Fantasy Football Basics, Part 3 – The PPR Variation

In “Fantasy Football Basics, Part 2 – Scoring,” you learned how your fantasy football team accumulates points. In this article, you will learn about an important scoring variation which a large number of fantasy leagues incorporate. It is called PPR or Points per Reception.

Commonly, you will hear the term PPR league, and in “Fantasy Football Basics, Part 1 – Leagues and Teams,” you will recall I stated there are two types of leagues: Head-to head and Point-only. Does that mean there is a third type of league? No. The term PPR refers to a scoring variation. This variation can be incorporated in both head-to-head leagues and points-only leagues.

So what is PPR? Very simply, it is a scoring category that awards fantasy points for each pass a player catches during a game. Typically, a player is awarded one fantasy point per reception. It is very important to know if your league incorporates PPR because it will affect how you rank players you may want on your team. There is less scoring volatility with receivers (wide receivers and tight ends) than there is with running backs. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Receivers and PPR

Assume “Receiver A” catches four passes for 75 yards and “Receiver B” catches one pass also for 75 yards. Which receiver would you rather have on your fantasy football team? In a PPR league, the answer is obvious. You would want “Receiver A.” If your league awards one point per reception, then “Receiver A” would get an additional four fantasy points and “Receiver B” would only receive one additional fantasy point.

Of course, there are other aspects to consider – namely touchdowns. Most leagues award six fantasy points for a touchdown scored. Therefore, if “Receiver B’s” one catch resulted in a touchdown and none of “Receiver A’s four catches resulted in a touchdown, then “Receiver B” becomes the more valuable player as he would be awarded six additional fantasy points for the touchdown plus the one fantasy point already mentioned for the reception for a total of seven fantasy points. This explains why a player like Wes Welker, who averaged over 112 receptions per season during his six years with the New England Patriots (2007 – 2012), was a much more valuable wide receiver in PPR leagues than in standard leagues. The table below shows how the PPR variation in our example of “Receiver A” and “Receiver B” affects fantasy scoring:

ReceiverReceiving YardsStandard Fantasy PointsReceptionsPPR Fantasy PointsTD'sPPR Fantasy Points
"A"757.50411.50011.50
"B"757.5018.50114.50

Running Backs and PPR

Our second example deals with running backs. There is no position in fantasy football where PPR has a greater impact than on running backs. The logic is very simple. Some running backs are an integral part of their NFL team’s passing game and some running backs are nearly excluded. Running backs that lead their team in rushing and have a significant impact in the passing game are extremely valuable in PPR leagues. Let’s take a look at a real-life example from 2015:

Running BackRushing YardsReceiving YardsTDsStandard Fantasy PointsReceptionsPPR Fantasy Points
Danny Woodhead3367559163.1080243.10
Jeremy Hill7947912155.3015170.30

As the table above indicates, Danny Woodhead of the San Diego Chargers and Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals, are fairly comparable running backs in a standard-scoring league for the 2015 season. Woodhead earned 163.10 fantasy points while Hill accumulated 155.30. However, the additional 80 fantasy points Woodhead earned for each pass reception, compared to only 15 for Hill, is significant and makes him, with a season total of 243.10 fantasy points, a much more valuable player in the PPR format.

You are really starting to get a handle on the basics now. The next thing you need to know is how to get players on your team. This is perhaps the most anticipated and exciting day of the season – DRAFT DAY! Check out my next article in the Fantasy Football 101 series – “Fantasy Football Basics, Part 4 – Drafting Your Team“.

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Fantasy Football Basics, Part 3 - The PPR Variation

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