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Fantasy Football: Checking in On FPPRR

Rich Hribar examines which running backs have the most fantasy points per route run to find the best PPR waiver wire gems.

Danny Woodhead
Danny Woodhead

Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) makes a touchdown reception during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Sad to say, but we’re already nearly a third of the way through the NFL season. What is even more depressing is that after this weekend we’ll be nearly half of the way through the fantasy football regular season, assuming your league runs through week 13. The good news is that we have a five week sample size (the NFL season in full is a small sample size, which explains some the week to week volatility, which is why we love it) and that we can finally check in on our good friend, Fantasy Points Per Route Run ( or as we love it, FPPRR).

If you need a quick refresher on just what FPPRR is, or why it’s important in creating PPR stars of running backs and tight ends, check out this history lesson served up by C.D. Carter and myself. Take your time, when you come back I’ll still be here.

Got it?

Good.

Now let’s see who just which backs have been the most efficient to start 2013.

The fantasy points per route run (FPPRR) metric is created with Pro Football Focus’s route running data from 2008-2012.

PLAYER

PPR REC. PTS

ROUTES

FPPRR

PPR RANK

Jason Snelling

41.4

58

0.71

18

Danny Woodhead

70.3

100

0.70

10

Pierre Thomas

56.6

90

0.63

14

Darren Sproles

62.8

102

0.62

12

Andre Ellington

33.4

60

0.56

27

Reggie Bush

41.4

79

0.52

11

Joique Bell

45.7

94

0.49

13

Da’Rel Scott

25.8

52

0.50

43

Jamaal Charles

65

146

0.45

1

Gio Bernard

32.9

81

0.41

16

*35 snaps in route to qualify

With Steven Jackson expected to return after Atlanta’s bye in week seven, Snelling has likely seen the end of his 2013 fantasy run unless the Falcons keep pace with losing an offensive player every week. Just like we suggested he would, he filled in admirably. Snelling was a top 13 back in two of the three weeks with Jackson down, and despite playing 53 fewer snaps than Jacquizz Rogers; he scored only nine fewer points.

Woodhead is on a pace to do things that haven’t been done in over ten seasons in PPR leagues. He’s currently pacing towards 225 receiving points, which would make him the first back since Charlie Garner in 2002 to top two hundred receiving points in a season. That’s including his two catch performance in week one. Since that game, he’s averaged seven receptions on eight targets for 51 yards per game to go with three touchdowns. Mike McCoy has clearly figured out Woodhead’s role in the offense, and he’s a weekly start going forward.

Charles has been the best back in catch leagues thus far and is another back on pace for over two hundred receiving points.  He’s currently on a course that is set to absolutely incinerate the best receiving season of his career (2010) when he was targeted 64 times, catching 45 for 468 yards and three scores on his way to 109.8 points via the air. Through five weeks, he’s already seen 44 targets (most in the league), securing 28 (T-2) for 250 yards (2) with two touchdowns. Couple all of that with the fact that he’s a bell cow rusher and you’ve got an elixir creating one of the best players to own in fantasy.

The Saints duo have always been points per route studs for their entire careers. Sproles is pretty much the face of the metric, on his way to his fifth consecutive season besting one hundred points, the most ever for a back. Despite having three games of being held under 50 receiving yards, he’s still planted himself inside the top dozen backs.

Hard to believe, but Thomas actually has more receptions (28) than Sproles (26). He’s had four or more receptions in every game to go with reaching 50 total yards in three of his five games played. Since 2008, his FPPRR score has been .45/.47/.49/.48/.37, making him a steady PPR back with a solid floor week to week.

Another set of teammates are on the leaderboard in Bell and Bush. Detroit was the perfect landing spot for Bush in catch leagues, and he has exactly four catches in all three of his full games, topping 170 total yards in two of those. Bell has four or more catches and 30 receiving yards in all five games with three games 70 or more total yards. If Bush were ever to miss extended time, Bell would undoubtedly be a number one fantasy option as he totaled 132 yards with four receptions and a score in the only game Bush missed.

Bernard and Ellington are two players in very similar situations. Both are playing behind very reliably boring veterans even though they continue to outshine those in front of them. Bernard has the exact same rushing total (209 yards) as Benjarvus Green-Ellis on 26 fewer carries while adding 129 more yards on 14 receptions. The Law Firm ranks dead last in FPPRR out of qualifying runners (.05 on 58 snaps in route); it’s only a matter of time before Bernard turns this committee into a situational role for him.

Ellington has just two fewer fantasy points (45.4) than Rashard Mendenhall (47.3) while being on the field for 63 fewer offensive snaps. He ranks twelfth in targets (21) and is averaging a gaudy 11.1 yards per catch and to go with an electric 6.7 yards per carry (albeit on only 18 carries). After only participating in ten percent of the Cardinals’ plays in the first two weeks, he’s been a part of 42 percent since.

Scott is an interesting name to appear on this list and in a timely fashion as well. After being released a week ago, the Giants were forced to re-sign him with the neck injury to David Wilson this past Sunday. Although most of receiving totals came from junk time, the Giants offense isn’t suited to run the football going forward even if their defense permits them to be in positive game flow. He was already playing more snaps than Wilson before being let go, especially in pass protection. If you need a PPR back and were riding Snelling, Scott is a guy that may get you through the bye weeks.

*Stats for this article were provided by Pro-Football-Reference, ProFootballFocus, and NFL.Com

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