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Many leagues give points for return yards, which I can get behind, but only to a point, and really this has nothing to do with this post so I will continue.  Points for punt and kick return yards are all over the place in the leagues I sampled. There really is no consistent league setting out there for return points per yards so it is difficult to rank these players and also, return men come and go at the drop of a hat and there are only a few that you can rely on and then of course, if they get good enough to start on offense consistently they are often eased out of returning roles.

If you are looking to add return points to your league it seems like 1 pt for 25 kick return yards and 1 pt for 10 punt return yards is about the highest I would go.  I also saw quite a few leagues with 1 pt per 50 yds, and so on.  If you are in those leagues the impact return men have on overall points isn’t as great.  In researching return men to draft make sure you aren’t just picking them because you are in a “return yardage” league.  Make sure you research your settings.  Are punt returns worth the same as kick returns, more?  Does the amount of points added to a a 3rd/4th WR/RB make enough of an impact for them to even be draftable? Are defensive backs who return kicks and do nothing at all on offense worth drafting? Can you draft them?  Are you in an IDP league that allows a player like Daniel Manning to get points for tackles and return yards?  You get the point.

For those in leagues where return yards are very important, you need to pay close attention to what is happening in preseason.  Often rookies get a shot at returning kicks, and usually rookies who are extremely quick, skillful, bad ass, etc… But more than those attributes, a coach wants the return man not to eff things up.  So, unless the player has the job sewn up, don’t reach for someone who might not even return kicks.

Here is a Merrill hodge podge list of return men who will also be used on offense to one degree or another.

Danny Amendola: Last season he led the league in total kick return yards with 1,618 and also had 360 punt return yards.  He didn’t get into the end zone which hurt, but he also had 43 receptions.  He’s one of those poor man’s Wes Welkers and has been touted as the best receiver in camp this season.  If you are in a PPR and return yardage league he is a good bet for production as long as Gilyard doesn’t take away any return duties.  So keep an eye on that guy!

Josh Cribbs: Well, you know what he can do.  He’s the total return package that you don’t want to return.  I’m not high on him at all in non-return yardage leagues, but he will be used at least some in the offense as a hybrid type.  Sadly he is so well known as a returner it will be hard to get him at value in a return yardage league, but in some leagues I saw him as the #1 overall receiver and I don’t see any reason he couldn’t do that again in those heavily return laden leagues.

Percy Harvin: He only had 42 kick returns last season, but made the best of them, averaging over 27 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns.  Of course you have to worry a little bit about his health.  Just today he had to be hauled away in an ambulance for migraines.  It’s sad to see such a talented player have to deal with these issues, but it’s there and we have to take into account.

C.J. Spiller: A lot depends on how quickly Lynch and Jackson return.  If he were the Bills only running back I doubt you would see him returning too many kicks, but eventually (maybe even week 1) he will be returning kicks and he is a special talent.  As rookies go he should be high on your return league draft board.

Johnny Knox: Knox and Manning split kick returns last season and with the very likely likelihood that Knox is the defacto #1 receiver in Chicago it will be hard to give him a lot of return work.  I do not know definitively either way, but that would be my best projection.  Don’t overvalue him in return leagues.

Devin Hester: He should continue to handle punt returns, but unless he somehow returns to his “ridiculous” standing, his yardage is capped by not returning kicks.  If your point system favors punt returners he is your man.  His role in the offense seems to be a big one at this point unless he eventually gets moved to the slot.

Eddie Royal: Eddie Royal Tea could be a nice return yardage sleeper this season as well as a good name for a hot cup of Earl Grey.  I am still on the fence on how much he will be used in the offense, but I think everyone and their dog is as well.  It’s looking like he could be used in the slot which in McDaniels’ offense can be productive, and really anything is better than how he was used last season.  Add to that his status as both the kick and punt returner and you have a recipe for some decent point production.

