PPR vs. non-PPR scoring

by Bryce McRae on August 13, 2008 @ 14:13:32 PDT

 


As fantasy football leagues have developed, point-per-reception (PPR) leagues have arisen to give players more variety in their fantasy games. The additional rule is simple: for each reception made, a player receives an extra point. Yet, such a simple rule can have a big impact on weekly scoring. For example, New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker recorded 12 points in standard scoring leagues (one point for every 10 receiving yards, six points per touchdown) for his 122-yard effort in Week 17 last year. However, in PPR leagues with his 11 receptions, Welker amassed an outstanding 23 points, numbers close to what a stud running back would put up.

As you can imagine, the added value of receptions increases the relative value of wide receivers and tight ends while taking away some value from running backs and quarterbacks. In the end it is a matter of preference, but there are some pros and cons to playing (or not playing) in a PPR league.

Pros

PPR leagues tend to be less running back-heavy than their non-PPR brethren. If you award points for receptions, the increased value of receivers means you can at least consider alternatives to drafting running backs with each of your first two or three picks. This is advantageous as more NFL teams shift toward a running back-by-committee approach, and the studs are harder to find. If you end up with the fourth or fifth pick in these drafts, you aren't going to be hurt as much by missing out on one of the studs.

Moving further, the value at positions becomes more balanced as running backs lose value while wide receivers and tight ends find theirs increasing.

It also helps to diminish the overall reliance on touchdowns by more greatly rewarding a player's involvement in the offense. For instance, now a player that has a 10-catch, 107-yard day (10 points in standard, 20 in PPR) is more valuable than someone that catches three balls for 70 yards and a touchdown (13 points in standard, 16 in PPR).

Cons

Some owners feel the added point for a reception gives too much value to receivers. If a receiver catches one pass for zero yards, he will still end up with one point. In fact, even if he catches one pass for negative-three yards, he will still end up with a point. However, a running back who rushes a loss of three yards will not gain any points. This type of discrepancy in points is one reason some fantasy players could be against PPR leagues.

Stemming from this, wide receivers become more valuable across the board in PPR leagues. While this is not necessarily a bad development (depending on your point-of-view), it tends to create more versatile rosters and saturates the market for elite fantasy players.

Counting points for receptions also pushes down some of the game's top running backs that don't factor heavily in the passing game. While the debate over who should be selected first overall between San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson and Minnesota Vikings halfback Adrian Peterson was fierce enough to garner its own article on this site, in PPR formats Tomlinson becomes the clear-cut No. 1 pick.

How does it affect players

The quarterback position is likely affected the most. Each of the other skill positions could receive a boost because of the receptions. Unless a quarterback is catching his own passes, he isn't going to benefit from the switch to a PPR format.

Therefore, the top-tier quarterbacks (the Patriots' Tom Brady, Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo and Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning) all drop a few spots in a trend that continues down the line.

Looking at KFFL's rankings, we can see a sizable effect concerning running backs. For example, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush jumps from being ranked 23rd in standard formats to ninth overall in PPR leagues. Bush is a huge part of the Saints' prolific passing attack and receives a considerable bump because of his receptions. Again, supporters of PPR leagues would say this is a good thing because it promotes versatility and gives more players a chance to acquire stud running backs. Meanwhile, those that prefer standard scoring would throw up their arms in disgust at the extra value given for receptions.

In the anti-Bush effect, Arizona Cardinals running back Edgerrin James falls from 21st overall in standard leagues to 35th overall in PPR formats. He simply does not receive nearly enough receptions to make him a No. 2 running back in PPR leagues.

However, the biggest shift definitely comes in the value of receivers. Only seven receivers are ranked in the top 30 of our standard rankings. That number jumps to 12 in PPR formats. Among the biggest movers are Cincinnati Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Saints wideout Marques Colston. With 112 receptions last year, Houshmandzadeh has a sizable head start over running backs in PPR leagues.

Tight ends also receive a substantial benefit in PPR leagues. San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is ranked just 38th overall in standard leagues. However, with a track record of 70-plus-reception seasons, his value skyrockets to 18th overall in PPR leagues.

These rankings don't necessarily mean you should draft the player at that spot, but they give you a good idea of the added value the point-per-reception scoring format creates.

Table: Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends - top 20 - non-PPR

