Fantasy Too Early: PPR Special Report

TORONTO ON - NOVEMBER 07: Earl Bennett #80 of the Chicago Bears catches the game winning touchdown against Leodis McKelvin #28 of the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on November 7 2010 in Toronto Canada. Chicago won 22-19. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Labor peace talks sounded better when the focus date was 15 July, before the Bears/Rams Hall of Fame game came out in recent reports as an easy sacrificial target. Don't get me wrong, its not regular season and we will live, but it does mean the current labor talks will go on long enough to impact us...It will be at least 1 week later than we thought before we see Bears football if the reports are true. With that dreadful thought in mind, lets take a look at some of the differences in rankings when PPR comes into play...

First off, as normal, I look at CBSSports and espn as standard sources for comparative data. Sadly, CBSSports has no PPR relevant information up except for this 14 team mock draft. Why they had to pick 14 teams (instead of 12, or 10, the two most common formats) and why they did it before posting a top 200 list is beyond me (you can find their standard scoring top 200 here and their standard scoring 12 team draft here.)

As for ESPN, I think fantasy football rankings are one of the things they actually do very well. My lists usually look a lot more like theirs, except I sometimes think they are overly conservative and afraid to endorse surprise candidates for higher drafting positions, even if they really believe in them. Beats some of the wacky stuff I see elsewhere though, and most seasons the ESPN standard lists are good enough to make a playoff push. ESPN has a PPR top 300 here which also allows you to break it down by position. Its has a nice compliment in a PPR Primer here if you are behind the curve on what PPR is. Their standard PPR cheat sheet is right here and they typically stock "non-standard" league information well (PPR/IDP/2QB formats). If you are really crazy you can have it with Auction draft dollar values too.

As for me, I'll just give you a quick look at the guys I am higher on, and the guys I am lower on, when PPR comes into play (assuming 12 team leagues still).

Running Backs: You never pass great value, but I downgrade Michael Turner and Rashard Mendenhall in PPR leagues. Neither catches many passes, so if you had Turner in the 1st (I did) you might push him to the 2nd, and Mendenhall drops to the 3rd on my list. I also downgrade by at least 1 round LeGarrette Blount (5th/6th), Ryan Matthews (5th), Cedric Benson (5th), and Shonn Greene (5th). Remember not to overdue it, they are still productive players, but the 30-40 receptions they are NOT getting takes them down a notch. On the other side of that, guys like MJD and Ray Rice really lock in 1st round grades. Elevate other pass catchers too, like LeSean McCoy (2nd) and the highly under-rated Matt Forte (early 2nd round pick in PPR. 1600 yards and 50+ catches do it for me.). Don't forget Ahmad Bradshaw (2nd), Darren McFadden (3rd), and Felix Jones (4th) are all solid pass catchers too. Peyton Hillis was overlooked as a pass catcher last year, and he will make a good #2 back if he keeps getting those targets.

Wide Receiver: He with the most catches, often wins. Big play guys (DeSean Jackson, Johnny Knox) lose value and guys who catch 80+ passes become monsters. Roddy White is my #1 overall receiver in PPR leagues. Reggie Wayne (1st/2nd) was the only other receiver to catch 100 passes last year. Also over 80 were Santana Moss, Larry Fitzgerald (2nd), Andre Johnson (1st), Wes Welker (4th), Brandon Marshall (4th), Marques Colston (3rd), Steve Johnson (3rd), and Danny Amendola (but his YPC were so bad, it didn't make up for it.). My honest to goodness favorite thing to do is get Roddy White and Wes Welker paired together as starters in a PPR league, filling in the 2nd and 3rd rounds with running backs like Matt Forte and Ahmad Bradshaw to form a 4 man front of pass catching machines...

Tight Ends: Of course that works even better if you get a monster pass catcher at the Tight End spot. Jason Witten had 94 receptions last year, and is worth every bit of a 5th round pick in PPR. Dallas Clark will be one of the other stud pass catchers, but Chris Cooley is amazing value in PPR leagues (77 catches last year). Keep a big eye on Benjamin Watson, he had over 100 targets last year, and I don't see that changing in Cleveland

Homer Sleeper Pick: Earl Bennett. Amazing reception percentage. You will be able to get him as a 4th, if not 5th, receiver in most fantasy leagues.

 

Next Up: IDP stuff!

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