Dez Bryant: His injury really hurts his return status for this season since we won’t get to see much out of him before the regular season.  But he in all likelihood will return kicks at some point.  His role on the offense is still up in the air, but it’s not hard to see him taking down Roy Williams at some point in the name of skill and upsidability.

Jacoby Jones: I am hoping Jones isn’t returning kicks this season and instead is catching TD passes.  Trindon Holliday has looked good on returns this preseason so I would be leery of Jones if you are wanting him for return yardage production.

Dexter McCluster: The buzz is mad bumble bee frenzy at this point.  He has looked good in camp and as long as he is in the slot and his big play ability out distances Javier Arenas’ he could also be returning kicks.  But for now I am in wait and see mode to make sure he will be a factor in the return game.

Davone Bess: There are a lot of return men in Miami, but Bess should get some punt returns at least.  I wouldn’t move him up too much though.

Julian Edelman: Edelman looked great in the first preseason game in the return role, which is a very good sign and makes him one of my favorites in return yardage/ppr leagues.  If Welker is completely back week one it hurts him of course, but he has shown enough that it will be hard to keep him off the field.

Desean Jackson: You know what he can do with the ball.  He’s really the only elite player who returns anything at this point (oh MJD, how we miss you).  If you get good points for punt returns he moves up a WR tier.

Ted Ginn: The one thing he can do decently is return kicks and right now he is also the #3 receiver in Frisco.  He won’t be a big presence on offense, but any little bit helps in leagues heavily weighted for return yards.

Darren Sproles: Like Cribbs you know what Sproles is up to. He’s gold in return yardage leagues Jerry! Gold!

Golden Tate: You know he’s gold as well, and Tate.  And thankfully not Ben. He’s a bit of a wild card this season.  On a crappy team, not sure how he’ll be used in the offense and has Leon Washington to compete with for returns.  I could see Washington returning kicks and Tate returning punts, but at this point we are in a holding pattern.

Leon Washington: See above.  Also read: If the Seattle backfield becomes a committee and Washington is returning kicks and you’re in a PPR league there is a lot of upside and of course a big helping of ifs and buts. No, not sniffs and butts.

Damian Williams: He’s been on the PUP list with a hamstring issue, but is now off and should end up handling both punt and kick returns, but of course his absence from camp has made it very tough for him to find a place in the offense.  He coul work his way up the depth chart so might be worth a flier.

LeRon-Stephens Howling: Lersh is also buried on the depth chart, but will be used at least a bit on offense and is the primary kick returner.  He has upside if Timmy or Beanie get hurt on the monkey bars.

Deji Karim: He has looked good in preseason and is for sure worth a pickup if you need a MJD handcuff and are in a return yardage league.

Armanti Edwards: He is a bit of a project for Carolina, being converted from QB to wide receiver, but he has flashed some things in camp and could be used in return duties. He’s worth keeping an eye on.

From Around The Web

  1. Brian says:
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    This is unrelated to the post, but I was hoping you would give me some thoughts on my mock draft. It’s a 12-team PPR with the 8th pick:

    1. Andre Johnson WR (would be very happy if he actually fell to 8 but I’m not getting my hopes up)
    2. Rashard Mendenhall RB
    3. Beanie Wells RB
    4. Sidney Rice WR (was targeting Dallas Clark and missed by 2 picks)
    5. Michael Crabtree WR (too soon?)
    6. Justin Forsett RB
    7. Santana Moss WR (was targeting Cutler and missed him by 1 pick…)
    8. Matt Ryan QB (after missing Cutler I targeted Kolb and missed him too)
    9. Ahmad Bradshaw RB
    10. Laurence Maroney RB
    11. Zach Miller TE (is the 11th about right for him?)
    12. Nate Burleson WR
    13. Eddie Royal WR
    14. Devin Hester WR (My real draft is only 15 picks, so would you rather have Royal or Hester?)
    15. Giants D/ST
    16. Matt Bryant K

    I’d appreciate any insight you might have regarding picks you like or dislike. Thanks in advance!

