Fantasy Football 2019: PPR Rankings Cheat Sheet and Expert Reaction

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis (18) makes a heart shape with his hands after he scored a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
John Froschauer/Associated Press

The best fantasy football owner is an informed one.

But with a wealth of analysis available today, it's not always easy to tell which tips are helpful and which might do more harm than good.

That's where we come in.

After running through our trusty top-40 PPR (points per reception) cheat-sheet rankings, we'll examine three expert takes regarding a pair of up-and-comers to target and an overvalued player to avoid.


PPR Top-40 Cheat Sheet

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

4. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

5. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

6. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

8. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

9. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

10. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

11. Todd Gurley II, RB, Los Angeles Rams

12. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

13. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

14. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

15. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

16. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

17. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

19. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

20. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

21. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders

22. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

23. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

24. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

25. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

26. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

27. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

28. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

29. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

30. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

31. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

32. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

33. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

34. Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams

35. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

36. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

37. Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

38. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

39. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

40. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Expert Takes

Dante Pettis Has Breakout Potential

It was a rocky rookie season for Dante Pettis with the San Francisco 49ers, which perhaps should have been expected.

He caught passes from three different quarterbacks—starter Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3—meaning he was adjusting to more than head coach Kyle Shanahan's complex schemes.

Pettis also had to overcome a knee injury and ultimately managed only 12 appearances and seven starts. That said, he did look more comfortable as the year went on, so he might have a chance to build on that momentum during his sophomore season.

ESPN's Field Yates included the 23-year-old among his second-year breakout candidates for the following reasons:

"Much of what happened in San Francisco offensively last season had to do with the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo. Even so, Pettis made his mark with Nick Mullens (who, yes, did show well in his first NFL action) under center, posting a three-game streak of seven or more targets and a receiving touchdown in each affair. The only players with a longer such streak last season were Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen, Christian McCaffrey and Keenan Allen. Not bad. Neither was Pettis' 17.3 yards per catch, fifth-best among the 212 players with at least 20 catches. The 49ers' offense figures to be more explosive this offseason, which should lend itself to more scores for Pettis."

Pettis' average draft position of 76.0 ranks 30th among wide receivers, per FantasyFootballCalculator.com. If Yates' hunch is right, he could easily outperform that number.


Josh Jacobs Has RB1 Upside

While Josh Jacobs may not have been Alabama's featured running back, he nevertheless emerged as the featured rusher of the 2019 draft.

The Oakland Raiders spent the 24th overall pick on the 21-year-old, showing their immense appreciation of his rushing and receiving skills. The next running back didn't come off the board until the 53rd selection (Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles).

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Jacobs looks like the real deal, perhaps capable of handling the three-down workload Alabama never offered him.

If he grabs the starring role in this backfield and this offense poses a stronger downfield threat after the additions of Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, then ESPN's Matt Bowen can see an RB1 ceiling for the Raiders rookie:

"Given the anticipated volume in his rookie season, and the expectation that the Raiders do become more efficient and vertical in the passing game with Brown and Williams, Jacobs has a ceiling of an RB1 in deeper leagues. And there is value here in both PPR and non-PPR formats. In short, I'm going to target him in all of my leagues."

If you're in agreement with Bowen, then Jacobs could have significant sleeper potential. On average, he's only the 20th running back off the board.


Eric Ebron Won't Score Half as Many Touchdowns

If you drafted Eric Ebron last season, there's a decent chance it was a league-winning decision. He ranked just 18th among tight ends in ADP but then exploded for the fourth-most fantasy points at the position with the Indianapolis Colts.

His 13 touchdowns were more than he'd scored his first four seasons combined (11). His 66 receptions bested his previous high mark. His 750 yards did the same and marked only the second time he had topped 600. He even scored the second rushing touchdown of his career.

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The 26-year-old is firmly entrenched on the fantasy radar now, as the seventh tight end selected. That's more than justifiable if you feel his production is anywhere near sustainable, but ESPN's Mike Clay says that isn't the case.

"Ebron's touchdown total was 4.0 above his expected total (10), so it's reckless to project a similar conversion rate in 2019," he wrote. "It's also worth noting that the return of Jack Doyle is baked into the projection [of six touchdowns]. Ebron's snaps, routes and targets were all drastically lower when Doyle was active last season."

As much as rostering Ebron might have helped last season, avoiding him could now prove beneficial if he's unlikely to live up to his new draft cost.