Fantasy Football Mailbag: Is Ezekiel Elliott or Antonio Brown a better PPR keeper?

The NFL Combine is next week, teams can sign free agents on March 9 and the NFL Draft starts on April 27. Clearly, there is a long time before the start of the season, but you already have questions about your Fantasy teams in 2017.

And we have answers.

From now until at least August, we’ll be answering your offseason questions each week. It could be about keepers, rookies or general draft strategy, and we’ll even help you find the best kicker if that’s of importance.

OK, keep the kicker questions to yourself if possible, but you get the gist. We’re here to help you win your Fantasy league, and it’s never a bad idea to start preparing early.

We’ve already done two mock drafts, and our 2017 rankings are being updated on a regular basis. Yes, a lot will change between now and August, but you want to stay ahead of your league with all the latest news, which should help you on Draft Day.

With that in mind, whenever you have a question you can send them to me on Twitter @jameyeisenberg or on my Facebook page. I only have one request when you submit your questions, and it’s that you use the hashtag #fantasymail. It’s just a way to keep things organized when I look for your questions, and they will be answered here or on the video above.

For this week, we’re going to cover the following topics:

From Twitter ...

If you’re just keeping one of these guys for 2017, the answer is Brown, but if you can keep either one for multiple years, you’re keeping Elliott.

I was surprised to see that Elliott finished No. 5 overall in PPR last year, just three spots behind Brown, who was the No. 1 receiver. Elliott only had 32 catches as a rookie in 2016, and he should improve in that area. But even if his rushing stats trend up along with his receptions, he should still finish behind Brown in PPR if both are healthy. I hate giving up on Elliott, but Brown is the better option in this format.

Keeper questions in February are sometimes hard to answer when there’s uncertainty with players, which is definitely the case here. For example, we don’t know if the Redskins will add a running back to compete with Kelley, or if Bryant will be reinstated from his suspension.

As it stands now, I’m going with Kelley in a standard league. He had nine games in 2016 with at least nine carries, and he had at least nine Fantasy points in five of them. He should be a No. 2 running back heading into this season.

Like the previous question, we don’t know where Murray is going to play in 2017 because he’s currently a free agent, but it will be hard to pass on Perkins at this value if he is the starting running back for the Giants. They released Rashad Jennings, and Perkins is currently atop the depth chart heading into free agency and the draft. If he stays there heading into training camp then he’s definitely worth the gamble of a pick in Round 15 and offers plenty of upside as a potential No. 2 running back in all leagues.

The first name that came to mind was Martellus Bennett, who will either return to New England as the backup to Rob Gronkowski or leave as a free agent and likely land in a bad situation. Now, he could find a good landing spot on another team, but he’s someone I plan to avoid in most leagues. I also don’t see myself drafting Tyler Eifert given his injury status, and I’d like to avoid Jared Cook and Antonio Gates. The guys I plan to target this season with mid- to late-round picks will likely be Zach Ertz and Cameron Brate, who is one of my favorite breakout candidates, and I’d also draft Hunter Henry if his price tag doesn’t get out of control.

Some late-round fliers I also like are Julius Thomas, Vance McDonald and Austin Hooper.

Peterson is unlikely to remain with the Vikings given his current $18 million salary, and he said the Texans, Giants and Buccaneers are teams he is interested in playing for if he’s released. It’s doubtful the Texans would sign him after bringing in Lamar Miller last year, but the Giants or Buccaneers could be a landing spot. We told you the Giants currently have Perkins as their starter, and Tampa Bay could move on from Doug Martin following his suspension last year. We’d prefer Tampa Bay of these two choices, but Peterson will be 32 in March and is near the end of his career. 

I’d only consider drafting him in Round 5 or later if he ends up as a starter in 2017. As for the Bears, look for them to open the season with Brian Hoyer as the starter with a rookie waiting in the wings to take over early in the year.

It appears the Jets will bring back Forte and Powell this season, with Forte likely the starter again. But as we saw in 2016, it was hard for Forte to stay healthy, and he’s 31 now. Powell was more explosive, and he’s the better Fantasy option to have in all leagues. Let someone else reach for Forte, which will likely happen in Round 6 or 7, and hopefully you can get Powell in Round 7 or later. 

Gordon is a potential first-round pick in all leagues this season, especially if Danny Woodhead is gone as a free agent. Gordon was a beast in 2016 with more than 1,400 total yards and 12 touchdowns, and he could improve under new head coach Anthony Lynn. Derek Carr should also be special and is great value in Round 14, but you can find a quarterback in all leagues with a late-round pick. Keeping Gordon in Round 7 is a steal.

The guy that I’m definitely throwing back is Gurley, While I expect him to rebound in 2017, he’s just not worth this much of your budget compared to what you can get from the other guys at cheaper prices. We don’t know where Terrelle Pryor will play in 2017 because he’s a free agent, but even if he stays in Cleveland, I’d keep him for $15. And I’d lean toward Spencer Ware over Tevin Coleman if Ware is the starter for the Chiefs in 2017. If Ware isn’t the starter, go with Coleman, who proved he can still be a standout Fantasy option even in a backup role behind Devonta Freeman.

I’m going with Anderson or Pryor because I don’t like keeping quarterbacks unless it’s a slam dunk, which isn’t the case here with Kirk Cousins, even in Round 11. I like both of these guys, but I’d keep Anderson over Pryor based on his position. If Anderson hits and stays healthy, which is the key, he could easily return the highest investment as a Round 9 keeper. 

Pryor’s destination in 2017 could change my mind, but Anderson has more upside as of now since he’s a potential No. 1 running back when healthy.

I’m going to include a question from @MasonBNichols here also since they want to know if the Dolphins still have a dominant offensive line with Branden Albert heading to the Jaguars via trade. We hope Miami still has a good offensive line because that will help Ajayi. Laremy Tunsil will move to left tackle, and the Dolphins will need to find help at guard. If center Mike Pouncey can remain healthy, Ajayi should be in good shape, and I think he’s definitely for real. Depending on his keeper value in your league, I would be happy to have him in 2017, and he’s worth drafting as a top 15 overall pick in standard formats.

From Facebook ...

I would plan to go with some combination of two running backs and one receiver or one running back and two receivers, but the strategy should be to take the best available talent as it lands in your lap. If you know your draft slots for each pick ahead of time, that will definitely help you form a plan for Draft Day, but you should hopefully get three difference makers and dominate your league. I would hope for two elite running backs if possible and one stud receiver, especially if you still have your picks in Round 2 and later throughout the draft.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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