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
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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