Show Navigation
Show Menu

5 PPR RB Sleepers

By Jared Smola 10:09am EDT 7/20/22

A RB target has, on average, been worth 2.45 more PPR points than a RB carry over the past 3 seasons.

So finding RBs that project for a bunch of targets – even if they don’t get many carries – can be a cheat code in PPR drafts.

You know the RBs near the top of fantasy drafts who will pile up targets. (And if you don’t, you can always check out our award-winning projections.)

But here are 5 guys going later in drafts that have a chance to rack up receptions and return big value in PPR leagues.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons

DS Rank: RB26
ADP: RB33

Patterson is listed as a RB in fantasy leagues, but he was more all-around offensive weapon in his breakout 2021 season. He played 62% of his snaps in the backfield, 21% out wide and 17% in the slot.

Patterson smashed his previous personal bests with 153 carries, 618 rushing yards and 6 rushing scores. But he really shined in the passing game.

Patterson ranked 6th among RBs in catches (52), 2nd in receiving yards (548) and 3rd in receiving TDs (5). He drew 69 targets – 5th at his position. And he was super effective, ranking 2nd among RBs in both Pro Football Focus receiving grade and yards per route run.

Perhaps Patterson’s rushing volume is scaled back this year. But he might play an even bigger role in the passing game with WR Calvin Ridley suspended and WR Russell Gage and RB Mike Davis gone. Those 3 combined for 204 targets last season.

Patterson finished 10th among RBs in PPR points last year but is currently being drafted outside the top 30 at the position.

James Cook, Bills

DS Rank: RB35
ADP: RB38

Devin Singletary was effective as a runner last year. As a receiver? Not so much. Among 35 RBs with 40+ targets, Singletary ranked 35th in yards per route run and 34th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade.

The Bills spent the offseason trying to upgrade. They initially had a deal with J.D. McKissic, but he reneged and returned to Washington. The Bills then turned their attention to Cook, eventually taking him with the 63rd overall pick of this spring’s draft.

Cook is a bit undersized at 190 pounds and never topped 113 carries in 4 seasons at Georgia. But he tallied 67 catches for 730 yards (10.9 YPC) and 6 TDs. That included a 27-284-4 receiving line last year, when Cook ranked 8th among 120 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades. He played 19% of his snaps in the slot or out wide last season. And 10% of his targets came 20+ yards downfield. He’s more than just a checkdown option.

"He's got really good hands," GM Brandon Beane said shortly after drafting Cook. "Very instinctive in the pass game ... Some guys just have the feel like a slot receiver. It's the feel of what you're getting -- whether to sit down in zone or run by your man. He's got speed ... You can feel his speed with the ball in his hands."

Cook has a good chance to immediately step in as the pass-catching back for a Bills team that ranked 5th in pass attempts last season and lost 184 targets with the departures of WRs Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders.

J.D. McKissic, Commanders

DS Rank: RB38
ADP: RB46

McKissic would have been a more intriguing fantasy pick had he signed with the pass-happy Bills. But he should still be a PPR asset in Washington.

Prior to missing the final 6 games of last season with a neck injury, McKissic racked up 53 targets, 43 catches and 397 yards. All 3 marks ranked top 6 among RBs. McKissic sat 22nd at the position in PPR points through Week 12 (despite carrying just 48 times for 212 yards and 2 TDs).

Back with the Commanders on a 2-year, $7 million deal, McKissic should be in for a similar role in 2022. Washington has been hesitant to expand RB Antonio Gibson’s involvement in the passing game. And rookie RB Brian Robinson looks more like an early-down hammer than a threat to McKissic’s passing-down role. McKissic deserves that role anyways after ranking 6th in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades and 5th in yards per route run among 49 qualifying RBs last year.

Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles

DS Rank: RB41
ADP: RB47

Gainwell looked like a strong pass-catching prospect coming into the league last year. He caught 51 balls for 610 yards (12.0 YPC) and 3 TDs in his 2019 redshirt freshman season at Memphis. (Gainwell opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.) He played 25% of his snaps in the slot or out wide in 2019, flashing WR-quality route-running chops on tape. Gainwell ranked 4th among 108 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades.

