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Players Who Lose Value in PPR Formats (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Jun 24, 2021

You can’t draft Damien Harris nearly as high in PPR formats as you do in standard ones

There used to be fantasy leagues that were touchdown-only. If you can believe it, there’s still some of them out there. Most of them graduated to standard scoring along the way, which was certainly better, though that’s no longer the standard scoring method in fantasy football, either.

Today, there are many leagues transitioning to PPR leagues, which stands for points per reception. Some are full point while others meet in the middle and go with a half point. Part of the reason many are changing is due to sites like ESPN and CBS making full PPR the default option when you set up a league, while Yahoo and NFL.com use half-point PPR. Some like it because it produces more fantasy points, and who doesn’t like to see the points stack up?

People like me enjoy it because it’s more predictable than standard scoring. I can more accurately predict if a player will have five catches for 70 yards rather than a player have one catch for a 50-yard touchdown. In PPR, those stat lines are worth the exact same, so at least it’s evened out. In standard, the one catch for a 50-yard touchdown guy scores 5.0 more fantasy points. Bring on the predictability because it increases the skill gap.

If you’re someone transitioning to the old standard format to PPR, we’re here to help your transition easier. Today, we’ll be talking about the players who lose the most value in PPR formats. Earlier this week, we did an article on those who gain value in the format. 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 2020 season and talk about the players who lost the most value in the PPR format.

Running Backs

Gus Edwards (BAL) -9 spots
We all know Edwards isn’t involved in the passing game, right? He’s totaled 414 carries over the last three seasons but has just 18 receptions to his name. That’ll bury him in PPR formats, which is highlighted by his RB37 finish in that format compared to RB28 in standard leagues. If you’re playing in a PPR format, you must devalue the Ravens running backs.

Damien Harris (NE) -9 spots
This has been the case for Sony Michel while with the Patriots as well, as they don’t use the same running back for early-down work as they do in the passing game. Between Harris and Michel combined, they’ve totaled 676 carries, but just 31 receptions. That’s not going to get it done in PPR formats. The early-down Patriots backs should be devalued in PPR formats by quite a bit, as it’s score a touchdown or bust every week.

JK Dobbins (BAL) -7 spots
Wait, another Ravens running back? Yep. Not only do the Ravens not throw the ball a lot with Lamar Jackson under center (just 845 pass attempts the last two seasons combined), but they don’t target their running backs when they do. The running backs have combined for just 111 targets over the last two years, which amounts to just a 13.1 percent target share, one of the lowest percentages in the league. Dobbins is electric and will be highly efficient in this offense, but he’s not worth nearly as much in PPR formats as he is in standard ones.

Ronald Jones (TB) -5 spots
Well, you can’t say the Bucs didn’t try to involve Jones in the passing game. He accounted for five drops on just 42 targets, and while Leonard Fournette and Ke’Shawn Vaughn were no better, the Bucs went out and snagged Giovani Bernard to play that role in 2021. It’s safe to say Jones is much more valuable in standard formats than he is in PPR.

Wide Receivers

Nelson Agholor (LVR) -13 spots
When you average 18.7 yards per reception and score a touchdown every 6.0 receptions, you’re going to look a lot better in standard than you do in PPR formats. It was a big change for Agholor, as he’d never averaged more than 12.4 yards per reception or a touchdown every 7.8 receptions. It was a new team, but unfortunately, he’s going to another new team in 2021, which means we can’t say this will be the new norm for him.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) -11 spots
This is the reason I love PPR formats so much. You can never predict when Valdes-Scantling will have a big game, and it’s highlighted right here. He finished as the No. 44 wide receiver in standard formats but fell all the way to the No. 55 wide receiver in PPR formats because that one big catch won’t save you the way it does in standard leagues. This is a common occurrence for Valdes-Scantling to be on this list.

Chase Claypool (PIT) -8 spots
It’s not too surprising to see a speedy wide receiver on this list, but it’s not great when you combine this with his aging quarterback who’s taking fewer and fewer shots down the field. Both Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster benefit from PPR formats, but it’s Claypool who sees a big drop in the format. Unless there’s an injury to one of Johnson or Smith-Schuster, Claypool isn’t going to be worth nearly as much in PPR formats as he is in standard leagues.

D.J. Moore (CAR) -8 spots
This one is opposite of what we would’ve thought prior to the start of last year, as Moore finished eight spots lower in PPR formats, while Robby Anderson finished eight spots higher in the format. This is what happened last year, so things can change, especially when the team lost Curtis Samuel and then added Terrace Marhsall, a bigger wide receiver. We could see Moore move into the slot this year because of that, so he’s not someone I’d severely downgrade in PPR formats.

Tight Ends

Jonnu Smith (NE) -7 spots
How is it that Smith finished with just 448 yards, yet somehow finished as the No. 9 tight end in standard formats? Oh yeah, it’s because standard is too heavily weighted towards touchdowns. He finished as the No. 16 tight end in PPR formats, which is much more in line with his performance. It isn’t on him, as he’s been a highly efficient tight end throughout his career, but the targets just haven’t been there. Will that change in New England? I think it will.

Jared Cook (LAC) -6 spots
In standard formats, Cook finished as a top-12 tight end despite finishing with just 37 receptions all season. That ranked 24th among tight ends. The reason he was able to finish top-12 was due to him catching a touchdown every 5.3 receptions, which is practically impossible to repeat. He’s switching teams in 2021, though he will be playing for the offensive coordinator who was the quarterbacks coach while he was with the Saints.


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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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