For six weeks in a row Kareem Hunt has led the league in PPGAR so it’s no surprise to see him at the top of the leaderboard at this point, though his lead has dwindled. Also unsurprising: the top five players are running backs which, if you’ve followed us the past several weeks, you’ll know is nothing new. It’s not all RBs, though. As the season has progressed, some intriguing story lines have emerged: can Deshaun Watson continue his elite play? Can Zach Ertz continue to outpace his tight end counterparts? Can Chris Thompson really be this good? (I totally predicted he would be, by the way.) Time will tell how long these players can continue their dominance but for now, to paraphrase the Big Tuna himself, you are what your PPGAR says you are.
Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley are back at it again in this week’s PPGAR rankings, though their leads have narrowed significantly as the season has gone on. After scoring 45.6, 25.9 and 25.3 points in each of the first three weeks of the season, Hunt has actually “slowed down” amassing only 16.1 and 14.6 points in the last two weeks (which is still pretty damn good).
In other PPGAR news, Leonard Fournette has been a delightful surprise this year on a fairly stagnant offense. It’s possible his numbers will pull back to the pack a bit as teams hone in on the run against Jacksonville and dare Blake Bortles to throw on them. Out wide, DeAndre Hopkins might be back, you guys. Remember what a beast he was in 2014 and 2015? Well, this year he’s been a target machine on a surprisingly efficient offense in Houston even if he’s another slow-down candidate as defenses learn Deshaun Watson’s tendencies.1
Another week, another Kareem Hunt explosion of fantasy output. Will he slow down?
As promised last week, we’d start to see some of the guys we are accustomed to seeing in the top tier of PPGAR. Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Devonta Freeman, etc. are all working their way up the charts.
Despite this, with next week being the quarter mark of the season, Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Chris Thompson, Ty Montgomery, and Stefon Diggs make up the top five players in terms of PPGAR through the first three weeks. Like a Donald Trump tweet, this season in Fantasy Football has been so unpredictable.1
One of the reasons RBs are ruling the roost so far this season is that RB output is down about a point per game compared to years passed. In the past five years, replacement tier PPG has been around nine for RBs. This year, replacement tier PPG for RBs has been about eight. Basically, the highest performing RBs are playing really well and the gap has widened between the highest tier and replacement tier output, compared to other positions.
Long gone are the days of Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown atop the PPGAR rankings.
The top 10 players in terms of PPGAR so far this year are absolutely dumbfounding. I know it’s early, but c’mon, Sam Bradford, Alex Smith, Todd Gurley, Tarik Cohen, Jason Witten, and future first ballot Hall of Famer Kareem Hunt!?!
In all actuality, this trend is not new. Have a look at some of the best fantasy performers in week two of last year.
Just remember, the guys you drafted in the first few rounds or for the most money in your auction draft often have a couple of bad weeks per year. It’s rare that EVERY week you’ll get their “average” points per game. They call this crazy phenomenon “reversion to the mean.”
Let’s hope some of the guys you expected to shine all year will do some of that mean reversion black magic. Without further adieu, here’s the PPGAR rankings through week two.
I guarantee Alex Smith, Tarik Cohen, and Sam Bradford were not the sleeper picks you had in mind this year.
Week one of the 2017 fantasy football season was….odd. Only one of the top ten players in terms of total points from 2016 are in the top ten of PPGAR in week one.1
Here are your week one PPGAR leaders.
If you score more points than your opponent, you win. That’s how fantasy football works.1 The simplicity of that binary outcome hasn’t exactly made assembling your fantasy team a simple process – for the love of God, look at all these draft strategy guides – but it has obscured what you’re really trying to do when you build your team. Yes, you want to score a lot of points but not all points are created equally. Because of positional roster restrictions,2 it doesn’t make sense to draft the top point producer available with each of your picks. If you did, you’d end up with a roster filled with 12 quarterbacks and therein lies the problem. Points matter, obviously, but where they come from matters almost as much. The truth about fantasy football is that you’re looking not just for points, but the points that offer the greatest value.
Most draft strategies try to address this complication by creating rules about when to draft which position – someone somewhere is pounding their table and screaming “Two running backs with your first two picks!” right this very moment – but those solutions are imprecise at best and, at worst, broad to the point of being counterproductive. What would actually be helpful is a way to compare the point production of players across various positions on an apples to apples basis. “But there is no such method,” you say. “The positions were separated at the Beginning and never shall they meet!” First off, calm down. And secondly, The Read Option is here to help: introducing PPGAR,3 your new favorite fantasy stat.