Perhaps you’re new to this whole fantasy football thing. Perhaps you’ve been playing for years but haven’t played in many different types of leagues. Perhaps you know the ins and outs of every type of fantasy league out there (if that’s the case, you probably don’t need to read this, go play some MFL10’s or something).
If you’ve been curious about expanding your fantasy horizons and trying out some new leagues, though, you’ve come to the right place. In this several-part series of articles entitled “Same Game, Different Rules” I’m going to go over a couple of different types of fantasy leagues that you may or may not have been exposed to before.
We’ll start today with PPR leagues, PPC leagues and 2-Quarterback leagues.
Okay, so I know we’re not going too far outside the box with PPR leagues, but we’re starting with the basics and we’ll work our way out there eventually. PPR stands for point per reception and is the type of league you’re most likely to have seen and played in before.
It plays exactly like a standard league except running backs, tight ends and wide receivers receive one point for each reception made. There are also variations in which pass-catchers receive fractions of points for each reception, most commonly half a point.
The fantasy football industry, as a whole, is shifting towards PPR being the norm, mostly because it allows more pass-catchers to be fantasy-relevant. Personally, I love PPR scoring and wish every league I played in used it.
So now that we know what it is, let’s get to some actionable advice. I preach using targets as a predictor of production in standard leagues, but it becomes even more important in PPR. As we know, targets lead to receptions and each reception is now the same value as 10 receiving yards. That’s huge.
This means you should be upgrading guys like Julian Edelman and Antonio Brown (he might be your WR1 anyway) who get a significant amount of short targets. It also means you should be downgrading deep threats like DeSean Jackson who catch fewer passes with a greater yards per catch.
The same goes for running backs. Pass-catching backs such as LeVeon Bell and Justin Forsett rise in value, while backs who are less involved in the pass game like Alfred Morris and Marshawn Lynch lose value.
Coaching can make a big difference in how many receptions running backs see as well. Matt Forte, in his first five seasons in the NFL, averaged 4.7 targets per game. In two years under Marc Trestman, he averaged 7 targets per game (Trestman is now with the Ravens *coughForsetttcough*). That’s a huge difference, and it’s not something you can afford to ignore in PPR leagues.
PPC stands for Point Per Completion, meaning that a quarterback gains points for completing passes, rather than just gaining yards. Most often, a QB will gain fractions of points for each completion rather than whole points. This means that quarterbacks, who are generally the highest-scoring fantasy position as it is, will score even more. I very much dislike these kinds of leagues so I’m not going to spend much time on them, but some people seem to enjoy them.
The main takeaway for these is to target QBs in either high-volume passing offenses or with very high completion percentages. In 2014, the Atlanta Falcons were third in the NFL in pass attempts per game and seventh in the NFL in completion percentage.
This would make Matt Ryan a great QB to target in PPC leagues. Conversely, the Seahawks were 31st in pass attempts per game and 17th in completion percentage, so Russell Wilson should be downgraded in this type of fantasy league.
As the name suggests, you start two quarterbacks, as opposed to the normal ONE quarterback, in 2QB leagues. Out of the three league-types covered in this article, 2QB probably requires the most strategy adjustment.
In standard leagues, it’s normally optimal to wait on quarterbacks in your draft, since there are 32 usable QBs each non-bye week and only 12 get started each week. In 2QB leagues,though, a 12-team league will see 24 QBs started per week. This makes them a much more scarce and therefore valuable commodity, and QB streaming will be much more difficult to pull off.
This is an oversimplification, but I think it still helps to illustrate the issue: The difference in points between QB1(Aaron Rodgers) and QB12(Philip Rivers) in 2014 was 88.4 points, according to fantasypros.com. The difference between QB1 and QB24(Blake Bortles) was 186 points.
So by waiting on QBs in a 2QB league, you’re doubling your points lost from drafting the number one QB. That’s a huge change in the opportunity cost of QBs. You’re not changing your opportunity cost of drafting a running back, wide receiver or tight end, but you’re drastically changing the opportunity cost of drafting a quarterback.
2QB leagues require that at least 24 QBs are rostered each week. When you account for the facts that people like backups and bye weeks are a thing we have to deal with, there are often more than the minimum 24 rostered. This means that your pool of QBs to stream is significantly smaller. In standard leagues, you can often find an Alex Smith or a Ryan Tannehill to stream on a good matchup, but that is certainly not the case in a 2QB league. I LOVE quarterback streaming, but even I would hesitate to recommend it in a 2QB format.
Same Game, Different Rules: Part 1
Well folks, that does it for the first installment of “Same Game, Different Rules.” Hopefully you learned a little about league formats that you didn’t previously understand, and hopefully you’re more willing to try out some new leagues in 2015.
I’ll be back next week with another installment in which we’ll go through the basics of keeper leagues.
If you have any questions or comments, let me know on twitter @nwalshington. Cheers!