Then came a promising rookie season as a receiver: 33 catches on 50 targets for 253 yards and 1 TD. All 4 marks led Eagles RBs. And the targets, catches and yards ranked top 34 among RBs league-wide.

Gainwell did it despite the Eagles turning into 1 of the league’s run-heaviest offenses over the final 11 weeks of the season. Gainwell averaged just 2.7 targets and 1.8 catches per game over that stretch. But when Philly was more pass leaning over the first 6 weeks, he averaged 3.8 targets and 2.5 catches per game.

We’ll see which version of the Eagles offense we get in 2022, but we’re expecting at least a bit more passing after the big trade for WR A.J. Brown. That’d be good news for Gainwell, who looks like Philly’s best pass-catching RB. He earned a 73.6 Pro Football Focus receiving grade last year (12th among 49 qualifying RBs), compared to Miles Sanders’ 65.7 and Boston Scott’s 62.3.

Nyheim Hines, Colts

DS Rank: RB46
ADP: RB44

Hines set career lows in route rate (37%) and target share (10.9%) last year. That was partly due to Jonathan Taylor’s continued development in the passing game. That problem isn’t going away. But it was also due to QB Carson Wentz’s tendency to chuck it deep rather than checking down. Wentz’s teams have consistently finished below league average in RB target share.

HC Frank Reich expects that to change under new QB Matt Ryan. In fact, Reich said from the NFL owners’ meetings back in March that he expects a “much bigger role” for Hines this year. Reich kept the hype train rolling in May, saying, “If I was a fantasy owner, I'd consider drafting Nyheim.”

Reich probably isn’t a fantasy owner, but we’re still taking note. Hines beat Taylor in both Pro Football Focus receiving grade and yards per route run last year, ranking 9th and 12th in those categories among 49 RBs league-wide with 30+ targets. And the Colts are unproven in the pass-catching corps behind Michael Pittman with the offseason departures of veterans T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal and Jack Doyle.

It’s possible that Hines re-emerges as 1 of the top 3 or 4 targets in this Colts passing game this year.

Related Fantasy Football

Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 2 Usage

Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 2 Usage

10:24am EDT 9/20/23

Tony Pollard is a league-winner, Isiah Pacheco is a buy-low, and eight more fantasy football takeaways from Week 2 usage data.

Read More »
Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

10:02pm EDT 9/1/23

This article will track the fantasy football risers and fallers in the Draft Sharks rankings throughout the summer. Find out who to target in your draft.

Read More »
Premium Content Premium Content11 Guys Who Could Win You a Fantasy Championship

11 Guys Who Could Win You a Fantasy Championship

3:03pm EDT 8/25/23

Each Draft Sharks analyst gives 2 guys they're targeting in drafts. The result: 11 guys who could win you a fantasy football championship (with a surprise player getting 2 votes).

Read More »
Top Late-Round RB PPR Targets

Top Late-Round RB PPR Targets

10:22am EDT 8/2/23

What's the key to finding the top late-round RB PPR targets? And who are the best targets in 2023 fantasy football drafts? We've got your answers here!

Read More »
NFL DFS Showdown Lineup Picks: Bills-Bengals

NFL DFS Showdown Lineup Picks: Bills-Bengals

2:46pm EST 1/2/23

Sunday night provided little offense. Will Monday night give us too much to fit into a single-game DFS lineup?

Read More »
Premium Content Premium ContentPerfect Draft: 14-Team PPR (Updated Sept. 2)

Perfect Draft: 14-Team PPR (Updated Sept. 2)

10:52am EDT 9/2/22

Round-by-round targets for your 14-team PPR draft.

Read More »
Premium Content Premium Content2022 RB Strategy Guide

2022 RB Strategy Guide

8:55am EDT 8/9/22

Which RBs should you target in 2022 fantasy drafts? Which are avoids? Let's answer those questions -- and more -- inside.

Read More »
Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

Draft using the best dynamic tool in the industry. Our fantasy player valuations (DMVP) change during your draft in response to...

  1. Exact league settings - direct sync
  2. Opponent and Team Needs
  3. Positional scarcity & available players
  4. Ceiling, injury risk, ADP, and more!

You need a dynamic cheat sheet that easily live-syncs with your draft board and adapts throughout your draft using 17 crucial indicators.

