Also be sure to read Part 1 – Pros and Cons of Dynasty, Keeper and Redraft leagues as well as Part 2 – Snake or Auction draft before reading this article, Part 3.
PPR leagues have been on the rise in recent years in fantasy football circles. In fact, it can almost be a challenge to find a start-up league without PPR being included. I’m here to answer a few questions about the style of play. What is PPR? How does an owner adjust their standard league strategy to be successful in a PPR? How can they adjust to the change? The last segment will include steps to building a successful PPR team. Let’s get to it.
What is PPR in fantasy football?
PPR stands for Points Per Reception. IT’s fairly self explanatory: for each reception a player will be rewarded a point.In traditional leagues, if WRX makes a 10-yard catch, it’s one point. However, in PPR, because of the point for the reception added to the ten yards, the catch would be worth two points. Pretty simple, right? Alright, let’s move on.
How does this change my strategy, as an owner?
Players who catch a lot of passes (Wes Welker, Jason Witten, Roddy White, etc.) are now at a premium over receivers like Vincent Jackson, who only caught 72 passes (25th in the NFL) but finished fifth in receiving yards in the NFL in 2012. Running backs who catch the ball also become more valuable as well. Darren Sproles (75 receptions in 2012) is an obvious player that becomes more valuable, but Ray Rice (61 receptions) and LeSean McCoy (54 receptions), among others, also rise.
Marshawn Lynch (24 receptions in 2012) and Alfred Morris (11 receptions) can be expected to drop in PPR a bit because of their lack of impact in the passing game. Also, because of the bump in points to running backs and wide receivers, the value quarterbacks sinks a bit because they will not receive any additional points in a PPR compared to a standard league.
Doesn’t this restrict a PPR owner versus a standard league owner?
Yes, the extent of the restriction is unique to the individual, however. Owners now have to add a whole other aspect into their draft day decisions, as if yardage, touchdowns and situations aren’t already enough. Drafting a quarterback early, even in the first three rounds possibly, is frowned upon in PPR. Your early picks must be either running backs or wide receivers. Move away from this path, and your team could be unsuccessful. You can’t test many all-new strategies as you can snake drafts. Flexibility in strategy is cerainly limited, which means you’ll just have to be a great draft. Pick the right guy.
So, let’s cut to the chase, what’s the key to winning a PPR league?
Let me break it down for you.
1) Draft pass-catching running backs. Don’t waste your RB spots on guys like Marshawn Lynch or Alfred Morris. Get a guy like Ray Rice or Jamaal Charles (with new HC Andy Reid) who will catch passes. In the middle rounds target Darren Sproles, not Vick Ballard. Target Frank Gore, not Stevan Ridley. You get the point. A couple of receptions can make a big difference for your running backs.
2) High-catch wide receivers and tight ends are important too. For tight ends, I recommend drafting Witten, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez or Aaron Hernandez in 2012. After those five, tight ends and consistent receptions drop off dramatically. Bump guys like Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Roddy White, Michael Crabtree and Reggie Wayne up in your rankings — these are the pass catchers you want on your team. You can expect 90 catches out of these guys. Guys like Welker and Amendola aren’t big play guys, but their reception total is going to help your team greatly at the end of the day.
3) Wait for a quarterback, get running backs and wide receivers early on. You’re going to hear varied opinions on this subject. This is mine. Assuming quarterbacks are at the standard scoring (ESPN), I’m going running back, running back, wide receiver, tight end in the first four rounds. Then a quarterback is a possibility. Because their point total isn’t rising with the running backs and wide receivers, it’s hard for me to draft them in a league where they’re value stays stat.
4) Draft a kicker and defense in the last two rounds. I think this should be your strategy in every league, but let me clarify. Draft two quarterbacks then stack your skill positions. Fill your starting kicker and defense spots in the last two rounds. You can always make changes to this in free agency, but there’s no reason to reserve spots for a defense to sit on your bench. Play defenses by week, and play kicker by ear. There’s no reason to draft a defense in the middle rounds when you can get a solid skill position player for your bench, bottom line.
There’s not a huge change between standard and points per reception leagues, but there’s enough change to make you alter your strategy. That’s what I’m here for: to help you adjust and make the same changes I do to help me be successful in my fantasy leagues. Thanks for reading!
Tomorrow’s blog: Post-Draft 2013 Fantasy Football Rankings