in the fact that many are typically underwhelmed by Isaiah Crowell, Johnson has been one of the most buzz worthy players during the offseason. His ADP has climbed steadily all offseason going from round 8 in April to round 7 in May and now he is coming off the board at 5.12 good for RB25. This still feels like good value for Johnson, however if that ADP keeps climbing and he goes late 4th or early 5th I would have a hard time taking him there, especially if I can get Gio a round later or Sims two to three rounds later.
Chris Thompson | Washington Redskins
For those who are looking for a flier at the end of drafts or play in deep leagues Chris Thompson is a name to keep in mind. He is currently going 13.11 as RB58. Thompson has the talent to become a part of this offense as a pass catching running back much like Riddick. Before you go too crazy I’m not predicting anywhere close to 100 targets for him but there is value to be had. Matt Jones is the presumed starter and has shown some ability as a pass catcher. That said Thompson made an impact during a 4 week stretch last season. He caught eight, six and six balls in three of the games. Jones played in two of Thompson’s big catch games and Alfred Morris played in all three. You could do much worse at the end of PPR drafts by drafting Thompson especially if you want a player who can give you stability assuming he gets the work and if he isn’t apart of the offense then he can be one of your first cuts when you add one of the hot waiver wire targets.