Overrated players, potential fantasy busts who move down PPR rankings in 2021

In the era of excellent receiving RBs and more targets for WRs and TEs than ever, there are still guys who aren’t exactly flashy in the passing game. Between top studs and late-round sleepers, numerous players move down the 2021 rankings in PPR leagues compared to standard fantasy football formats. These players mostly consist of RBs who aren’t highly involved in the passing game and wide receivers who make their living on deep-play shots and touchdowns without a large number of targets and receptions.

That said, some of the guys on the list below will still be highly valuable across both formats, while some take major hits in PPR leagues. This should go without saying, but it’s vital to closely pay attention to your league’s scoring settings and adjust your cheat sheets based on whether you’re in a standard, half-point PPR, or full-point PPR league. This is especially true if you are making the switch from standard to PPR for the first time this year or if you regularly play in both formats.

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet

Even if you only in PPR leagues, the draft applet or default rankings on your host site might be optimized for standard leagues (or half-point PPR instead of full-point). These subtle differences can change the outlooks of some key players, which is why we’ve highlighted some of the biggest potential fallers in PPR leagues below.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

Fantasy Football Rankings: Players who lose value in PPR leagues

The obvious fallers

Among studs who lose value in PPR leagues, Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Tyreek Hill, and Mike Evans are the most notable. Henry and Chubb lose value due to their noted shortcomings in the receiving game. Just last year, Henry rushed for 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. One would think that would make him the top RB across all formats. However, he was the RB3 in PPR, with No. 1 being Alvin Kamara, who had nearly 1,000 fewer rushing yards. Chubb’s receiving work is often outsourced to Kareem Hunt. Hill has become a more reliable pass-catcher over the years, but he still accumulates a big chunk of his fantasy points on big plays. Evans isn’t a 100-catch/season guy. He hovers more around the 70-catch mark, with a high yards/rec (15.5 in career) and touchdowns.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

More players who move down in PPR leagues

The guys at the top have well-documented movement across formats — and even if they drop some, they’re still plenty valuable — so it’s important to focus on the guys near the middle and latter part of the rankings who are also negatively affected by their lackluster reception totals.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Each team

RB David Montgomery, Bears

Understandably, this may come as a surprise if you looked at last year’s fantasy stats when Montgomery finished higher in PPR (RB4) than in standard (RB6). However, Montgomery saw more targets (68) and receptions (54) last year due to the knee injury that cost Tarik Cohen 13 games. This season, Cohen (104 targets in ’19) steps back into the offense, and the addition of versatile veteran Damien Williams further complicates the backfield target share. While Montgomery will remain somewhat active in passing situations, it can be assumed Montgomery will take a backseat in a lot of the receiving game if Cohen is fully recovered from his knee injury.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Overall

RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders

Like Montgomery, Jacobs finished higher than usual in PPR last year. However, the arrival of Kenyan Drake from Arizona will muddy the waters for him. Drake profiles as a better receiver out of the backfield and is in-line to be used a lot in that role. It’s also worth noting that last year, both Jacobs and Drake finished in the top four in red-zone rushing attempts. We still like Jacobs to be used as the primary short-yardage back, so his standard value is higher, but Drake wasn’t brought in to simply be a backup. He’s going to see his fair share of targets and even possibly some goal-line work.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST

RBs JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Ravens

Even in Lamar Jackson’s MVP breakout season, he  targeted lead running back, Mark Ingram, just 29 times. Last year, Jackson targeted Dobbins 24 times and Gus Edwards 13 times. Outside of the Titans, the Raven allocate fewer targets to the running back position than any team in the NFL. Put simply, Jackson’s playstyle leads him to take off for easy yards on the ground rather than dump the ball down to a running back when nothing is open downfield. It’s hard to argue against the results, so there’s no reason to believe it will change. It’s not that Dobbins and Edwards don’t have receiving ability — the offense just isn’t set up for them to succeed in that area. In our standard RB rankings, Dobbins ranks 13th, but he drops to 18 in PPR. Gus Edwards is a viable play in standard (ranked RB32), but he’s not nearly as good of a flex option in PPR (RB43).

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end

RB James Conner, Cardinals

There’s a possible scenario out there where Chase Edmonds handles the significant majority of work in the rushing and passing game between the 20s, and Conner handles red-zone work. Would that surprise anyone? In Edmonds’ three-year career, he has just one carry inside the five-yard line. Over that three-year span, Conner has rushed inside the five-yard line 29 times. It’s not difficult to project who will get the easy goal-line touchdowns, and it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see Conner chart between around eight rushing scores. For this reason, we like him in standard, but his PPR upside is limited.