  2. 10 Yard Fight says:
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    @Brian: I think that is a pretty good draft. If I already had Johnson, Rice and Crab I would bypass Moss and just take Kolb in the 7th if you really want him. I think Matt Ryan is a borderline number 1 in a 12 team league, so I would probably draft a back-up if you end up with him.

    As far as Hester/Royal, my strategy is usually to just not draft a kicker and then cut the WR you don’t want right before week 1.

  3. Howie Met Your Mother says:
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    Do you guys upgrade QBs in leagues where TD passes are valued the same as TD runs/catches? And if so, by how much?

  4. Randy says:
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    I’m in one where we get 1 point for every 20 return yards. I remember last year I got frustrated because I had Boldin and Jennings who I took early in the draft and took Cribbs and Harvin late and they got more points so I felt I waisted my early picks picking top wr’s. D Jackson finished 1st, Andre Johnson 2nd, Austin 3rd, Moss 4th, Harvin 5th, Cribbs 8th in total points. I’m trying to figure out my draft strategy for this year. I’m thinking about rb’s, qb, and either Clark or Gates with my early picks. The only receiver I’m thinking about taking early(3rd round) is D Jackson. Does this sound like an ok plan? I don’t want to get hosed again.

  5. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Brian: Yeah I doubt AJ drops to you there. In ppr I do want at least one top tier receiver. Mendenhall looks like he might have dropped a little further than usual too. Of course it all depends on who you are drafting against. I agree that you just need to reach a little for Kolb or Cutler. Don’t assume they’ll come back around. I like Hester more than Royal as long as Hester stays out wide. Which he has been. Great value for Miller in the 11th. I’ve been needing to reach as high as 8th in some drafts to make sure I get him. The mock looks great. Hope you can get some of that value in your real draft.

    @Howie Met Your Mother: I don’t move QBs up unless it’s a 2 QB league. Still the same scarcity.

    @Randy: As long as your league mates are letting those return guys fall I think that’s a good plan.

  6. MDS says:
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    I heard (a few weeks back) that Amendola was close to being cut…

  7. barker says:
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    8 team 2 qb league
    kolb henne as starters

    which 2 do u like best from this group hasselbeck garrard leinart

  8. Jeagle says:
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    IDP guys that return and play are like gold for DB spots. Guys like manning, josh wilson, and mckelvin are usually near the tops for their rankings.

    I was wondering whats the deal with the buffalo returning situation with mckelvin coming back and in return yard league with 50 yards = 1 point. is it worth taking a shot on someone like spiller over like slanton tier/type of back?

  9. Liz says:
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    Hey Doc. Was hoping you could offer insight on my team & potential pre-season trades I should go for as I am feeling a little iffy after draft. 12-team, standard, H2H league and this is what I got:
    QB: Cutler
    RB: Mendenhall
    RB: Forte
    RB/WR: Foster
    WR: Reggie Wayne
    WR: Sidney Rice
    TE: Z. Miller
    D: Bengals
    K: Akers
    Bench: M. Bush, A. Bradshaw, Maroney, Hester, Manningham, G. Tate, A. Dixon

    Any insight much appreciated! Thanks, Man!

  10. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Liz: PPR? If so I’m ok with Forte there. It was pretty much confirmed that Foster is the starter and Slaton the change of pace back so I feel ok with him there. Rice just said it is up in the air if he’ll play the 1st week or not. He is a huge talent, so just hope he can play. You know I love Miller and Cutler. Your RB bench is stacked. I could see shopping a backup RB for another WR, but I might just hold tight for now.

  11. Brian says:
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    @Doc: Thanks, Doc! One more thing… My real PPR draft is Aug. 30, and I’m planning on printing out your PPR Tiers as a cheat sheet. Just wondering if the Tiers will be updated any time soon, or if you’re happy with them as they are? (For instance, does Sidney Rice maybe fall into a different tier since he’s questionable for week 1?)

