Players Who See a Decline in PPR Formats (Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Jun 28, 2018

Derrick Henry needs to be moved down draft boards in a PPR format

It seems that many are making the switch over to PPR formats in 2018. Whether it be due to the fact that ESPN made PPR their standard format last season, or that Yahoo has made half-PPR their standard format this season. Whatever the case, we’re here to help you with the transition by talking about the players who will be hurt most by the point per reception scoring setting. We also did a piece on players the format helps, and you can find that article right here.

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In standard formats, there’s a lot more volatility, as the format relies heavily on touchdowns, whereas the PPR format benefits those who move the chains. While it helps to score touchdowns as well (obviously), it’ll make your fantasy season less touchdown dependent than ever before. One tip is to try and avoid players who don’t see a lot of targets. For instance, JuJu Smith-Schuster saw just 5.6 targets per game in 2017, which ranked 55th among wide receivers, yet he’s being drafted as a top-24 wide receiver in 2018. It’s not to say that he’s guaranteed to bust, but his situation hasn’t changed much, so it’s hard to see that jump in targets it seems some are expecting. Oddly enough, his ADP is later in standard formats. Let’s take a look at those who you should lower down draft boards in PPR and how much lower they finished in the PPR format.

Running Backs

Derrick Henry (TEN) -12 spots
This one should surprise none of you, as we’ve been warning you about Henry’s role all season. Not only was he playing behind now 30-year-old DeMarco Murray in passing-down situations last year, but he now has to battle with newly-signed free agent Dion Lewis, who is one of the best pass-blockers at the running back position in all of football. Henry’s numbers are going to suffer in PPR formats where he should be viewed as an RB3.

Alex Collins (BAL) -5 spots
There should be an asterisk next to Collins’ name here, because he started to right the ship in PPR leagues as the year went on. Over the first eight games of the season, Collins totaled just three receptions for 33 yards, but was unleashed after the Ravens bye in Week 10. Over the final seven games, where he totaled 20 receptions for 154 yards, he ranked No. 9 in both standard and PPR formats.

Marshawn Lynch (OAK) -5 spots
We’ve all known that Lynch wasn’t much of a threat in the receiving game while with the Seahawks and it appears that nothing has changed with the Raiders. He was a bit more involved down the stretch, but the coaching change will reset everything. Not only is Lynch fighting with Doug Martin for carries, he’s going to be battling him for receptions, as well as DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. You’ll want to value him a bit less in PPR formats.

Jordan Howard (CHI) -4 spots
I would’ve actually thought Howard was even worse than this in PPR formats, as he’s one of the worst pass-catchers at the running back position. During the course of his career, he’s now caught just 52-of-82 targets, which amounts to a 63.4 percent catch rate. The average among running backs in 2018 was 74.3 percent, giving you an idea as to how bad Howard has been. Howard is the only person on the Bears roster who can handle 250-plus carries, so he’s going to be valuable, but just not nearly as much in PPR formats.

Notable mentions: Jonathan Stewart (NYG), Corey Clement (PHI), Latavius Murray (MIN), LeGarrette Blount (DET)

Wide Receivers

Brandin Cooks (LAR) -8 spots
Yes, Cooks is on a new team, but when it comes to PPR formats, he’s always going to be worth a bit less than he is in standard leagues. He’s been a big-play guy over the last three years and it’s hard to see that changing with Cooper Kupp, Todd Gurley, and Robert Woods operating underneath the majority of time. The way it works with wide receivers in PPR is that the downfield receivers are usually the ones who suffer the most.

Sammy Watkins (KC) -7 spots
After seeing Cooks on the list, it should come as no shock to see Watkins who has now been labeled as a downfield receiver. That’s the way he was used with the Rams last year, but I’m not sure if that’ll be the case with the Chiefs, who just ponied up a ton of money to acquire him in free agency. Watkins has averaged over 15.0 yards per reception in every season, but a lot of that had to do with the role he played. Tyreek Hill is the field-stretching type, too, so it’s possible that the difference for Watkins in PPR isn’t as large in 2018.

Marvin Jones (DET) -6 spots
I’ve mentioned that the big-play wide receivers are often hurt the most by the PPR format, but Jones gets the double whammy, as he’s not only the Lions downfield threat, but he’s also their touchdown guy. Touchdowns aren’t as valuable in PPR formats even though they are “technically” worth the same. Six points in a standard league is solid, whereas six points in a PPR format is a bust. Jones has averaged 17.5 yards per reception with the Lions and has scored 13 touchdowns, which is the recipe for being worth less in the PPR setting.

Alshon Jeffery (PHI) -5 spots
The reason Jeffery is here, without a doubt, is because of his ultra-low catch percentage last year, as well as his high touchdown rate. His catch rate was just 47.5 percent, which ranked 168th among the 211 wide receivers who registered a target in 2017. He caught a touchdown every 13.3 targets when the NFL average for wide receivers is one every 22.8 targets. You have to catch the ball at a much higher rate to do well in PPR, but Jeffery should be able to develop a bit more chemistry with his quarterback in year-two of the offense.

Notable mentions: Tyrell Williams (LAC), Amari Cooper (OAK), JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT), Keelan Cole (JAX), Tyreek Hill (KC)

Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones (ARI) -9 spots
Some are projecting a breakout year for Seals-Jones, but when you look at the fantasy numbers and where they came from in 2017, you should be a bit skeptical. Three of his 12 receptions were for touchdowns and his catch rate was just 42.9 percent. His 16.8 yards per reception was higher than any other tight end with at least 10 targets. So when you see all of these things together, you literally have the trifecta of negatives in PPR (low catch rate, high yards per reception, high touchdown rate).

O.J. Howard (TB) -4 spots
The only tight end with more yards per reception than Howard at the tight end position last year was… Ricky Seals-Jones, the only other player on this list. Howard also caught a touchdown once every 6.5 targets, which was the best ratio in the NFL last year among those who had at least 35 targets. What saved him from falling too far in PPR was his high catch rate of 66.7 percent, which was higher than the average among tight ends (64.2 percent).

Notable mentions: Tyler Kroft (CIN), Marcedes Lewis (GB)

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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