Everybody plays fantasy a little differently. Some people swear by PPR, while others will never stray from standard-scoring leagues. Some people dip their toes into IDP leagues. Some love keepers and dynasty leagues.
In my main league, my seven friends and I play a standard-scoring keeper league and start two quarterbacks, two running backs, two wide receivers, two tight ends, a defense, a kicker and two RB/WR/TE flexes while carrying a bench of nine players. It's our little twist on a tried-and-true formula.
However you play, we all need advice. So below, I'll try to offer a little bit for both standard-scoring traditionalists and PPR lovers, including my top 50 players in standard leagues but also an entire section on PPR strategy.
See, we can all get along.
|1||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||RB|
|2||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||RB|
|3||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||RB|
|4||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||RB|
|5||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||QB|
|6||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||RB|
|7||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||TE|
|8||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||WR|
|9||Eddie Lacy||Green Bay Packers||RB|
|10||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||QB|
|11||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||QB|
|12||Arian Foster||Houston Texans||RB|
|13||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||WR|
|14||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||WR|
|15||Doug Martin||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||RB|
|16||Zac Stacy||St. Louis Rams||RB|
|17||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||WR|
|18||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||WR|
|19||DeMarco Murray||Dallas Cowboys||RB|
|21||Julio Jones||Atlanta Falcons||WR|
|22||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||QB|
|23||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||QB|
|24||Le'Veon Bell||Pittsburgh Steelers||RB|
|25||Jordy Nelson||Green Bay Packers||WR|
|26||Montee Ball||Denver Broncos||RB|
|27||Randall Cobb||Green Bay Packers||WR|
|28||Antonio Brown||Pittsburgh Steelers||WR|
|29||Julius Thomas||Denver Broncos||TE|
|30||Alshon Jeffery||Chicago Bears||WR|
|31||Andre Ellington||Arizona Cardinals||RB|
|32||Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||TE|
|33||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans||WR|
|34||Vincent Jackson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||WR|
|35||Giovani Bernard||Cincinnati Bengals||RB|
|36||Victor Cruz||New York Giants||WR|
|37||Reggie Bush||Detroit Lions||RB|
|38||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||QB|
|39||Toby Gerhart||Jacksonville Jaguars||RB|
|41||Keenan Allen||San Diego Chargers||WR|
|42||Ryan Mathews||San Diego Chargers||RB|
|43||Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers||TE|
|44||Wes Welker||Denver Broncos||WR|
|45||C.J. Spiller||Buffalo Bills||RB|
|46||Frank Gore||San Francisco 49ers||RB|
|47||Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals||WR|
|48||Ray Rice||Baltimore Ravens||RB|
|49||Rashad Jennings||New York Giants||RB|
Generally speaking, you shouldn't dramatically change your draft strategy in a PPR league. While I'll outline certain players who should get a bump up your draft board in PPR leagues, the first thing to address is the one position that is less valuable in this format.
Because quarterback is the only offensive position that gains no value in PPR leagues, QBs logically account for a smaller proportion of the overall points scored. Thus, while they can still contribute big points for you on a weekly basis, it's less likely that a stud at the position is going to have anywhere near the impact he would in a standard-scoring league.
In other words, I wouldn't recommend selecting a quarterback with your first-round pick unless you are in a 12-man league or bigger, and even then you should only be going quarterback at the very end of the round.
It is at the running back position that you see the biggest potential leap in value. While wide receivers take a leap as a positional group because of the added points from receptions, you don't see a ton of difference in value within the position since most top receivers nab a ton of passes. Last year, for instance, 22 receivers had 75 receptions or more.
Yes, certain players tend toward being reception machines. More on them in a bit. But in general, your receiver rankings shouldn't be too much different.
But at running back, players who make a living catching passes out of the backfield come at a premium. Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte should be the first two players off the board, for example (with Darren Sproles now in Philadelphia, LeSean McCoy drops to No. 3 overall in PPR leagues). Several running backs are far more valuable in PPR leagues.
Let's take a look at the players who have the greatest potential value increase, in no particular order, in this format:
- Running Back: Danny Woodhead, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Shane Vereen, Andre Ellington, Dexter McCluster, Giovani Bernard
- Wide Receiver: Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Kendall Wright, Pierre Garcon, Andre Johnson, Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall
- Tight End: Jason Witten, Jordan Cameron (especially if Josh Gordon is out for the year)
Of course, certain players see their values dip in PPR leagues, namely at running back. Alfred Morris is the biggest culprit here, but Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Mathews, Frank Gore and Zac Stacy all have to be devalued in the format (Eddie Lacy was hurt somewhat by a mediocre 35 receptions a year ago, but he'll be a much bigger part of the passing game this season).
If you want an example of how PPR can change a player's value in a surprising way, consider this tweet from Pro Football Focus:
A bit surprising that Garcon outscored Lynch in PPR last year. Over 16 games each, doubt he does in 2014, but interesting nonetheless.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) August 13, 2014
In standard-scoring leagues, Lynch had 70 more points. In PPR leagues, Garcon had seven more points. Lynch still holds value because talented running backs are harder to come by in any format than solid receivers, but there's no question that players like Lynch should be selected later in PPR drafts than they would be in standard ones.
But other players will see a huge jump in value this year in PPR leagues. There's Ellington, for example, who according to Arizona Cardinals game analyst Ron Wolfley will be the team's own version of Charles. That should have PPR owners licking their lips (or doing something slightly less creepy).
And Sproles could actually see an uptick in usage in Philadelphia's uptempo offense. He seems excited about his role, telling Zach Berman of the The Philadelphia Inquirer, "The stuff we've been doing in practice, I think it's kind of dangerous."
One would guess the rest of the league will eventually, and begrudgingly, agree. Versatile players like Sproles live for the PPR format. Make sure you value them appropriately.
Have fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer them and make some corny jokes, too. It's more fun than a Mo'Ne Davis shutout (but not as impressive).