ESPN’s Matthew Berry released a very early rendition of his PPR Rankings following the flurry of free agent signings and moves made over the last 10 days. For these rankings, he lists his top-20 quarterbacks, top-60 running backs and wide receivers, and top-20 tight ends.
The Chargers moved on from Philip Rivers, one of the longest-tenured players in the NFL at an important fantasy positon, so it’s not that surprising to see him lower on Chargers’ skill-players as opposed to previous seasons. Without knowing who is going to be spreading the ball around to their plethora of play-makers, the safest bet is to assume there will be some regression.
As of now, Berry has Tyrod Taylor just inside his top-20 at 18, just above Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins and Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater. This might come as a surprise to some, but veteran fantasy players still remember Tyrod as a high-floor option at QB with his knack for not throwing picks and being able to fluff his points with production on the ground. Offensive Shane showed some nifty zone-read plays out of the pistol formation later in the season at Jacksonville and you’ve got to wonder how much he’ll utilize designed runs this season with Taylor at the helm.
While Melvin Gordon was holding out to begin the 2019 season, Ekeler enjoyed several productive weeks and was a top-5 fantasy back while getting the majority of snaps out of the backfield. Ekeler’s pass-catching prowess adds a ton of value to his game and that’s why Berry has him as his ninth-ranked running back, above guys like David Johnson and Joe Mixon.
Who does this help? How about former teammate Austin Ekeler. With Gordon missing 4 games to start, Ekeler was THE RB1. He finished top 4 and will likely have a lesser RB partner in 2020. Look for another RB1 finish but with lower receiving numbers. #Chargers #FantasyFootball pic.twitter.com/GsZmfMOk5h— Club Fantasy FFL (@ClubFantasyFFL) March 24, 2020
The rankings of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are where we see the biggest drop due to the absence of Rivers. Allen is usually a top-10 wideout due to sheer volume. He comes in as Berry’s 19th-ranked receiver, behind the likes of Courtland Sutton, Tyler Lockett, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Williams comes in closer to the bottom of the rankings, ending up 45th among the 60 players ranked. The fourth-year receiver had himself an insanely skewed stat line last season when he caught just 49 passes 1,001 yards. His 20.4 yards per catch was insane and not to mention he caught just six more passes than in ‘18 but he finished with 337 more yards. He’s likely to see some major regression in the yardage department but you should also expect to see his touchdowns increase after finding pay-dirt just twice last season.
Finally, Berry has Hunter Henry as his seventh-ranked tight end behind the Rams’ Tyler Higbee at six and the Raiders’ Darren Waller at five. Henry missed four games but still caught 55 passes for 652 yards and five touchdowns. Tight ends are always the best friend of young quarterbacks and inexperienced starters so don’t be surprised to see Henry’s level of production continue without skipping a beat.
What do you all think of Matthew Berry’s early rankings? Is there anything you would change? Who is too high? Too low?