Fantasy Fox: Your guide to PPR domination
Here’s our annual, highly specialized guide to draft domination in Points Per Reception leagues, with 10-, 12- or 14-teamers in mind.
Five PPR Rules To Live By
1. Always Be Thinking Receiver
Obviously, you’ll need quarterbacks, running backs, defenses/special teams to complement receivers and tight ends on PPR-based rosters.
But no matter the round, you should always be pondering the next pass-catching move, or at least factoring in ancillary questions which add value to the PPR format:
**Do my running backs have the capacity for 85 total yards or four-plus catches a game?
**Do I want to start a wide receiver in the ‘flex’ position every week?
**Are my QBs likely to attempt 40 or more passes in at least six games? (This is extremely relevant with West Coast offenses.)
**Should I move heaven and earth to ‘handcuff’ my quarterback (Andrew Luck) to a receiver who catches 95-plus balls in his sleep (Reggie Wayne)?
2. Never Look A Targets-Driven Gift Horse In The Mouth
In standard-scoring leagues, versatile guys like Andre Johnson, Reggie Bush, Wes Welker, Darren Sproles, Reggie Wayne, Brian Hartline and Danny Amendola might get passed over for red-zone magnets, at least in the opening rounds.
But to effectively win a PPR championship, you’ll need a handful of the above names carrying the freight.
Take Wayne, for example: He’ll probably lose a touchdown battle to Miami’s Mike Wallace (64 catches, 836 yards, 8 TDs with Pittsburgh last year) or Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams (63 catches, 996 yards, 9 TDs) … but the Grand Canyon-esque disparity in receptions (Wayne has posted triple-digit catches in three of the last four seasons) makes this a different race — with a nod toward Reggie.
3. Respect The Laws Of ‘Imbalance’
At this point, neither Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson (Patriots), Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones (Bengals), Alshon Jeffery (Bears), T.J. Graham, Robert Woods (Bills), Brandon LaFell (Panthers), Jacoby Jones, Tandon Moss (Ravens), Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater (Raiders) nor Jason Avant or Damaris Johnson (Eagles) are consistent No. 2 receivers in the real world.
And of the group, perhaps only Jeffery will be selected in the first 10 rounds of 12-team drafts.
This black hole at such a crucial slot, relatively speaking, can only mean more receiving targets for Amendola, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Steve Johnson, Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, Denarius Moore and DeSean Jackson.
4. Let The Quarterback Market Fall To Unprecedented Depths
Quarterbacks have the exact same value in standard-scoring and Points Per Reception leagues; but for various reasons, they are routinely drafted lower in PPRs, as owners devote their first seven or eight picks to pass-friendly receivers, tailbacks and tight ends.
As Exhibit A, I landed Aaron Rodgers in Round 3 (27th overall) of a 12-team, 20-round experts’ PPR draft on Monday night (more on this later).
We’re talking about the same Rodgers who amassed 8,938 passing yards and 89 total touchdowns the previous two seasons (31 games) — with only 14 interceptions in that span.
The lack of urgency for QBs also extended to Cam Newton (Round 4), Tom Brady (Round 5), Matt Ryan (Round 7) and Matthew Stafford (Round 9) in Monday’s draft.
5. Embrace The Default 4-2-1 Strategy
For PPR drafts of 10, 12 or 14 teams, I always bow to the 4-2-1 code (first seven picks) of four targets-driven receivers, two pass-friendly running backs and either a blue-chip quarterback or top-four tight end (drafter’s choice).
Just like running backs with standard-scoring or TD-heavy leagues, in PPR formats, you can never have enough high-end pass-catchers. The goal is to have crazy-depth at this position … with the notion of using these assets for trade leverage during the bye weeks.
After that, think value, value, value at every turn.
