Fantasy football tends to favor players who catch a lot of passes, though in standard leagues, where one is awarded zero points per reception (PPR), the value of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends is tied to only their yardage and touchdowns.The biggest playmakers in standard setups are still strong in PPR, but it’s important to note their slide in receptions is reflected in PPR rankings, moving some studs out of the first round and some potential standard-league sleepers into the “bust” category.
Here’s a look at the top players who pack notably less pop in PPR based on their expected volume and production projections for 2020, plus a few potential PPR busts to avoid in later rounds:
Fantasy Football Rankings: Players who lose value in PPR leagues
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
Before Kareem Hunt was activated for the second half of the season, Chubb was busy as an outlet receiver. But in his final eight games of 2019, Chubb saw just 17 targets and caught just 11 passes. Cleveland will continue to use its backs often in the passing game with offensive-minded coach Kevin Stefanski, but Hunt still will get most of the work there. Chubb will be a lot more dependent on his big rushing yardage and TDs in 2020.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
Golladay had 116 targets last season, one where he had Matthew Stafford for only half of it. He caught 65 of them for a career-high 18.3 yards per reception and a league-high 11 receiving TDs. Golladay continues to profile as a low catch-rate deep threat who produces through his shot plays and size in the red zone.
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens
Andrews is a big-play wide receiver trapped in a tight end’s body. He needed only 65 catches to put up 852 yards and 10 TDs for Lamar Jackson. As a rookie the year before, Andrews averaged 16.2 yards per catch. This low-volume Baltimore passing game remains most concerned about field-stretching and drive-finishing.
A.J. Brown, WR, Titans
The speedy Brown found a way to explode in Tennessee’s run-heavy offense as a rookie, needing to catch just 52 of 84 targets to post 1,051 yards (20.3 yards per catch) and nine total TDs (one rushing). The offensive philosophy and the quarterback remain the same, so Brown likely won’t see a big volume spike.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
Carson did help the Seahawks as a receiver well with 37 catches on 47 targets last season. That was a bit out of necessity with limitations in the rest of the backfield, at tight end and at wide receiver because of health and depth. That’s probably close to Carson’s ceiling as a pass-catcher as he will continue to try to stay healthy as a consistently productive power runner.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
With 1,152 yards rushing and three total TDs last season, Fournette actually shot up in PPR because of his 76 catches for 522 yards on 100 targets, all smashing career highs. But that was out of necessity and had little practical effectiveness with T.J. Yeldon gone. Enter Chris Thompson in Jay Gruden’s offense to give Jacksonville a much more dynamic backfield receiving option thanFournette. Ryquell Armstead is also underrated as a pass-catcher going into Year 2.
Michael Galllup, WR, Cowboys
A Gallup poll of experts would say he remains the home-run hitter in Dallas’ suddenly prolific passing game, now playing off CeeDee Lamb as well as Amari Cooper. Gallup will see about eight targets per game again after turning just 66 catches into 1,107 yards and six TDs last season.
Jordan Howard, RB, Dolphins
Some would say Howard is like Roberto Duran — hands of stone — for the passing game. He’s constantly worked to improve that weak facet of his game while in Chicago and Philadelphia, but since his breakout rookie year, that hasn’t been his strength. Howard is a strong power runner dependent on early-down volume and scoring, which won’t change as he shares the backfield with more spread-friendly option Matt Breida.
John Brown, WR, Bills
The good news for Brown is Stefon Diggs’ arrival will allow him to see more favorable cornerback coverage downfield in 2020. The bad news for Brown is he is unlikely to see 115 targets again opposite Diggs on a team that has only 35 vacated targets, fewest in the NFL. “Smoke” is still more about fire, as he needed just 72 catches to put up 1,060 yards and six TDs for big-armed Josh Allen.
Mike Williams, WR, Chargers
While Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry operate as the high-volume guys for the Chargers, Williams will remain their best deep threat for big-armed Tyrod Taylor. Williams caught just 49 passes on 90 targets last season, but led the league with 20.4 yards per catch and got to 1,001 yards. The year before, with just 43 catches, he posted a combined 11 TDs. Regardless of the yardage and scoring meeting somewhere in the middle, Williams is way more appealing in standard than in PPR.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Mack’s early-down value is threatened by the presence of second-rookie Jonathan Taylor. Between Taylor’s solid receiving skills and Nyheim Hines’ dedicated passing-game role, Mack simply will be fully dependent on his power rushing and TDs and will be hard pressed to even match his 14 catches for 82 yards from last season.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Buccaneers
Gronkowski reunites with Tom Brady, but there are many mouths to feed here, led by Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. He also needs to share the tight end receiving duties with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Gronk can’t be expected to see high catch volume that comes with his field-stretching and TD opportunities.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
MIchael is dealing with a foot injury that has him physically unable to perform and looking like he might need to miss part of the season. That’s already not good for standard. In PPR, he’s totally avoidable after catching only 19 passes for 144 yards in his first two seasons. James White remains the primary backfield pass-catcher, and Michel may be more limited in his early-down work.
Fantasy Football PPR Busts: Late-round RBs
Adrian Peterson, Washington; Alexander Mattison, Vikings; Zack Moss, Bills; Damien Harris, Patriots; A.J. Dillon, Packers; Joshua Kelley, Chargers.
Fantasy Football PPR Busts: Late-round WRs
Breshad Perriman, Jets; Mecole Hardman, Chiefs; Tyrell Williams, Raiders; Justin Jefferson, Vikings
Fantasy Football PPR Busts: Latet-round TEs
Greg Olsen, Seahawks; O.J. Howard, Buccaneers