The top of your PPR draft will look very similar to that of your standard scoring draft with the stud running backs and receivers filling out most of the first two rounds. However, even though the names will be the same, the order in which they are selected is likely to be slightly different. That could mean you need to look at certain players above all other when looking to make your pick in round one. And if any of these guys slide to you in round two, well, you should know what to do:
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell entered the league in 2013, but he dominated it in 2014. Therefore, it is no surprise to see Bell at the top of PPR draft boards. He led all running backs in receiving yards last year with 854 and was second in rushing yards with 1,361. Furthermore, last season only 4 running backs had more than 70 targets and only 2 had more than 100. Matt Forte and Le’Veon Bell. (Can you believe that Fred Jackson was 3rd with 90?!!) Even though he will be missing the first 2 games with a suspension he is too much of a fantasy powerhouse to let slip past the first or second pick.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Thomas is one of the most physically gifted and imposing receivers in the league. Even with an aging Peyton Manning and a new coach who loves to pound the rock, you can expect Thomas to receive near double-digit targets weekly throughout the season. In 2014, he led all players in targets (185) and targets per game (11.6). According to ESPN, Thomas currently has an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 13.1 in standard scoring drafts. However, in PPR leagues do not be surprised to see this target and touchdown monster jump up to the end or even middle of the first round.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Another player being drafted in the second round for standard scoring (13.4 ADP) but likely to crack the first round in some PPR leagues is Gronk. The reason for this is likely because of the drop off at the position. As far as fantasy tight ends go, it is Rob Gronkowski and then everyone else. Gronkowski was 1 of 4 tight ends to have 80 catches last season. In addition to the 80 catches, he was the only one to also have over 1,000 yards receiving and at least 10 touchdowns. Gronk catch, Gronk score, Gronk spike!
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown has solidified himself as one of the top receivers in the NFL despite standing only 5’10”. As far as PPR players go you can not find more reliability and consistency. He led all receivers in 2014 with 129 receptions, 1,698 yards receiving and was tied for 2nd with 13 touchdowns. Brown also had at least 5 catches and 70 yards in EVERY SINGLE GAME last season. (Are you kidding me?) Not to mention 7 games with at least 7 catches and 100 yards. While it will certainly be hard for Brown to replicate those numbers I, for one, will not be the one betting against him.
AJ Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
While Green may not be a first round selection this fantasy year, do not be suprised if he performs like one. Having missed 3 games completely last season and not being 100% healthy in a least 6 total, fantasy owners seem to have forgotten Green as the dynamic beast he is. 2012 and 2013 Green had back-to-back seasons with 95+ catches, 1,300 yards, and 11 touchdowns. An improved running attack led by Jeremy Hill is only likely to help Green as he will no longer be the sole focus of opposing defenses. As Andy Dalton’s saftey blanket and best deep threat, look for Green to have a bounce back season if he stays healthy.