Fantasy Doc: Ray Rice or Andre Johnson in PPR?

Posted Aug. 21, 2010 @ 4:51 p.m.
Posted By The Fantasy Doctor

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Our league just changed formats this year. We added two teams and switched to a PPR format. We get to select a keeper from last year or go to a supplemental one-round draft for the remaining teams before the regular draft. My choice is between Ray Rice, Michael Turner or Andre Johnson. I'm leaning towards Rice, but why shouldn't I go with Johnson, who has proved his worth over several seasons? I don't want to see Rice get overhyped and flame out like Matt Forté last year. Then again, before Turner got hurt, he looked like he was about to heat up and seems to be a TD machine. Who should I keep?

— Wade

It's not an easy call here between Rice and Johnson, Wade, but I think you're leaning in the right direction.

First off, Turner is not a factor at all in the passing game, so he loses quite a bit of luster in PPR formats. That leaves the other two, and as much of a stud as Johnson is in this type of league, he falls slightly short of Rice in my book.

After seeing what Rice did in 2009, he belongs as a top-three pick in all PPR drafts. In addition to rushing for 254-1,339-7, he also blew away all RBs with 78 catches for 702 yards and another score. That's 2,041 yards from scrimmage in his first year as a full-time starter, a number that only figures to improve now that he has added experience. And if he doesn't get so many TDs vultured away by Willis McGahee this time around, Rice is really going to be a fantasy monster. To me, there's very little not to like about the third-year back, so I'd keep him with confidence.

I've been reading the prescriptions you've been writing for years, and now I need your evaluation. I'm in a keeper league with standard scoring in which I can keep three players. Which ones should I hold on to (in parentheses is the round I lose a pick if I keep them): RB Steven Jackson (5), RB Steve Slaton (6), RB LeSean McCoy (8), RB Laurence Maroney (10), WR Nate Burleson (12), QB Vince Young (16) or TE Brent Celek (16)? Please help.

— Craig

Looking at your collection of players, Craig, this is a fairly cut-and-dry decision, in my opinion.

Starting with your RBs, I see Jackson as a must-keep, giving up only a fifth-rounder. Even though some are down on him, I still see S-Jax having a solid year in a Rams offense that has to be improved. I also think that McCoy is well worth sacrificing a Round Eight pick to keep. He is the Eagles' unquestioned starting back and will be a threat as both a rusher and receiver. I don't think he'll rack up a lot of TDs, but the yardage will be there. Neither Slaton nor Maroney should be retained, as they're both ticketed for reserve duty.

I could see a decent case for picking any of your remaining three guys as your final keeper, but I'm going to go with Celek. After breaking out in '09 with 76-971-8, I see him coming close or surpassing those numbers this season with his good buddy Kevin Kolb at QB. Unlike Burleson or Young, Celek can be a staple in your starting lineup, and all you have to do is give up a 16th-round pick. You simply can't beat that price.


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