Snake Draft | Auction | Best Ball | Dynasty/Keeper | IDP

Damien Harris, New England

While Harris is emerging as the lead-back in New England, his PPR ceiling is very limited. For years, the Pats passing work has been outsourced to James White. In 2020, Harris played in 10 games, averaging 69.1 rushing yards/game. On a 16-game pace, his total would’ve sat at 1,105 yards. However, he was on the receiving end of just five passes. That pace would’ve netted a grand total of eight receptions. Even Derrick Henry presents more of a threat through the air. Obviously, his value drops significantly in PPR.

More notable RBs who drop in PPR leagues compared to standard: James Robinson, Jaguars; Raheem Mostert, 49ers; Ronald Jones II, Buccaneers; Zack Moss, Bills; Latavius Murray, Saints; AJ Dillon, Packers

WR Mike Williams, Chargers

Williams is a perfect representation of a guy on polar opposite ends of the PPR and standard spectrums. He is somewhat valuable in both formats, but standard is king for his skillset. In 2019, he had just 49 catches, yet he put up 1,001 receiving yards, good for an incredible 20.4 yards/reception. Unfortunately, his two total touchdowns kept him from being a top-24 fantasy receiver. The year prior, he charted 10 touchdown catches. If he can take his ridiculous deep target skills and combine them with his red-zone prowess in the same year, he could break out in a huge way, especially with Justin Herbert. However, he’s not likely to ever command enough targets to get closer to the 100-catch mark, putting a lid on his PPR ceiling.

WR Chase Claypool, Steelers

In this rookie season, Claypool finished as the WR14 in standard and WR23 in PPR. While the short to intermediate routes (routes that are completed more often) are reserved for JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson in the Pittsburgh offense, Claypool is Ben Roethlisberger’s deep threat. He saw a decent amount of targets last year (109), but he only netted 62 receptions. He averaged over 14 yards/reception and scored 11 total touchdowns (two rushing), key figures in standard leagues.

WRs Julio Jones and A.J Brown, Titans

As Jones leaves Atlanta en route to Nashville, he leaves behind one of the most pass-happy offensive attacks for one of the least pass-happy offensive attacks. It’s not that he won’t be valuable in all formats (he’s Julio freaking Jones), but it seems he will be more successful in standard. There simply isn’t going to be as much volume as Jones has seen in the past. In seasons in which Jones played 14-plus games, he saw a low of 129 targets and a high of 203 targets. Meanwhile, AJ Brown saw just 106 targets last season. Jones may be his team’s No. 2 WR for this first time in his career, and his reception totals are likely to hit a career low. He’s going to be ultra-efficient and a big-play threat (perfect for standard leagues), but he won’t see a consistent flurry of easy pitch-and-catch opportunities for cheap and easy points in PPR. Brown sees a slight dip in PPR for similar reasons.

More notable WRs who drop in PPR leagues compared to standard leagues: Kenny Golladay, Giants; Marquise Brown, Ravens; Brandin Cooks, Texans; Henry Ruggs III, Raiders; Michael Gallup, Cowboys; Marvin Jones, Jaguars; Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins; Will Fuller, Dolphins

TE Mark Andrews, Ravens

Andrews is considered an upper-tier TE, but he ranked just ninth in catches (58) and tied for 10th in targets (88) at the position last year. To be fair, he missed two games, but Andrews has long been TD and YAC reliant. He tends to produce in both categories, so he still has plenty of value, but he loses just enough juice in PPR to bring him closer to the pack among second- and third-tier TEs.

TE Robert Tonyan, Packers

Tonyan finished as the TE3 in standard and TE4 in PPR last year, so it might not seem like there’s much of a difference. However, he’s unlikely to score 11 TDs again — and he’s even more unlikely to catch 88.1 percent of his total targets. With just 52 catches and 59 targets last year, Tonyan could really crater, especially in PPR, without all the TDs. Compare those numbers to the No. 3 PPR TE (Logan Thomas) and the No. 5 PPR TE (T.J. Hockenson), who had 72 and 67 catches, respectively, and 110 and 101 targets, respectively.

More notable TEs who drop in PPR leagues compared to standard leagues: Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers; Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, Patriots

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