Points Per Reception League Strategy

August 2 4:21am
Chet Gresham

Roddy White PPR leaguesPoints Per Reception leagues are becoming much more common in the fantasy world, but with most of the main fantasy sites out there defaulting to non-PPR leagues they are still not the norm.  If you are used to the regular ho-hum leagues you should expand to PPR. It’s fun!

PPR takes versatile running backs and gives them a leg up on those plodding, run up the gut for half a foot and accumulate touchdowns specialists.  It awards the players we are paying to see make spectacular catch and runs, but who are also able to get those tough yards.  And it also spreads out the number of running backs that may hold value, so you have to expand your knowledge base a little more.

And besides running backs it gives receivers more value.  Elite wide receivers don’t usually come that close to the elite running backs in non-PPR scoring, but in PPR it narrows that lead dramatically.  It also gives a nice boost to all those scrappers that go over the middle scrappy-like and into the concussion scrap-zone.

Take a look at the Top 10 RB/WR in a standard scoring league:

1. Arian Foster (313)

2. Adrian Peterson (232)

3. Jamaal Charles (223)

4. Peyton Hillis (218)

5. Chris Johnson (216)

6. Darren McFadden (208)

7. LeSean McCoy (206)

8. Michael Turner (205)

9. Brandon Lloyd (203)

10. Rashard Mendenhall (203)

and now here are the Top 10 RB/WR in 1 Point Per Reception

1. Arian Foster (379)

2. Roddy White (308)

3. LeSean McCoy (284)

4. Brandon Lloyd (280)

5. Peyton Hillis (279)

6. Reggie Wayne (273)

7. Dwayne Bowe (272)

8. Greg Jennings (269)

9. Adrian Peterson (268)

10. Jamaal Charles (268)

So you go from 1 receiver in the top 10 to 5 in the top 10, but even more interesting is the fact that in the top 8 in non-PPR there were no receivers, but in PPR there were 5. Receivers become just as important as RBs and as the passing game continues to expand we could start to see even more receivers up there.

So, with that said, how do you go about drafting in a Points Per Receptions league?  First off, don’t go crazy.  For the most part PPR and non-PPR follow many of the same guidelines.  You still only need 1 QB and 1 TE so go for value, just as you would in non PPR.  And a good player in non-PPR is still a good player in PPR, how much their ranking changes depends completely on how many receptions they have.  Yes, that is a Joe Theisman statement if he knew anything about fantasy football, but remember that is the only difference.  Receiving yards count for the same amount of points as before.

The biggest change in strategy is where you pick wide receivers.  There are those elite few that you can count on grabbing 80+ receptions and you want them on your team.  Running backs have higher ceilings than wide receivers even in PPR, but they are not nearly as reliable, since their primary job is not receiving.  When you are playing in a non-PPR league you can take the risk of grabbing a running back with a lot of upside because you know that the risk is worth the potential reward.  But in PPR, the chance that you get this season’s Arian Foster is slim because the odds of there even being a Foster (a sleeper RB who winds up being heavily used in both the rushing and passing games) are much lower. In other words, you have to take more than one thing into account with a PPR sleeper. And if you you choose poorly, it can hurt you much more.

If you keep moving down from that Top 10 PPR list you’ll keep running into receivers.  In 10-20 there are only 4 running backs.  So in many ways this becomes a reverse situation to non-PPR.  The chances of getting a top 20 receiver later in the draft are pretty good.   Two ways of thinking can crop up.  The leading receivers are very stable and they score a whole bucket full of points.  The top 10 running backs don’t score as many points and they aren’t all that stable, so I need to start my draft with 2 WRs, especially if I don’t have one of the top 3-4 slots.  For the most part this is sound, but it also can turn around on you.

The drop off from the top running backs in PPR to the 10-12 running back is steeper than the drop off from the top WR and the 10-12 WR.  So grabbing a top RB is a good idea, but when do you start getting diminishing returns? Well, usually when the running backs stop catching passes.  Wide receivers just catch balls, that’s their thing.  Running backs don’t have to, and as soon as we hit those RBs that don’t, it’s time to make sure you are grabbing receivers.  13 of the top 15 RBs had 30 receptions or more.  The only backs who can buck the trend are ones who get into the end zone an inordinate amount of times, which you cannot always count on happening.  But you can count on receptions.

So who do we draft? That is tough. I love the top 6 PPR backs Foster, AP, JC, Rice, CJ, McCoy and then the top receivers, AJ, White, CJ, Fitzgerald and Nicks. But how do you mesh those together? Since I feel more confident in the second tier receivers than the second tier running backs I’m still going with the top 6 RBs as my top 6 picks and then the top 5 receivers. Is Roddy White a safer pick than a running back? Probably, but I’d rather have Lesean McCoy and Mike Wallace than Roddy White and Steven Jackson. It’s not a huge difference, but I think a significant one.

Good luck PPRing!

Besides Fanduel.com, Chet has written for the N.Y. Times: Fifth Down Blog, and his own sites Razzball and Third Coast Sports. He is extremely/obsessively active on Twitter and will answer your questions as best he can if you throw them @ChetRazzball.


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