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Top Late-Round WR PPR Targets

By C. H. Herms 10:41am EDT 8/2/23

Point-per-reception scoring (PPR) has become commonplace in today’s fantasy football landscape.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, too.

Players receive one point every time they catch a pass. Simple as that!

The WRs who catch the most passes annually, like Cooper Kupp or Stefon Diggs, go off the board within the first round or two of fantasy drafts every year because they score a ton in this format.

But you don’t always need a top draft choice to find players who will tally a lot of receptions.

In this article, we’ll explore four top late-round PPR WR targets that managers should watch in drafts this season.

See where each of these players land in our award-winning rankings.

Take a look at our fantasy football PPR rankings today.

  

Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings

The 21-year-old rookie from USC wasn’t the first wideout selected in the 2023 NFL Draft… nor the second, nor third.

There are reasons to be skeptical of Addison’s long-term outlook.

He lacks prototypical size (5’11, 173 pounds), walks onto a Vikings roster with an elite receiver in Justin Jefferson, and has already found himself in some off-field trouble.

But it’s hard to argue against Addison at No. 1 on our top late-round PPR WR targets list.

Plug-And-Play Fantasy Starter?

The Vikings finished fifth in pass rate (65%), third in team pass attempts (672), and sixth in Pass Rate Over Expectation (+2.5%) in 2022 under first-year HC Kevin O’Connell. This is about as potent of an aerial attack as there is in the league.

There’s enough volume to spread around for others not named Justin Jefferson (including Addison) to feast in this offense.

Just look at what Adam Thielen, the Vikings’ No. 2 from last year, accomplished opposite Jefferson last year:

  • 107 targets (t-28th among WRs)
  • 70 receptions (29th)
  • 716 receiving yards (42nd)
  • 6 receiving TDs (t-6th)
  • 180 PPR points (30th)

Addison has the best chance at immediate opportunity and fantasy impact of any rookie WR. Assuming Thielen’s 2022 production is the baseline expectation, no one would be shocked to see Addison post a 1,000-yard season right out of the gate.

Stellar Prospect Pedigree

And even though he’s smaller and lacks a “true alpha” upside, it’s not as though we’re talking about some scrub. He was still a first-round NFL draft pick, after all.

Addison went off at age-19 as a true sophomore at Pitt in 2021, winning the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football with a 100-1,593-17 line. He followed that up with 59 catches, 875 yards, and eight TDs in 11 games at USC last season.

TRANSLATION: the kid can ball.

Identifying the right sleeper picks isn't enough...

  

Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

Speaking of undersized receivers ...

Moore has had his fair share of injury issues and usage struggles to date in his career.

He’s lost 12 games through two NFL seasons with myriad injuries. These woes date back to his time at Purdue when he missed the final eight games of the 2019 season with a hamstring injury and the first three games of 2020 with another hamstring injury.

And as a rookie in 2021, Moore registered a comically low 1.2-yard average depth of target, the lowest mark among 68 WRs who saw 60+ targets that year.

Many were willing to write off the 5’7, 180-pound Moore entering the 2022 season. And while he didn’t ‘wow’ anyone with his production last year, there’s some reason to be intrigued by his potential.

Sneaky Good Sophomore Season

In seven healthy contests between Week 4-10, Moore averaged 8.0 targets, 5.6 catches, 59.1 yards, and 0.14 TDs per game.

During that span, Moore ranked as the WR30 in PPR points per game (12.6) with a 22.7% target share and a more reasonable 5.2-yard aDOT running primarily as a slot receiver.

It’s worth mentioning that Moore did register two games (Weeks 4 and 7) running 50%+ of his routes out wide. He struggled in those contests, combining for just four catches and 42 yards.

In the five other games, as a majority slot receiver? Moore averaged 7.4 catches and 76.4 receiving yards per game. A big difference!

Opportunity Knocking?

It’s not a ton of information to go off, but the relevant part of this sample size is that it occurred without Marquise Brown and DeAndre Hopkins being in the lineup simultaneously.

With Hopkins now on the Titans, there’s a viable path to Moore being the second target opposite Brown in this Cardinals offense, albeit without a healthy QB Kyler Murray to open the 2023 season.

Moore stands to gain enough opportunity in volume in a bad offense to rack up some cheap catches and vastly outperform his ADP. We could be talking about a potential weekly flex option here.

If that’s not enough to be considered among the top late-round PPR WR targets, I’m not sure what is.

TIP

Check out our Late-Round RB PPR Targets.

  

Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers

After spending the first 10 seasons of his NFL career with the Vikings, Thielen signed a three-year, $25 million deal to join the Panthers this offseason.

We discussed this veteran earlier. His 70 catches and 716 receiving yards last year were his lowest totals in a fully healthy season since 2015.

It's difficult to imagine a 33-year-old Thielen has another Pro Bowl season in the chamber at this point. But he doesn't need one to be among the top late-round WR PPR targets.

Total Overhaul in Carolina

The Panthers' offense will look completely different in 2023.

New HC Frank Reich will be calling the shots in his first year with the team after spending five seasons with the Colts.

The Panthers also traded away WR D. J. Moore to the Bears in a deal that netted them the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select Alabama QB Bryce Young.

In addition to Thielen, Carolina spent the 39th overall draft pick on Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo, added WR D.J. Chark on a one-year deal, and brought in veteran TE Hayden Hurst on a three-year, $21.75 million contract.

The only incumbent WR of note on this roster is Terrace Marshall Jr., who finished second on the team in targets (47), third in receptions (28), and third in receiving yards (490) last season.

New coach, new QB, new offense, you name it.

Damn near everything in this offense is up for grabs.

Follow The Money?

The Athletic's Joseph Person recently reported that Reich is installing a "tight end-friendly offense that features the position prominently in the passing attack." That'll benefit Hurst, but that's about all we know about this offense right now.

It makes sense considering how much money the Panthers gave to Hurst this offseason, too.

But if we're to follow the money, wouldn't Thielen also be a decent bet here to receive plenty of looks?

Of every offensive skill position player the team signed this offseason, Thielen is set to make the most money this year.

Makes Sense on Paper

Thielen being a more robust PPR receiver also makes sense from a schematic standpoint.

Both Mingo and Chark bring more of a prototypical X receiver, downfield flavor to the table.

Chark and his 6'4 frame registered a 15.3-yard aDOT last season with the Lions. Mingo was primarily used as a big-play guy at Ole Miss, racking up a 14.4-yard aDOT of his own as a junior in 2022.

Those guys will undoubtedly help Young on long passes, but predominantly feasting on high-aDOT throws isn't a recipe for PPR success.

The aging Thielen, on the other hand, has been used closer to the line of scrimmage over the past two seasons (10.5-yard aDOT in 2022, 9.5-yard aDOT in 2021) and is the best fit to successfully execute on shorter and intermediate routes of anyone in the WR room.

We don't expect the Panthers to be a high-powered unit in 2023, but they don't have to be for Thielen to bring a safe floor weekly. His nose for the end zone helps, too.

Since 2016, only four players (Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs) have more receiving TDs than Thielen (54).

Money + opportunity + expected usage = PPR success? It's no guarantee, but it makes sense for Thielen on paper.

3D Projections help you make the most informed decision with every draft pick.

  

Robert Woods, Houston Texans

Last year was a disappointment for Woods.

He concluded his age-30 season with 53 catches, 527 receiving yards, and two TDs as a member of the Titans.

We could spend time digging into all the different career lows he recorded, but it's worth mentioning that this was his first year after tearing his ACL in November 2021. Being in a Titans offense that ranked 20th in Football Outsiders pass offense DVOA didn't help matters either.

There’s a chance he’s washed -- but also a chance that Woods was just in the wrong offense at the wrong time while working his way back from injury.

Which is true? We’re not sure.

But 2023 will give fantasy managers a good chance to find out after the veteran inked a two-year, $15.25 million ($10 million guaranteed) contract with the Texans this offseason.

Like Looking in a Mirror

There are plenty of similarities in the cases of Woods and Thielen.

The Texans also have a new coaching staff (HC DeMeco Ryans, OC Bobby Slowik), spent the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Ohio State QB C. J. Stroud, and neither team has a lot of talent to speak of in their offense.

Nary a player who reached 40 catches for last year's Texans is back in 2023 either.

My fellow Draft Sharks analyst Jared Smola outlines an excellent case for WR Nico Collins to be the big sleeper in this offense in 2023.

The 6'4, 215-pound wideout has an opportunity to be the leader of this WR corps, though Collins is likelier to make his bread on the outside with his size and skill set.

Woods, however, will likely spend his time operating more across the middle on shorter routes. His aDOT over the past four years has been 8.7 yards or lower, with a 30%+ slot route rate in eight of his ten NFL seasons.

That's more of the role we're looking for with players who can pile up catches and excel in PPR fantasy leagues.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

This section's title would be considerably more amusing had WR Brandin Cooks not been traded to the Cowboys this offseason...

But at any rate, we must mention the other young WRs in this Texans offense who'll be fighting with Woods for targets.

The Texans chose rookie Nathaniel "Tank" Dell with the 69th overall pick of this years draft. He put up video game numbers over his past couple of years at the University of Houston (including back-to-back 1,300+ yard, 10+ TD seasons) and has reportedly built a great rapport with C. J. Stroud already.

The main thing holding Dell back is that he's 5'8, 165 pounds. He'll likely be pigeonholed into a slot role, assuming he even finds the field with regularity in the NFL.

Can he beat out Woods for this role? Perhaps, but that'd be a big leap.

2022 second-round pick John Metchie III will also have a shot at a role after missing his rookie season battling cancer. He's on the smaller side, too, at 5'11, 189 pounds, though he spent just 28.9% of his snaps in the slot over three seasons at Alabama.

Remember these names, because they're both being taken in the same range of drafts as Woods. Part of the value argument here is that it's still unclear who the No. 2 WR in this offense is.

These are the types of picks sharp fantasy managers should be taking at the end of drafts. Embrace the ambiguity of the situation and give Woods a look as the most experienced, highest-paid player of the bunch.

 

Don't Forget About The Early Rounds of Your Draft...

Landing these late-round WR targets will put you in a good spot.

But it won't mean much if the rest of your draft, especially in the early rounds, is bunk.

If you want to avoid this, you need a fantasy football cheat sheet customized to your exact league settings.

A dynamic cheat sheet that constantly updates throughout the draft to help you make the best picks for your squad.

Well, what are you waiting for?

That cheat sheet is ready for you right now: Create your Draft War Room.

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