2019 Fantasy Football – PPR Value Running Backs

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
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Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins
The Redskins’ receivers consist of Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis after losing their most reliable receiver, Jamison Crowder. There isn’t a player in that group you can count on going into the season as a top target unless Reed can miraculously stay healthy. Washington’s top-two running backs are Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson, both less than reliable receivers. Washington won’t be very good with a rookie quarterback and less-than-spectacular offensive players, but Chris Thompson should be healthy after what essentially was a rehab season and Dwayne Haskins will need to use Thompson as he adjusts to the speed of the game. Right now, Thompson is going off the board as the 59th running back in PPR ADP, so he’s not going to cost you much.

Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders
Josh Jacobs in the lead back in Oakland now, but Jalen Richard isn’t going anywhere. Coach Jon Gruden likes Richard, and he should see plenty of snaps as a receiver. Last season, Richard was the 29th PPR running back with 68 receptions for 607 yards, and I expect the Raiders will trail in games more often than not this season, which will give Richard more work when trying to come back through the pass. Richard is the 62nd running back in PPR ADP this season, and as long as you have deep benches, he’s worthy of a roster spot.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers
Ekeler is a good player. Since entering the league, he ranks third in yards per rushing attempt, third in yards per target and second in yards per touch. Yes, those numbers are in strong situations and are a smaller sample size than starters, but the ability is there and even with Melvin Gordon playing most of the season, Ekeler finished as the 25th-best PPR back last year. He would split work with Justin Jackson if Gordon were to go down, but I do expect Ekeler to be a big part of that snap share and Philip Rivers loves throwing to his backs.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
Leonard Fournette isn’t a sneaky PPR play, but I do think his upside is tied directly to his receptions and that he will get plenty of chances as a receiver this season. Fournette has 58 receptions through 21 games in his NFL career and believes his usage as a receiver will go up this season. Most of the top running backs are going to accumulate receptions, but Fournette, who many people are down on, should also keep pace as a receiver, especially now that the Jaguars let Blake Bortles go.

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Bills
Buffalo’s running back group is a huge cluster-eff, and I can understand just letting anyone associated with the team go to someone else on draft day, but I like Yeldon’s ability and his consistency, while the backfield looks ripe for the picking. Bills rookie Devin Singletary isn’t a receiver, and Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy are on the edge of the cliff just clinging to their last few youthful bursts. Yeldon is the best receiver on the field with McCoy in decline.

Andre Ellington and Bruce Anderson, RBs, Buccaneers
Andre Ellington and Bruce Anderson will fight it out for the starting receiving back job in Tampa Bay this season, and with Bruce Arians as the head coach and two not great receivers in Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones vying for the lead-back role, there is plenty of room for one of Anderson or Ellington to take the job and run with it. Ellington likely has the upper hand since he has played under Arians, but Anderson is younger and could beat him out. It’s going to be tough taking one or the other in fantasy drafts, so I’ve been leaning toward the rookie, but that could change quickly in training camp. Keep a close eye on this battle, because I like the winner.

Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott was a great PPR back last season, as he caught 77 passes for 567 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s not the receiving back that Pollard could be. If new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can actually make an impact on this offense, I could see Pollard becoming a useful piece for Moore in the receiving game.

Also, check out WalterFootball.com’s otherFantasy Football Rankings.

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