I limit myself to three fantasy football leagues each season. Any more than that, and it feels like I'm cheering for and against every single player in the league. Of the three I allocate myself, two are mainstays. The first one my friends and I started back in 1998 and is still going strong. I joined the other a few years later, and that one, too, has had plenty of continuity. In addition to bragging rights with old friends, and a pretty sizable entry fee creating a very sizable pot, I like the two leagues because they're different. One is 10 teams, the other is 12. One has divisions, the other doesn't. While it's fun to be in leagues with different parameters, those two features don't change the way I value players too much. A third difference between the leagues, however, does, and that's the fact that one league is PPR, and the other is not.
Just because a league awards points per receptions doesn't mean it will alter a player's value. After all, Arian Foster should be a consensus No. 1 in either format, and Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy also retain their relative value. On the flip side, there are players that are far more valuable when they start earning points each time they catch the ball. Most rankings available to fantasy football owners are based on non-PPR leagues, which could do owners in PPR leagues a disservice. Luckily, we have plenty of time to properly value these PPR superstars.
Let's take a look at the players who deserve a significant bump up cheat sheets in PPR leagues.
Sean Payton is a mad offensive genius who had a lot to do with Sproles' career year in 2011, but the talent has always been there, and last we checked he still has Drew Brees throwing him passes. Moreover, the Saints' ground game doesn't figure to improve much, and deploying Sproles as a receiver is essentially their version of running the football. Even though he had 86 catches last year, seven receiving touchdowns seems like a fluke. After all, Ray Rice has caught 78, 63, and 76 passes the last three years, and he has a total of five receiving touchdowns in that span. However, it's likely a repeatable feat for Sproles given his home-run ability and the play design that gets him the ball in space. He's just barely inside my top-20 in a non-PPR league, but I've got him all the way up at 10 in PPR leagues.
Tom Brady has always had a reputation as a guy who's going to spread the ball around. Rob Gronkowski is his big-play target, and he'll have a new weapon out wide in Brandon Lloyd, but there's no denying that Welker is his guy, especially on third down. If you're playing in a non-PPR league, I'd recommend making Welker the ninth receiver off the board. In PPR leagues, I have him fourth, behind just Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall.