Often times fantasy owners spend a ton of time analyzing the first few rounds of drafts and tend to spend less time researching the middle-rounds. To me, hitting on these players is one of the biggest keys to winning a championship. Imagine last season if you would have taken Melvin Gordon and LeGarrette Blount in the 7th and 10th rounds? Your path to success would have been far easier. Not to mention the possibility of using them as trade bait. Below are Middle-Round PPR RB Targets that could help you win your league in 2017.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers (FFC ADP 6.03, RB27)
Whether you’re running a Zero RB strategy or just looking for some depth in the 6th round, Doug Martin fits the bill as a possible bounce back candidate. Some will argue that with a three-game suspension and his up and down career makes drafting Martin in the sixth round of any draft a bit rich. Through his five-year career, he’s been feast or famine. Martin earned two top five finishes in 2015 and 2012, but also finished outside the top 50 RBs for three seasons. I can understand why fantasy owners are timid about investing in Martin this season especially after how terrible he was last season. In eight games, he finished with 421 rushing yards on 144 carries (2.9 YPC) and three touchdowns in 2016. However, it should be noted that he suffered a torn hamstring Week 2 and never looked right once he returned.
Heading into 2017, Martin looks explosive through two preseason games and is the most talented running back on the Bucs roster. He should resume his role as the workhorse back upon return from suspension and should be a viable weekly high-end RB2, making him an absolute steal at his current ADP (RB27).
Draft or Pass: Draft
Tevin Coleman, Falcons (FFC ADP: 7.01, RB30)
Tevin Coleman was one of the most efficient runners on a per carry basis of any back in 2016. He was second in the league with 0.54 fantasy points per snap and seventh in fantasy points per opportunity (1.21 FP/O). He was also a pretty reliable fantasy option finishing as an RB1 or 2 61.5% of the time. Now fast forward to 2017, and Coleman’s ADP is falling gradually. He’s right on the border of being a bit too high to draft considering he’s going to be splitting time behind Devonta Freeman.
Last season, Coleman only received a 44.7% snap share and received 31% of the total team carries, but turned his limited usage into 14.7 PPR points per game. This was the 19th highest among all running backs last season. What really led to this outburst was his nose for the end zone. He found pay-dirt 11 times last season, which is a number that will likely drop. In 2016, Tevin Coleman had one of the most efficient seasons we have seen from a backup running back in quite some time. I can’t see a scenario where he provides the same weekly production this year. His only real path to week-to-week production would have to come from an injury to Devonta Freeman. That opportunity would make Coleman one of the biggest lottery tickets this season, but that’s not an effective way to play fantasy football. If Coleman fell a few more rounds, I would be far more interested in rostering him in 2017.
Draft or Pass: Pass
Theo Riddick, Lions (FFC 7.05, RB32)
Did I miss something? I get the love for Ameer Abdullah, but have we just forgotten how good Theo Riddick is in PPR formats? The man has averaged five receptions per game the last two seasons and y’all wanna just write him off? C’mon man! Theo Riddick was an absolute stud last season (when healthy) amassing 53 receptions on 62 targets for 371 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 357 yards on 92 attempts (3.9 YPC) and added another score. One of the biggest factors for any player in fantasy football is consistency and Riddick had that in spades. In 10 games, he was an RB1 or 2 70% (30% RB1, 40% RB2) of the time which was 9th highest among all running backs.
Now despite all of the hype surrounding Ameer Abdullah this season, there is zero reason to believe that Riddick will lose any of his pass-catching work. As things stand currently, I will gladly take a running back in the 7th round who has hauled in 133 receptions the past two seasons.
Draft or Pass: Draft
Honorable Mention Drafts:
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs (FFC 8.07. RB39) – Still not 100% sold on how big of a role he will have, however, Hunt continues to display the qualities we look for in a workhorse back. Although Spencer Ware has a stranglehold over the starting job, Kareem Hunt could easily earn himself a big enough chunk of the touches because of his ability as a pass-catcher. He would be a strong RB2 if anything happened to Spencer Ware.
Duke Johnson, Browns (FFC 9.01, RB40) – All the hype has gone towards Isaiah Crowell this offseason, however, Duke Johnson represents who a player who possesses some upside of his own. He may not be a guy who finds the end zone very often, however, he should be a lock for 70+ targets this season. Call me crazy, but I really like the direction the Browns are heading and wouldn’t be shocked to see them win five or six games this season which would be a major improvement for a team that had the number one overall pick in 2017.
C.J. Prosise, Seahawks (FFC 9.08, RB43) – I’ve gotten to the point that I want nothing to do with Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls in either format. They have gotten extremely close in ADP and they both are vying for the same role. If I’m going to target a Seattle RB, then I’m going after the explosive pass-catch back who is the cheapest between the trio.
Honorable Mention Pass:
Paul Perkins, Giants (FFC 7.04, RB31) – I really want to like Paul Perkins, I really do, however, their offensive line looks absolutely anemic. Perkins isn’t the kind of back that can withstand a bad offensive line. If I was going to target any Giants back then give me Shane Vereen in the 13th round (RB61).
Frank Gore, Colts (FFC 7.10. RB34) – I get it, the man is the ageless wonder. He has withstood all of the narratives we hear about running backs once they eclipse the age 30 barrier. The problem I have with Gore is that I don’t think you can reasonably expect much of a ceiling. Once I get into the 8th round and beyond I’m looking for home run swings. Investing in an RB that is playing in his age 34 season doesn’t do much for me. I would much rather wait for three or four more rounds and take his backup Marlon Mack who offers much more upside, especially if Gore finally breaks down.
Terrance West (FFC 8.02. RB36) – Another between the tackles grinder who has been a JAG. To make matters worse, he has looked absolutely terrible in two preseasons games. Honestly, if I was going to target a Baltimore RB not named Danny Woodhead, it would be Javorius Allen. He’s essentially free and has looked like the more explosive option to the shoulder the load.