A list of the top players to draft for the 2017 fantasy football season in PPR leagues.
1. David Johnson (ARZ)
|Rushing Stats||Receiving Stats|
|2017 Projections||View David Johnson's 2017 projected stats.|
After a dominant finish to his rookie campaign, big things were expected from Johnson in 2016, but it's doubtful even his most enthusiastic boosters foresaw what was coming. The 25-year-old seized the Cardinals' starting job by the throat and never let go, recording at least 100 yards from scrimmage in an NFL-record 15 straight games before finally being held in check by a limited snap count in a meaningless Week 17 contest against the Rams. Along the way he scored 20 TDs, piled up 2,118 combined yards and received 72 red-zone touches, leading the league in all three categories and establishing himself as one of the few true every-down backs left in the modern game. Johnson's 6-1, 224-pound frame allows him to run with some power, but it's his elusiveness and speed in the open field that set him apart as a home run threat, and his 34 runs of 10 yards or more tied him for fifth in the NFL. Bruce Arians' offense also took full advantage of Johnson's pass-catching skills, and his 54.9 receiving yards per game led all NFL backs. That 2016 performance may not even represent his ceiling, though. With Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald both in the twilight of their careers, the Arizona attack may end up relying even more heavily on its young stud RB in the coming years, which is a scary thought for opposition defenses.
2. Le'Veon Bell (PIT)
|Rushing Stats||Receiving Stats|
|2017 Projections||View Le'Veon Bell's 2017 projected stats.|
Heading into his fifth NFL season, Bell has established himself as arguably the most dangerous and productive all-around running back in the league. He's delivered at least 100 scrimmage yards in an amazing 28 of 34 regular-season games over the last three years, and in 2016 he overcame a three-game suspension (and Week 17 absence) to finish second among RBs in targets, receptions and receiving yards and fifth in rushing yards while leading the NFL in total yards after contact. Unfortunately, the most important number in that list might be the '34', as Bell has missed 14 games over those three seasons due to various injuries and suspensions. Last year ended with another injury sustained in a playoff loss to the Patriots, and he underwent core muscle surgery in the offseason, but he's expected to be healthy by Week 1. Whether he can stay that way is another question. The Steelers certainly seem prepared to give him another big workload, heading into camp with only third-round pick James Conner, former Chiefs backup Knile Davis, and special teams ace Fitzgerald Toussaint behind Bell on the depth chart, but despite a combination of elite vision, patience and elusiveness that allows him to avoid plenty of contact, his questionable durability is still a major drawback.
3. Antonio Brown (PIT)
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2017 Projections||View Antonio Brown's 2017 projected stats.|
Brown caught "only" 106 passes for 1,284 yards and 12 TDs while sitting Week 17 after the Steelers locked up their playoff seed. Prorate Brown's stats over the full calendar and they bump to 113-1,369-13. Not bad for a down year. Brown's targets (154) were down from the last two seasons, however, as was his per-play efficiency (12.1 YPC, 8.3 YPT.) Part of it was his lack of downfield catches (only three for 40-plus), but Brown had only four in 2014 and still managed 9.4 YPT. Perhaps QB Ben Roethlisberger, now 35 and having taken a savage beating over the years, is slipping -- Roethlisberger's 7.5 YPA was his lowest since 2013, he performed especially poorly on the road and he considered retiring this offseason. But Roethlisberger was even worse in 2013, the year when Brown broke out with 9.0 YPT, and both improved the following year. Brown's double-digit scores came despite a lack of red-zone work (15 targets, down from 24 in 2015, 34 in 2014), something that's not sustainable even for the greats, especially when the downfield piece is missing. Moreover, the return of the explosive, 6-4 Martavis Bryant would only perpetuate that trend. At 29, Brown is still in his late prime and is the most durable of the top WR, not missing a game to injury since 2012. He probably has the highest floor -- so long as his quarterback holds up for most of the year.
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2017 PPR Position Rankings
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