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

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Jun 21, 2019

Duke Johnson benefits greatly when moving to a PPR format

There was a movement in 2018 where some of the major sites started moving away from traditional standard leagues and ones that promote points per reception (PPR). ESPN has full-point PPR as its default setting, while Yahoo and NFL.com have gone to half-PPR. Whatever situation you’re in, we’re going to help you transition to point per reception leagues.

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In this article, we’ll be talking about the players who benefit the most from the PPR format. We’ll be putting up an article tomorrow highlighting those who lose the most value in the format, so stay tuned for that. There’s a lot more volatility in standard formats, as it relies heavily on touchdowns, whereas PPR formats benefit those who move the chains. It obviously helps scoring touchdowns, but PPR will make your league less touchdown-dependent than ever. Let’s look back at the 2018 season and talk about which players benefited the most from the PPR format.

Running Backs

Jalen Richard (OAK) +14 spots
He finished as a top-30 running back in PPR formats last year. All that dumping-down that Derek Carr did paid off for those who paid attention to Richard, though the first-round draft pick of Josh Jacobs is likely to kill the momentum he built in 2018.

Duke Johnson (CLE) +11 spots
He was at +10 spots in 2017, too, so Johnson is clearly worth more in PPR formats than he is in standard leagues. While the addition of Odell Beckham may tone down some of the targets he gets, it’s worth noting that Johnson saw 33 targets in the eight games Freddie Kitchens called the offense. That pace would have landed him as the running back with the 16th most targets in 2018.

Nyheim Hines (IND) +11 spots
He has a clear role on the Colts as the pass-catching back, while Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, and Spencer Ware handle the early-down work. Just how much does that matter? Did you know Hines finished as the No. 27 running back in PPR, ahead of guys like Mark Ingram and Sony Michel?

Dion Lewis (TEN) +8 spots
With all the chatter we’re hearing about Derrick Henry getting a bigger role, it’s worth wondering what everyone thinks will happen to Lewis? He’s the superior pass-catcher of the two, as well as the better pass-blocker. It’s why Henry saw just 18 targets to Lewis’ 67 targets last year. The Titans are paying him $5 million in 2019, so it’s unlikely he just sits on the bench. Move him up a few spots in your rankings if you’re in a PPR league.

Kenyan Drake (MIA) +7 spots
Despite being stuck in the cruelty that was Adam Gase’s offense, Drake managed to finish as the No. 14 running back in PPR leagues last year. He wasn’t as consistent as you’d like, but that’s likely due to his measly 120 carries, which ranked 39th in the league (he played all 16 games). Receptions are going to raise Drake’s ceiling, while carries will set his floor.

Notable mentions: Tarik Cohen (CHI), James White (NE), T.J. Yeldon (BUF)

Wide Receivers

Taylor Gabriel (CHI) +13 spots
This one is surprising because you don’t typically see field-stretchers perform better in PPR, but Gabriel’s role in the Bears offense wasn’t limited to just deep routes, as his 11.0-yard average depth of target was smaller than Allen Robinson‘s 11.9-yard and Anthony Miller‘s 11.3-yard average. Gabriel saw 93 targets in 2018, the 36th-highest mark among receivers. Him scoring just two touchdowns obviously dragged down his standard finish.

Adam Humphries (TEN) +7 spots
Most don’t realize just how valuable Humphries was last year, particularly in PPR leagues where he finished as the No. 24 receiver. For those doing the math at home, that’s a WR2 in 12-team leagues. Moving to the Titans is likely the worst thing for his fantasy value, though, as his target totals will decrease. Still, he’s more valuable in point-per-reception formats.

Demaryius Thomas (DEN) +6 spots
This is the second-straight year Thomas is on the list, as his ability to score touchdowns after Peyton Manning has deteriorated. Despite catching 337 passes over the last four years, he’s totaled just 21 touchdowns in that time, which will obviously hurt in standard formats. He’s now coming off a torn Achilles and will be 32 years old in October. His career is nearing (or at) the end.

Nelson Agholor (PHI) +6 spots
This is significant because Agholor wasn’t even in the slot throughout the entire 2018 season. He’ll be moving back there with Golden Tate out of town, which should only make him more valuable in PPR formats. He’s also been a solid performer while running routes from the slot, while he’s been rather abysmal on the perimeter. He deserves a nice bump in PPR formats.

Golden Tate (NYG) +5 spots
Another slot-heavy wide receiver who’s better in PPR? It should remain that way while in New York, though they may try to rotate Tate and Sterling Shepard in and out of the slot. Tate has traditionally been a 90-catch guy over the last five years, but he didn’t score more than six touchdowns in any of those seasons, which really hurts in standard leagues.

Notable mentions: Jarvis Landry (CLE), Julian Edelman (NE), Deandre Hopkins (HOU)

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham (GB) +2 spots
It’s rare to see Graham in this category, but after scoring just two touchdowns in 2018, here we are. Did you realize he was ninth in both receptions and yardage among tight ends? That’s despite playing with a broken thumb throughout the second half of the season. I don’t expect this to be a trend with Graham, who is typically a touchdown-scorer.

Jordan Reed (WAS) +2 spots
He was on this list last year as well, so it’s a trend with Reed. He’s scored just 10 touchdowns over the last three years combined and has just one year with more than six touchdowns, so you can see how Reed would be more valuable in PPR formats. With a rookie quarterback or Case Keenum throwing to him this year, it’s likely to continue.


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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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