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Fantasy football rankings 2016: Running backs in PPR leagues

PPR is now one of the top fantasy formats in the game. Which running backs stand out in this group?

In the ever-expanding world of fantasy football, PPR (points-per-reception) has emerged as one of the most popular formats, standing right up there with standard scoring, if not surpassing it outright.

It’s important to pay attention to your league’s scoring system, because PPR can have a pretty big change in how running backs are rated. The players who get the biggest bump in PPR will naturally be the ones who play a big role in their team’s passing games, and players who head to the bench on passing downs will take a hit in our rankings.

PPR is fun because it gives newfound value to players you might otherwise never consider drafting. Theo Riddick is kinda useless in standard leagues, but he turned 99 targets into 80 catches last season, making him a decent flex option in PPR. Likewise, Danny Woodhead was Philip Rivers’ most trusted back in the passing game and saw his role expand after Melvin Gordon flopped and later got injured.

Fantasy PPR players eyeing a running back in the first round should look for the right combination of heavy workloads and passing-game chops. Luckily for them, David Johnson fits that description perfectly. After taking over as the Cardinals’ full-time back in Week 12, Johnson averaged 18 carries and 5.6 targets per game over the final five games, proving that he’s ready for a workhorse role. The presence of Chris Johnson may be a slight threat, but David will be heavily involved in Arizona’s passing game, making him an easy first-round PPR choice.

Devonta Freeman is another high-tier player who gets a PPR boost after seeing 97 targets last year, finishing with 73 catches for 578 yards and three touchdowns. And if you’re looking for a slight value, look no further than Matt Forte, who can still play at age 30 and should fit perfectly in Chan Gailey’s spread offense. He’s almost a bargain at the end of the third or early fourth round.

Also, don’t totally sleep on Le’Veon Bell. The three-game suspension is an obvious hit to his fantasy value, but in his last healthy season (2014) Bell had 105 targets, 83 catches and 854 receiving yards. He’ll be the clear-cut No. 1 PPR back when he comes back in Week 5. Just make sure you grab DeAngelo Williams if you take the plunge on Bell.

As far as rookies go, C.J. Prosise could be a nifty PPR asset. Thomas Rawls didn’t do much in the passing game even before he broke his ankle (just 11 targets in 13 games), so look for Prosise to fill that spot in Seattle’s offense early on. In Oakland, DeAndre Washington could get some run with Latavius Murray failing to impress as an every-down runner.

Rank Consensus Team DC AW SK MG DG
1 Todd Gurley LA 2 2 2 2 1
2 David Johnson ARI 1 1 1 1 6
3 Lamar Miller HOU 3 3 4 3 8
4 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 4 4 3 5 5
5 Adrian Peterson MIN 6 5 5 6 2
6 Jamaal Charles KC 7 7 6 7 4
7 Devonta Freeman ATL 5 6 7 4 11
8 Doug Martin TB 9 9 12 9 3
9 Le'Veon Bell PIT 8 10 8 11 12
10 Eddie Lacy GB 13 12 11 8 9
11 LeSean McCoy BUF 10 11 10 13 10
12 Mark Ingram NO 12 8 9 12 14
13 C.J. Anderson DEN 11 13 13 10 21
14 Latavius Murray OAK 16 16 15 14 13
15 Matt Forte NYJ 14 15 16 15 15
16 Thomas Rawls SEA 15 19 18 16 17
17 Carlos Hyde SF 21 22 14 17 18
18 Duke Johnson CLE 19 20 19 20 25
19 Giovani Bernard CIN 18 21 20 18 27
20 Danny Woodhead SD 17 17 17 19 38
21 Ryan Mathews PHI 23 18 22 21 24
22 Jonathan Stewart CAR 24 30 23 26 7
23 Matt Jones WAS 22 25 28 25 16
24 DeMarco Murray TEN 20 14 27 24 30
25 Jeremy Hill CIN 26 23 21 23 34
26 Jeremy Langford CHI 29 26 24 32 19
27 Ameer Abdullah DET 25 24 26 27 22
28 Melvin Gordon SD 30 27 31 22 29
29 Frank Gore IND 28 28 29 29 20
30 Arian Foster MIA 34 29 25 36 26
31 T.J. Yeldon JAC 43 35 30 31 28
32 DeAngelo Williams PIT 35 33 35 38 23
33 Justin Forsett BAL
32 39 37 28 33
34 Chris Ivory JAC
36 37 39 30 35
35 Charles Sims TB 31 40 36 34 32
36 Theo Riddick DET 27 32 32 33 51
37 Rashad Jennings NYG 37 31 34 37 50
38 Jay Ajayi MIA 40 38 33 35 37
39 Javorius Allen BAL 39 34 40 43 39
40 Bilal Powell NYJ 38 36 51 42 36
41 Tevin Coleman ATL 44 41 38 39 49
42 Isaiah Crowell CLE 42 43 41 41 51
43 Derrick Henry TEN 46 42 42 44 51
44 C.J. Prosise SEA 41 45 43 46 42
45 Shane Vereen NYG 45 44 51 47 44
46 James White NE 33 46 45 40 51
47 LeGarrette Blount NE 51 42 50 51 51
48 Dion Lewis NE 51 50 46 50 31
49 Darren Sproles PHI 47 47 44 48 51
50 DeAndre Washington OAK 48 49 47 45 51
-- Jerick McKinnon MIN 45 48 48 51 51
-- Alfred Morris DAL 51 51 51 51 40
-- Darren McFadden DAL 51 51 51 51 41
-- Spencer Ware KC 49 51 51 51 46
-- Charcandrick West KC 51 51 51 51 45
-- Kenneth Dixon BAL 51 51 49 49 51
-- Devontae Booker DEN 51 51 51 51 47
-- Chris Johnson ARI 51 51 51 51 48
-- Christine Michael SEA 50 51 51 51 51

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