Fantasy Football Rankings 2011: Must-Have Running Backs in PPR Leagues
A point per reception, or PPR, league is an interesting twist on your standard fantasy league. This league values slot receivers and versatile running backs more than standard leagues that tend to value touchdowns and sheer yardage from play makers.
The added points coming from individual receptions gives the league a different set of stars. Players like Wes Welker and Kevin Walter who don't have high yards per catch averages or high touchdown totals can be big parts of a successful team in PPR leagues.
The top of fantasy running back rankings change much less than receiver rankings do in PPR leagues, but the points for receptions do add value to certain players, notably the following players.
Reggie Bush- Miami Dolphins
Reggie Bush is the prototypical PPR running back. He has struggled to establish himself as a true running back, but he has flourished as a versatile weapon.
Bush has caught no fewer than 34 passes in any season and has caught as many as 88 in a season. Couple that with his big play potential and you have the makings of a PPR star.
His new team will also help matters. In New Orleans, his receptions were declining as other receiving options were emerging. In Miami, they have fewer top receiving options and their penchant for rotating running backs in and out will allow Bush to just focus on what he does best.
Ray Rice- Baltimore Ravens
Rice is already a first round running back, but in PPR leagues, you have to consider making him one of the first two or three running backs selected.
Rice has caught 174 passes in his three years in Baltimore and the Ravens show no signs of shifting the focus of the offense away from him.
The Ravens of late haven't featured much of a down field passing game and that helps Rice's value in a big way. Quarterback Joe Flacco seems content to check down to underneath receivers and Rice is often the beneficiary of that.
Pierre Thomas- New Orleans Saints
Thomas is an offensive weapon very similar to Reggie Bush, the running back that departed New Orleans this offseason. Thomas is more of a play maker in space then he is a straight line, up-the-gut runner.
Thomas has yet to blossom into a true PPR superstar, but he has had as many as 39 receptions in a season.
The biggest thing Thomas has working for him is, in fact, the departure of Bush. Many of Bush's receptions will trickle down to Thomas. With his big play potential, it's easy to foresee Thomas becoming a Ray Rice-like receiving running back as early as this season.
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