Top 75 PPR Wideouts
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. Brandon Marshall, Bears
3. A.J. Green, Bengals
4. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
5. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
6. Andre Johnson, Texans
7. Roddy White, Falcons
8. Julio Jones, Falcons
9. Randall Cobb, Packers
10. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
11. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
12. Marques Colston, Saints
13. Reggie Wayne, Colts
14. Eric Decker, Broncos
15. Victor Cruz, Giants
16. Danny Amendola, Patriots
17. Wes Welker, Broncos
18. Hakeem Nicks, Giants
19. Antonio Brown, Steelers
20. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
21. Steve Smith, Panthers
22. Greg Jennings, Vikings
23. Mike Wallace, Dolphins
24. Steve Johnson, Bills
25. James Jones, Packers
26. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
27. Denarius Moore, Raiders
28. Torrey Smith, Ravens
29. Jordy Nelson, Packers
30. Miles Austin, Cowboys
31. Mike Williams, Buccaneers
32. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
33. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
34. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
35. Kenny Britt, Titans
36. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
37. Anquan Boldin, 49ers
38. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
39. Josh Gordon, Browns
40. Sidney Rice, Seahawks
41. Chris Givens, Rams
42. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
43. Lance Moore, Saints
44. Tavon Austin, Rams
45. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals
46. Brian Hartline, Dolphins
47. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts
48. Donnie Avery, Chiefs
49. Nate Washington, Titans
50. Nate Burleson, Lions
51. Golden Tate, Seahawks
52. Kendall Wright, Titans
53. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
54. Vincent Brown, Chargers
55. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
56. Brandon LaFell, Panthers
57. Ryan Broyles, Lions
58. Jeremy Kerley, Jets
59. Greg Little, Browns
60. Stephen Hill, Jets
61. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
62. Andre Roberts, Cardinals
63. Aaron Dobson, Patriots
64. Kenny Stills, Saints
65. Earl Bennett, Bears
66. Riley Cooper, Eagles
67. Rod Streater, Raiders
68. Keenan Allen, Chargers
69. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
70. Davone Bess, Browns
71. Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots
72. Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
73. Rueben Randle, Giants
74. T.J. Graham, Bills
75. Markus Wheaton, Steelers
Practice Makes Perfect
Here are six of the best sites for round-the-clock mock drafting — covering standard-scoring and keeper leagues.
Here’s one way of quantifying consistency with Points Per Reception leagues. The following 37 wideouts notched at least six games of eight-plus targets last season.
(Injured stars Jeremy Maclin and Michael Crabtree have been excluded from this list.)
16 — Calvin Johnson
15 — Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker
14 — A.J. Green
13 — Brandon Marshall
12 — Demaryius Thomas, Steve Johnson
11 — Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Victor Cruz
10 — Vincent Jackson, Eric Decker, Larry Fitzgerald, Donnie Avery, Denarius Moore
9 — Dez Bryant, Steve Smith, Justin Blackmon, Miles Austin, Antonio Brown, DeSean Jackson
8 — Julio Jones, Marques Colston, Brian Hartline, Mike Williams, Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Danny Amendola, Kendall Wright, Brandon Lloyd
7 — Andre Roberts, Torrey Smith, Davone Bess, Randall Cobb
6 — Anquan Boldin, Cecil Shorts, Percy Harvin
Here’s another way of arbitrarily quantifying PPR assets:
These 37 wideouts crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown at least six times last year:
13 games — Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Steve Johnson
12 — Calvin Johnson, Eric Decker, Randall Cobb, Reggie Wayne
11 — Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson, James Jones, Victor Cruz, Miles Austin
10 — Vincent Jackson, Cecil Shorts, Mike Williams, Lance Moore
9 — Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Steve Smith
8 — Mike Wallace, T.Y. Hilton, Antonio Brown, Golden Tate, Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright
7 — Torrey Smith, Malcom Floyd, Anquan Boldin, Denarius Moore, Brandon Lloyd
6 — Jordy Nelson, Pierre Garcon, Sidney Rice, Andre Roberts
Real-Life Tiers Of A Clown
On Monday, I participated in my first LIVE draft of the fantasy season, a 12-team, 20-round, PPR-driven exercise comprised of noted fantasy experts from other media sites.
Here are the actual tiers of selection — involving wide receivers — from the gurus’ draft.
Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall
Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Randall Cobb, Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, Andre Johnson
Marques Colston, Victor Cruz, Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Bowe, Torrey Smith, Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks
Jordy Nelson, Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, James Jones, Antonio Brown, Steve Johnson, Kenny Britt, T.Y. Hilton, Greg Jennings, Lance Moore
Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Mike Williams, Miles Austin, Cecil Shorts, Josh Gordon, Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate, Vincent Brown, Justin Blackmon
Alshon Jeffery, Emmanuel Sanders, Ryan Broyles, Michael Floyd, Denarius Moore, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenbrell Thompkins, Kendall Wright, Sidney Rice, Rueben Randle, Greg Little, Brian Hartline, Jeremy Kerley
Malcom Floyd, Aaron Dobson, Stephen Hill, Brandon LaFell, Jacoby Jones, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Dexter McCluster, Mohamed Sanu, Robert Woods, Markus Wheaton, Santana Moss, Keenan Allen, Donnie Avery, Jon Baldwin, Rod Streater, Andre Roberts, Damaris Johnson, Riley Cooper, Nate Burleson, Braylon Edwards, Percy Harvin, Michael Crabtree, Brian Quick
Jay Clemons can be reached, day or night, via Twitter at @FOX_JayClemons.