Experienced fantasy football owners know there can be subtle or drastic changes in players’ rankings from standard to PPR leagues. The obvious gainers are stud RBs who command a large number of targets in their respective offenses, but high-target WRs and TEs also can noticeably rise. This causes some “good” standard contributors to become top-tier PPR studs and some players in middle to lower-third of the standard rankings to become legitimate sleepers in PPR.
Understanding your league’s scoring settings is essential in how to value players at certain points in your fantasy drafts, especially if you are switching from standard to PPR this year or if you play in both formats. Even if all of your leagues are PPR, the default rankings or draft applet on your host site might be optimized for standard leagues.
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Below, we’ll highlight the RBs, WRs, and TEs who gain the most value in PPR leagues, from the studs to the sleepers.
Fantasy Football Rankings: Players who gain value in PPR leagues
RB Alvin Kamara, Saints
Kamara is a stud no matter the format, but he’s particularly valuable in PPR. His standard success (RB2) was also incredible last year due to his league-leading 21 total touchdowns, a mark you can’t expect him to match. What you can expect to continue is his heavy receiving volume, especially with Michael Thomas out indefinitely after ankle surgery. During his four-year career, Kamara has seen a minimum of 97 targets each season. Even if the Saints offense isn’t efficient, he’ll rack up high point totals week to week with a flurry of targets headed his way. He goes from a potential top-five pick in standard to a potential No. 1 overall pick in PPR.
RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers
In Ekeler’s last healthy season (2019), he was the RB4 in PPR compared to RB7 in standard. While producing a mere 557 rushing yards, he grabbed 92 receptions for 993 yards, all while splitting time with Melvin Gordon. If he can stay healthy and log 15-plus touches per game, he has the receiving skills to once again be a top-10 PPR back this season.
More top-20 RBs who gain value in PPR: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs; Najee Harris, Steelers; D’Andre Swift, Lions; Myles Gaskin, Dolphins
WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
Lockett jumped from WR11 in standard to WR8 in PPR last season. The cause: DK Metcalf has taken over as the deep-threat in the offense, while Lockett remains a highly targeted player in the shallow and middle parts of the field. He ranked fifth in the NFL with 100 receptions a season ago and has undeniable chemistry with Russell Wilson.
WR Keenan Allen, Chargers
Allen’s name has become synonymous with PPR leagues. Last season, he had his lowest yardage total since 2016 with 992. Still, he ranked 14th among receivers in PPR leagues thanks to his 100 receptions. He’s nearly guaranteed to grab 100 balls each season, so even though his yards/reception totals leave a lot to be desired, the sheer number of targets and catches make him particularly valuable in PPR.
More top-20 WRs who gain value in PPR: Allen Robinson, Bears; CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys; D.J. Moore, Panthers
TE Logan Thomas, Washington
Thomas was the No. 7 standard TE and No. 3 PPR TE last year thanks to 72 catches, which trailed just Travis Kelce and Darren Waller at the position. Thomas scored a respectable six TDs, but he averaged just 9.3 yards/reception. The addition of Curtis Samuel might take away some of Thomas’s targets, but Thomas is still one of the few notable TEs who is really jumps based on the format.
More top-10 TEs who gain (slight) value in PPR: T.J. Hockenson, Lions; Dallas Goedert, Eagles
High Upside PPR Players
This section references players who aren’t necessarily fantasy stars but move up in PPR, be it from RB4 to RB3 or WR3 to WR2.
RB J.D. McKissic, Washington
Can you name the running backs who had more receptions than A.J. Brown, Mike Evans, and T.J. Hockenson in 2020? Alvin Kamara — well yes. But who else? You probably figured it out by now — McKissic. He ranked second among running backs in receptions (80), only behind Kamara (83). That’s 80 fantasy points in full-point PPR leagues before any yards or touchdowns. While he’ll likely have a reduced role with Antonio Gibson and Curtis Samuel taking over more receiving work in the Washington offense, McKissic should himself at least flex-worthy in PPR formats.
