If you’re a fantasy football newbie, the most intimidating acronym just might be PPR.
First, take a deep breath. This is fantasy football, not real football, so nobody’s going to yell at you for not knowing what it is. Well, I can’t speak for the people in your fantasy football league, but I certainly won’t yell at you.
Second, that’s where I come in! This handy guide will explain what the PPR format is, and which players you should target in your fantasy football draft.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is PPR?
PPR is an acronym that stands for “point per reception.” It is as simple as it sounds: For every catch a player on your fantasy team accrues, you earn a point.
Now, not all PPR leagues are created equal. Some leagues assign different point values per reception, ranging just about anywhere between zero and one. Make sure you check with your league manager to see how many points a reception is worth before you draft, as it will change your approach.
For the purposes of his guide, we’re going to assume one reception is worth one point.
I’m in a PPR league. What does that mean for my draft?
It means you’re going to need to look at players who catch a lot of passes and those who are targeted a lot. Let’s look at Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen as a case study.
In non-PPR leagues, Thielen’s most important numbers from last season were “1,373” and “nine.” The former represented his receiving yards, and the latter his touchdowns. Assuming receiving and rushing TDs are worth six points apiece and receiving and rushing yards are worth 0.1 points per yard, Thielen accumulated 182.3 points in 2018.
That was enough to make him one of the best wide receivers in standard fantasy leagues last year, but he was even more valuable in PPR leagues. He tied for fourth with 113 receptions last season, meaning he would have been worth an additional 113 points.
Most of the top receivers in standard leagues are going to get that kind of volume, but knowing who is targeted most often can make a big difference at some important positions.
Who should I target?
All four of the players below are examples of skill-position players (one wide receiver, running back, and tight end) whose stock is boosted by their pass-catching ability.
James White, Patriots RB
White rushed for a respectable 425 yards on 94 carries and added four touchdowns last season. His 751 receiving yards and seven receiving TDs made him a low-end RB1 or really strong RB2 in standard leagues, but his 87 receptions made him a borderline elite RB1 in PPR leagues.
Sony Michel figures to get the bulk of the carries in New England, but Bill Belichick’s constant backfield tinkering and Brady’s clear chemistry with White still makes him a viable fantasy option.
Jarvis Landry, Browns WR
Did you know that, through the first five years of their career, no wide receiver in NFL history has more catches than Jarvis Landry? Quit your yards-per-reception jokes, the guy has sure hands!
Even with LSU teammate Odell Beckham, Jr. joining him in the Dawg Pound, Landry’s going to catch plenty of passes from Baker Mayfield this season. He won’t be your WR1, but he could be your WR2 or even your flex.
Zach Ertz, Eagles TE
Travis Kelce was the king of the tight ends in 2018 and retains the crown headed into 2019. But Zach Ertz closes that gap in PPR formats.
He is a favorite of now-healthy Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz, and Ertz caught a career-high 116 passes last season. That was enough to propel him over 49ers tight end George Kittle for second-best at the position in PPR formats, and is something to keep in mind if (read: when) you miss out on Kelce.
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