  12. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Brian: Yeah, if the news doesn’t get better for Rice soon he will be moved down. I should have an update before then. I’m sure something will happen!

  13. Ryan says:
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    This might be too late to ask, as my draft is tonight, but how early should I target Josh Cribbs in a league that awards 1 pt. for every 10 return yards and 6 pts per return td? I don’t see a reason not to take him with the 1st pick, except for that fact that I think most of the people in the league will let him fall and not factor in the return yardage rule. Should I take a chance and wait or just grab him ASAP?

  14. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Ryan: As long as he projected points put him #1 you’ve got to take him high. If you think you can wait until the 2nd round, that’s cool, but if not. Grab him.

  15. Jesse D says:
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    Very nice article… I was able to obtain cribbs late in the draft, I am hoping he can match his numbers from last year.

    But one question :
    I somehow ended up with both Ochocinco and T.O , I have them both starting along side with Calvin Johnson. Should i try and trade one of the bengals away? It cant be very wise to have both the number 1 and 2 WR’s for the same team right? thanks

  16. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Jesse D: It can work, but that offense might not have enough passes to go around. I would look to trade.

  17. Jeremy says:
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    Our league gets 1 pt per 15 return yards. I was able to snag, Sproles in the 5th, Cribbs in the 7th, Fred Jackson in the 9th, and McCluster in the 14th.
    Also, have CJ2K, MJD, Romo, D. Clark, Bowe, Nicks, Aromoshadu.
    Whatcha think?

  18. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Jeremy: Like it a lot! Good core with returners that will get you points no matter what.

  19. Fred says:
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    As far as KC return guys (KR and PR), should I grab McCluster or Arenas?

  20. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Fred: it looks like it’s Arenas’ job, both punts and kicks.

  21. Scott says:
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    For everyone else’s reference, I just drafted in a league that counts returns yardage the same as rushing/receiving yardage, and here’s where some of the top return men went (by round):

    DeSean Jackson 3rd
    Percy Harvin 4th
    Josh Cribbs 5th (highway robbery)
    Reggie Bush 5th
    Johnny Knox 6th
    Darren Sproles 6th
    Eddie Royal 7th (iffy, think he’s being taken off KR)
    Danny Amendola 11th (big value considering he just won the #2 WR job)
    Jacoby Jones 11th (PR only)
    Tedd Ginn Jr 13th

  22. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Scott: Thanks! Yeah, Cribbs needs to go earlier than the 5th for sure!

  23. Scott says:
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    Vikings just traded Darius Reynaud to the Giants, which should lock Harvin into kickoff returns and give him an outside chance at returning punts too.

    Stock up.

  24. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Scott: Yes, great news for harvin owners in return yardage leagues

  25. Fred says:
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    Clifton Smith is out in Tampa. Who are we jumping on?

    Also, in order, who are your top 5 IDP men?

    Thanks (as always)

  26. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Fred: Doesn’t look like a clear winner. Spurlock/Parker and maybe Stroughter. Stroughter would be the speculative pick since he is slotted as the #2 right now.

    The top 5 really depends on your scoring system. Willis, Beason, Allen, Tuck, Weddle, are just a few

  27. slickdealmike says:
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    Hey doc great write up. I’m in a league PPR league with 25 yards = 1 point for recieving, running, passing and return yards. What do you think about my team and is there any sleepers I should be looking at? Thanks.

    1. Maurice Jones-Drew
    2. DeSean Jackson
    3. Philip Rivers
    4. Steve Smith (NYG)
    5. Percy Harvin
    6. (NYJ – DEF)
    7. Darren Sproles
    8. Ben Roethlisberger
    9. Joshua Cribbs
    10. Zach Miller
    11. Mason Crosby
    12. Santonio Holmes

  28. Ben says:
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    Is there an update on this article for 2011? I’m playing in a league that counts return yards. Any insight would help!

  29. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Ben: For sure. Not sure when, but it’s in the works.

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