RB Kareem Hunt, Browns
While Kareem Hunt’s RB10 finish was higher than we can expect with a fully healthy Nick Chubb in the backfield, Hunt will still see more receiving work out of the two. Since Chubb was inactive for a quarter of the 2020 season, we’ll look to 2019 stats. In just eight games compared to Chubb’s 16 in ’19, Hunt recorded 44 targets, just five short of Chubb. A better way to look at it is targets per game. Hunt received 5.5 targets/game while Chubb saw 3.1. Put simply, Hunt is the superior receiving running back and will garner targets. Even if his rushing role is diminished, his receiving acumen keeps him a solid fantasy asset in PPR.
RB Tarik Cohen, Bears
In Cohen’s last injury-free season (2019), he ranked as the RB27 in PPR and the RB44 in standard. Obviously, there’s a significant difference between a high-end RB finish and a nearly unplayable standard back. That’s the case with Cohen. He’s worth a mid-round pick in PPR and is nothing more than a late-round handcuff in standard. Unfortunately, Cohen (5-6, 191 pounds) is still dealing with setbacks from his ACL injury last year, so it’s with monitoring his situation. His health might keep him on the waiver wire, so be ready to strike if things are trending in the right direction for him.
RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars
At some point in the near future, be it this year or next year, Etienne will likely take over as the workhorse back in the Jaguars offense. However, he’s probably going to start off in a one-two punch with James Robinson, with Robinson functioning at the primary runner (at least in short-yardage situations) and Etienne as the primary receiving back. Urban Meyer said as such right after the draft. Etienne netted 102 career catches in college, and his receiving skills will carry over to the professional level.
RB Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
Edmonds has an explosive profile that suggests he can be a weapon in the Cardinals’ passing attack. With Kenyan Drake departing for Las Vegas, Edmonds is expected to take on the majority receiving workload out of the backfield. Last season, he ranked 25th in PPR and 30th in standard. As he steps into more of a starting role, he’s a potential RB2 in PPR formats.
More RBs who move up in PPR formats: Nyheim Hines, Colts; James White, Patriots; Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers; Devin Singletary, Bills; Darrynton Evans, Titans
WR Robby Anderson, Panthers
Anderson was among one of the more drastic movers from standard (WR27) to PPR (WR19). Like Lockett, he’s employed in shallow parts of the field, yielding easy receptions. He netted 95 targets while D.J. Moore was used as the intermediate threat in the Carolina passing game. That should continue with his former teammate Sam Darnold at the helm.
WR Jarvis Landry, Browns
Landry has been among the most targeted players in the NFL since he was drafted in 2014. Since then, he’s caught 636 passes (third most), yet he had just the seventh-most receiving yards during that span. His entire career arc demonstrates why he’s more of a value in PPR. He’s a highly targeted player in the shallow to intermediate parts of the field, making him less attractive in standard.
WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, Steelers
In 2020, Ben Roethlisberger ranked 32nd among quarterbacks in yards per attempt. However, he was third in the NFL in overall attempts. When he does go deep, Chase Claypool is usually the primary target. Underneath, Smith-Schuster and Johnson take advantage of the high-volume, low-depth passing attack. Smith-Schuster was WR18 in PPR leagues despite totaling less than 900 receiving yards. His 97 catches on 128 targets spelled easy fantasy points on dink-and-dunk targets. Johnson saw more deep targets than JuJu, but his 10.5 yards/reception was still below par among WRs (88th among WRS). Roethlisberger is well past his gunslinger prime, so these guys have somewhat safe PPR floors with their low depth of targets.
WR Curtis Samuel, Washington
Samuel is likely going to be employed in the shallow part of the field, even grabbing targets out of the backfield in some cases. Citing his Panthers stats probably isn’t the most prudent way to assess his outlook in Washington, but he can be used in a variety of ways. However, we have to assume he won’t be used as some kind of outside deep-threat receiver.
More WRs who move up in PPR formats: Jakobi Meyers, Patriots; Antonio Brown, Buccaneers; Tyler Boyd, Bengals; Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars; Jamison Crowder, Jets; Cole Beasley, Bills; Russell Gage, Falcons; Marquez Callaway, Saints
TE Blake Jarwin, Cowboys
It’s tough to say Jarwin is a “sure riser” since there are still playing time concerns as he makes his way back from a torn ACL, but if he’s the Cowboys’ primary TE, he should be in line for a lot of targets. Last year, Dalton Schultz ranked tied for fifth in TE catches (63) and ninth in targets (89) while filling in for Jarwin.
More TEs who move up in PPR formats: Chris Herndon, Jets; C.J. Uzomah, Bengals