Get your Draft War Room Today
Winning Your League Starts Here Trophy
Why Wouldn’t You Invest
$36 to Win Your League?
Check out thisleague-winning info
2023 Draft Package Now - Sept 15

$39

Get Instant Access
2023 In-Season Package Sept 5 - Mar 7

$39

Get Access Sept. 5
2023 DFS Package Sept 5 - Mar 7

$49

Get Access Sept. 5
Best Value – All Access Pass
DS Insider Membership All 3 Packages

$127 $36

Semi-annual
Get Instant Access
Draft War Room Included Draft War Room Draft War Room Draft War Room Included Draft War Room
Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Included Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Unlimited Live-Draft Sync Included Unlimited Live-Draft Sync
Award-Winning Player Rankings Included Award-Winning Player Rankings Award-Winning Player Rankings Award-Winning Player Rankings Included Award-Winning Player Rankings
3D Projections Included 3D Projections 3D Projections 3D Projections Included 3D Projections
In-Depth Player Profiles Included In-Depth Player Profiles In-Depth Player Profiles In-Depth Player Profiles Included In-Depth Player Profiles
Mock Draft Trainer Included Mock Draft Trainer Mock Draft Trainer Mock Draft Trainer Included Mock Draft Trainer
DMVP Trade Values Included DMVP Trade Values DMVP Trade Values DMVP Trade Values Included DMVP Trade Values
The Perfect Draft Included The Perfect Draft The Perfect Draft The Perfect Draft Included The Perfect Draft
Breakout & Comeback Player Included Breakout & Comeback Player Breakout & Comeback Player Breakout & Comeback Player Included Breakout & Comeback Player
Average Draft Position by Scoring Included Average Draft Position by Scoring Average Draft Position by Scoring Average Draft Position by Scoring Included Average Draft Position by Scoring
Scientific Injury Predictor Included Scientific Injury Predictor Scientific Injury Predictor Scientific Injury Predictor Included Scientific Injury Predictor
Insider Sleepers & Busts Included Insider Sleepers & Busts Insider Sleepers & Busts Insider Sleepers & Busts Included Insider Sleepers & Busts
In-Season Weekly Rankings In-Season Weekly Rankings Included In-Season Weekly Rankings In-Season Weekly Rankings Included In-Season Weekly Rankings
“Who Should I Start?” Tool “Who Should I Start?” Tool Included “Who Should I Start?” Tool “Who Should I Start?” Tool Included “Who Should I Start?” Tool
“Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications Included “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications Included “Team Intel” Tool w/ Analysis & Notifications
Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Included Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Live-Sync Free Agent Finder Included Live-Sync Free Agent Finder
Trade Navigator Trade Navigator Included Trade Navigator Trade Navigator Included Trade Navigator
Player Shares Player Shares Included Player Shares Player Shares Included Player Shares
In-Depth Free Agent Gems In-Depth Free Agent Gems Included In-Depth Free Agent Gems In-Depth Free Agent Gems Included In-Depth Free Agent Gems
Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Included Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice Included Buy/Sell/Hold Trade Advice
Strength-of-Schedule Data Strength-of-Schedule Data Included Strength-of-Schedule Data Strength-of-Schedule Data Included Strength-of-Schedule Data
DFS Lineup Builder DFS Lineup Builder DFS Lineup Builder Included DFS Lineup Builder Included DFS Lineup Builder
DFS Ownership Projections DFS Ownership Projections DFS Ownership Projections Included DFS Ownership Projections Included DFS Ownership Projections
Weekly Top Stacks Weekly Top Stacks Weekly Top Stacks Included Weekly Top Stacks Included Weekly Top Stacks
High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews Included High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews Included High-Stakes DFS Line-up Reviews
DFS Independent DFS Independent DFS Independent Included DFS Independent Included DFS Independent
Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles Included Premium Insider Articles
Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates Included Daily FF Email Updates
Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates Included Breaking News Updates
To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives Included To-the-Minute Game Day Inactives
All-Access Draft Sharks App All–Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App Included All-Access Draft Sharks App
Get Instant Access Get Access Sept 5 Get Access Sept 5 Get Instant Access

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Get It on Google Play