by Bryce McRae
on August 13, 2008 @ 14:13:32
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.
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).
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.
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
Table: Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends - top 20 - PPR
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.
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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