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Fantasy football 2021: PPR vs. standard scoring leagues, explained

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Alvin Kamara Fantasy Football

It sounds obvious, but the best way you can prepare for your fantasy football draft is by understanding the rules.

That's worth saying out loud, because not all fantasy football leagues are created equal when it comes to scoring points. We're here to explain the difference between the two most common scoring systems you'll find in fantasy: standard and PPR (points per reception).

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Both have their pros and cons, but thankfully, both are pretty straightforward. Here's a quick breakdown of both scoring systems.

Standard scoring

If you're in a "standard scoring" league, that usually means the following:

Passing: 1 point per 25 passing yards; 4 points per passing touchdown; -1 point per interception

Rushing: 1 point per 10 rushing yards; 6 points per rushing touchdown; -2 points per fumble

Receiving: 1 point per 10 receiving yards; 6 points per rushing touchdown; -2 points per fumble

PPR scoring

If you're in a "PPR scoring" league, the scoring remains mostly the same, but with the changes highlighted in bold below:

Passing: 1 point per 25 passing yards; 4 points per passing touchdown; -1 point per interception

Rushing: 1 point per 10 rushing yards; 6 points per rushing touchdown; -2 points per fumble

Receiving: 1 point per 10 receiving yards; 1 point per reception; 6 points per rushing touchdown; -2 points per fumble

Some leagues abide by "Half PPR scoring," which means each reception is worth 0.5 points instead of one point.

Standard scoring vs. PPR scoring strategy

Simply put, PPR leagues boost the value of players who catch more passes. New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara finished 14th in the NFL in rushing yards last season but was the highest-scoring non-QB in PPR leagues last season. Why? Because he caught 83 passes, which was more than all but 18 players in the league.

 

If you're in a PPR league, you'll want to target running backs who are active in the passing game and wide receivers who could see lots of targets -- like Keenan Allen, who caught 100 passes to finish as a top-15 wideout in PPR league despite having fewer than 1,000 receiving yards. 

Conversely, you may want to lower the value of a player like Patriots running back Damien Harris, who should be New England's workhorse running back this season but doesn't catch many passes with teammate James White carrying most of that load.

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If you're in a standard league, you should still have your eye on the Alvin Kamaras of the world. His 756 receiving yards last season were good for 75.6 extra fantasy points, so the more yards from scrimmage, the better. But standard leagues place a greater value on scoring: Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (an NFL-high 17 rushing touchdowns in 2020) was the top non-QB in standard formats last season.

A disclaimer: This is all relative. If you're in a PPR league and Henry is still on the board in the second round, draft him immediately. But your league's scoring system should impact how you rank players entering your draft. So, Henry might be the No. 2 running back on your board in a standard league and the No. 5 running back in a PPR league.

Make sense? Good. Now go read our updated fantasy football draft kit for everything else you need to come out of your draft feeling confident.