Rk 
Pts 
Player 
Pos 
Tm 
 
Rk
Pts
Player
Pos
Tm
 
Rk
Pts
Player
Pos
Tm
1
293
LaDainian Tomlinson
RB
SDC
1
235
Randy Moss
WR
NEP
1
147
Antonio Gates
TE
SDC
2
289
Adrian Peterson
RB
MIN
2
201
Terrell Owens
WR
DAL
2
129
Kellen Winslow
TE
CLE
3
269
Brian Westbrook
RB
PHI
3
197
Reggie Wayne
WR
IND
3
126
Tony Gonzalez
TE
KCC
4
256
Steven Jackson
RB
STL
4
187
Chad Johnson
WR
CIN
4
124
Jason Witten
TE
DAL
5
229
Clinton Portis
RB
WAS
5
187
Larry Fitzgerald
WR
ARI
5
115
Chris Cooley
TE
WAS
6
226
Joseph Addai
RB
IND
6
185
Braylon Edwards
WR
CLE
6
111
Jeremy Shockey
TE
NOS
7
224
Larry Johnson
RB
KCC
7
176
Andre Johnson
WR
HOU
7
104
Todd Heap
TE
BAL
8
222
Marion Barber III
RB
DAL
8
172
Marques Colston
WR
NOS
8
94
Tony Scheffler
TE
DEN
9
220
Frank Gore
RB
SFO
9
172
Plaxico Burress
WR
NYG
9
93
Dallas Clark
TE
IND
10
208
Marshawn Lynch
RB
BUF
10
170
Torry Holt
WR
STL
10
87
Owen Daniels
TE
HOU
11
204
Ryan Grant
RB
GBP
11
167
Santonio Holmes
WR
PIT
11
81
Heath Miller
TE
PIT
12
195
Maurice Jones-Drew
RB
JAC
12
166
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
WR
CIN
12
80
Randy McMichael
TE
STL
13
194
Edgerrin James
RB
ARI
13
164
Steve Smith
WR
CAR
13
79
Alge Crumpler
TE
TEN
14
193
Reggie Bush
RB
NOS
14
162
Greg Jennings
WR
GBP
14
78
Donald Lee
TE
GBP
15
192
Jamal Lewis
RB
CLE
15
161
Anquan Boldin
WR
ARI
15
78
Vernon Davis
TE
SFO
16
188
LenDale White
RB
TEN
16
155
Roy Williams
WR
DET
16
77
Kevin Boss
TE
NYG
17
187
Rudi Johnson
RB
CIN
17
154
Laveranues Coles
WR
NYJ
17
75
Desmond Clark
TE
CHI
18
186
Willis McGahee
RB
BAL
18
146
Lee Evans
WR
BUF
18
74
L.J. Smith
TE
PHI
19
185
Thomas Jones
RB
NYJ
19
144
Jerricho Cotchery
WR
NYJ
19
73
Zach Miller
TE
OAK
20
181
Darren McFadden
RB
OAK
20
142
Marvin Harrison
WR
IND
20
72
Benjamin Watson
TE
NEP

 Table: Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends - top 20 - PPR

Rk 
Pts 
Player 
Pos 
Tm 
 
Rk
Pts
Player
Pos
Tm
Rk
Rk
Pts
Player
Pos
Tm
1
354
LaDainian Tomlinson
RB
SDC
1
327
Randy Moss
WR
NEP
1
1
225
Antonio Gates
TE
SDC
2
352
Brian Westbrook
RB
PHI
2
292
Reggie Wayne
WR
IND
2
2
215
Kellen Winslow
TE
CLE
3
320
Adrian Peterson
RB
MIN
3
283
Larry Fitzgerald
WR
ARI
3
3
212
Tony Gonzalez
TE
KCC
4
314
Steven Jackson
RB
STL
4
282
Terrell Owens
WR
DAL
4
4
207
Jason Witten
TE
DAL
5
288
Frank Gore
RB
SFO
5
278
Chad Johnson
WR
CIN
5
5
180
Chris Cooley
TE
WAS
6
275
Clinton Portis
RB
WAS
6
267
Andre Johnson
WR
HOU
6
6
177
Jeremy Shockey
TE
NOS
7
274
Reggie Bush
RB
NOS
7
266
Torry Holt
WR
STL
7
7
172
Todd Heap
TE
BAL
8
274
Joseph Addai
RB
IND
8
261
Marques Colston
WR
NOS
8
8
142
Owen Daniels
TE
HOU
9
264
Larry Johnson
RB
KCC
9
259
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
WR
CIN
9
9
141
Tony Scheffler
TE
DEN
10
261
Marion Barber III
RB
DAL
10
258
Braylon Edwards
WR
CLE
10
10
139
Dallas Clark
TE
IND
11
244
Ryan Grant
RB
GBP
11
251
Anquan Boldin
WR
ARI
11
11
137
Randy McMichael
TE
STL
12
241
Maurice Jones-Drew
RB
JAC
12
245
Steve Smith
WR
CAR
12
12
130
Kevin Boss
TE
NYG
13
235
Marshawn Lynch
RB
BUF
13
243
Plaxico Burress
WR
NYG
13
13
127
Alge Crumpler
TE
TEN
14
230
Darren McFadden
RB
OAK
14
240
Laveranues Coles
WR
NYJ
14
14
124
Vernon Davis
TE
SFO
15
225
Edgerrin James
RB
ARI
15
235
Roy Williams
WR
DET
15
15
124
Zach Miller
TE
OAK
16
216
Jamal Lewis
RB
CLE
16
234
Santonio Holmes
WR
PIT
16
16
123
L.J. Smith
TE
PHI
17
211
Thomas Jones
RB
NYJ
17
228
Greg Jennings
WR
GBP
17
17
121
Donald Lee
TE
GBP
18
211
Willis McGahee
RB
BAL
18
226
Wes Welker
WR
NEP
18
18
121
Heath Miller
TE
PIT
19
210
Selvin Young
RB
DEN
19
223
Jerricho Cotchery
WR
NYJ
19
19
121
Anthony Fasano
TE
MIA
20
209
LenDale White
RB
TEN
20
219
Donald Driver
WR
GBP
20
20
117
Jeff King
TE
CAR

Conclusion

There are right and wrong ways to draft. There are right and wrong ways to manage your team. There are even right and wrong ways to celebrate your birthday. But there are no right and wrong ways in choosing your league type. Some owners favor adding a helping of PPR to their fantasy plate while others prefer to go without. In the end it comes down to what you feel comfortable with and what league type you will enjoy the most.

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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