The PPR Fallacy

"Why would anyone want Michael Turner? He doesn't catch any passes."
This was said to me by David "MVP" Eckstein after Game of Inches held their annual fantasy football draft- this year being a PPR league. In some fairness to DME, he has never played fantasy football in his life and this was his first real draft. However, he is not the only one to share this underlying sentiment. I have gotten questions and emails along the same lines for the same reasons why DME asked his question. The real question is, how do you evaluate players in a PPR league who does not catch any passes?

Last year Michael Turner only caught 12 passes. Clearly, if Michael Tuner is coming out of the backfield, it is to run with the ball. If he steps in front if his line, it is to block, not catch. In a PPR (points per reception) his value is severely hurt.

But here is the fallacy that people get too caught up with: just because a player does not catch many passes does not mean he is a bad player. All that means is you have to adjust the value you assign to a player who does not catch passes accordingly. While it is true that you gain an extra point when a player catches the ball, you still get points for rushing/receiving yards and points for touchdowns. I feel like this concept gets lost when people think of PPR leagues.

Going back specifically to Michael Turner. While DME didn't realize this, I was the one who drafted Michael Turner. The reason for this was two fold: 1) Arian Forster, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, and Steven Jackson were all off the board and I needed a #1 running back and 2) I paid less for Turner in this league than I would have in a non-PPR league. I paid less for Michael Turner in a PPR league and paid for his appropriate market price.

The key to ranking and getting players who do not catch passes in a PPR league is to rank them accordingly. The best way to do this is by creating your own personal ranking in a non-PPR format and then move guys who catch passes up a few spots and use pass catchers as a tie-breaker.

I got both Matt Forte and Michael Turner in this league. Matt Forte is a pass catcher and has a boost in his value in a PPR league because of this. That being said, I paid $51 for Michael Turner and only $33 for Forte. I paid $18 more for a non-pass catcher than a good pass catcher, and I believe that is fair and appropriate. While Forte will catch way more passes than Turner, I think Turner will have far superior rushing yards and touchdowns than Forte.

The point I am trying to make here is that do not overreact when if you are in a PPR league or in any league that uses non-standard/normal scoring. Absolutely look at how your league scores and absolutely factor that into your personal rankings, but don't look at the non-standard scoring in a vacuum. Take ALL the ways a player can get you points, not just the one, non-standard way. So if you are in a PPR league, you absolutely need to factor pass catchers into your rankings, but don't overlook the ways players that said player can get you points.