PPR leagues are slowly gaining in popularity amongst the Fantasy Football community – and for good reason. PPR – Point Per Reception is a format that quite frankly, values players’ contributions on a football field better than its counter-part, the standard format. Standard leagues give points for yardage gained, like PPR leagues, but most of the scoring weight comes from touchdowns. Whereas a PPR league, more accurately values the contributions put in by the players that get you to the end-zone, not just in it.
Take for example a random New England Patriots drive; Wes Welker has 3 catches for 30 yards, and 2 of those catches moved the chains on crucial third-down plays. Now, let’s say the drive is now at the 9 yard line and Tom Brady throws a touchdown to Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski has just scored 6 fantasy points, on one 9 yard catch that happened to be in the red zone. Now let’s go back to Wes Welker’s 3 catches for 30 yards; One of those catches could’ve ostensibly been a 9 yarder as well; why punish Welker so heavily because he contributed a 9 yard gain that didn’t happen in the “red zone?” Welker over the course of the drive, at LEAST contributed to the touchdown as much as Gronkowski did with his 9 yard reception, if not more.
With my spiel on why PPR formats are better than standard formats now stated, here are some players that gain value in Point per Reception formats; also, as you can gather if you check out my work at RotoAnalysis.com, I like to cater to a more advanced audience, therefore the names you see here aren’t going to be your house-hold names like Wes Welker, Ray Rice, or even Darren Sproles: they are too obvious.
Victor Cruz- WR- New York Giants:
ESPN PPR WR Rank 16th; our Ranking at RotoAnalysis.com; 7th
Clearly not even the big-guns at ESPN recognize what Victor Cruz’s real skill set is, and truth is, not many do. Victor Cruz is well known by now for his 5 TD of 65+ yards (which only has been done by 1 other player: Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch in 1951), but Cruz’s skillset is actually as a volume guy, and possession receiver. Cruz had 82 catches last year for a 64% catch rate: furthermore, his target spread is actually 31% short, 41% middle, 19% deep, 9% bomb. Catch rates decline obviously, as the pass is thrown farther and farther from the line of scrimmage, so look for that catch rate total to continue.
By Contrast, ESPNs 7th ranked WR in PPR is Mike Wallace; Wallace’s catch rate is also 64%, he hauled in 72 passes, and his splits were 35% short, 38% middle, 8% Deep, 19% Bomb. Yeah………
Marques Colston- WR- New Orleans Saints
ESPN PPR WR Rank 14th; our ranking; 9th
The under-appreciation that Colston receives year-after-year is absolutely mind boggling.
Comment: “Sure Colston is good, but his catches decreased last year back down to 80 after 84 the year before that”. Sure, it’s a picky comment, but guess what, Colston caught 4 less passes, despite having 25 fewer targets. His catch rate jumped from 65% to 75%; what’s better? Colston only started 7 games last year and still posted great numbers. His short targets also dropped, but he saw a huge increase in middle ranged targets. Finally, his deep ball usage increased as well. With Meachem now out of town and Devery Henderson getting older still, Colston is going to have a monster season; he’s a model of consistency and has upside.
ESPN PPR WR Rank: 13th; our ranking 13th
Here’s one the four letter network got right; Harvin is great in standard as well, but many people don’t realize how good he is in PPR. Harvin had 87 catches last year (the year before, he had 71). Furthermore, Harvin’s catch rate now sits at a wonderful 72%, despite the fact that he had pretty awful QBs throwing to him last year. Harvin’s short/middle/deep/bomb ratios are pretty heavy in terms of short/middle, but ironically, Harvin isn’t your prototypical slot guy. Yes he has incredible hands, but he also has impressive speed which he showcased in college at Florida. Harvin is a brilliant pickup, especially in PPR leagues. Keep in mind a medium amount of injury risk here though.
Jacquizz Rodgers- RB- Atlanta Falcons
ESPN PPR RB Rank; 52nd; our ranking 46th
Quite honestly, I’m higheron Quizz than our consensus rankings show. I have him at 38 th right behind Donald Brown, making him the highest rated backup on our list other than Ben Tate. There are a couple reasons why I’m so high on Jacquizz: first of all, Michael Turner is practically a year, maybe two away from driving those motorized shopping carts when he goes to Publix. Secondly, Jacquizz should see plenty of action on third downs, and maybe more, since he has incredible hands and a great burst of speed. The Falcons have already made numerous comments that hint that there is going to be a heavy timeshare, and I really like Quizz’s chances to emerge from that platoon with possibly even a feature back role. Quizz actually had a DVOA – (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average), a metric created by the great guys at FootballOutsiders.com, that measures how good your contributions were on a per-play basis, adjusted to defensive strength, of 32.08% in the receiving game, which was one of the top marks in the league for Running backs. Turner in contrast, had a career high 6% last year, but was negative (-28% DVOA) in receiving in 2010, which was one of the worst marks in the league; big sleeper potential here.
CJ Spiller- RB- Buffalo Bills
ESPN PPR RB rank; 27th, 88th overall; our ranking 24th RB, 68th overall
Quick, who lined up most at WR for all RB last year? No, it wasn’t Sproles, it was CJ Spiller. Spiller lined up 139 times at WR, compared to Sproles’s 126 times. Spiller can be miscast often as just a scat-back, but he’s much more than that. Spiller has great hands, as evidenced by his 80% and 75% catch rates each of the past two seasons. But he’s not as bad as you think at running between the tackles – 6.1% DVOA, which was good for 13th in the league last year. Here’s the most important stat you need to know though: the Bills ranked very highly in DVOA out of the 2 back set- 21% in fact, as well as 6.2 yards per carry out of such sets. Their DVOA from the single back set was -2.2%, and only averaged 4.9 yards per carry. Chan Gailey has come out and said he is going to use more 2-back sets this year, which can only improve on Spiller’s great numbers from last year. He’s a shrewd pickup in the middle rounds.
I spend all my time playing PPR rankings and studying defenses, therefore, I am great at picking matchup plays; if you have any matchup questions or PPR rankings questions, come to me. Follow me on Twitter @Rays_Nut1292