Any environment in which Welker and Anthony Gonzalez are worth more than Brady and Peyton Manning to a team should be immediately discredited. Why should a guy who makes five catches for 60 total yards get more fantasy points than a RB who runs for 100 yards? It makes no sense. It would be like me telling my manager that I wanted to make $50 every time I came into work in addition to my current salary, and then telling him that I wanted to work four two-hour shifts instead of an eight-hour work day. I’m pretty confident that would be a very short conversation.
If we think about this further, fantasy football is a game that is meant to award points based off of a player’s performance that helps their team. A passing play that results in negative yards should never be rewarded, but in PPR leagues it is possible. How many times have you heard an announcer say, “It would have been better for the receiver to have dropped that pass” after a receiver is tackled behind the line of scrimmage? Awarding points for a catch which results in negative yards is like giving a RB points for a carry after they get stuffed at the line or a QB points for getting sacked. When you think about it, this would make two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger a fantasy stud, so maybe I’m on to something … nahhhh.
The one legitimate explanation that I have heard is that possession receivers like Welker and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are integral to keeping drives alive. I do agree that a receiver who makes six catches for 70 yards is probably more valuable to a team’s success than a receiver that gets open for one 70-yard play. However a player should only be awarded bonus points for plays that help his team beyond the yardage accrued. If you are big on giving a receiver more points based on their involvement with the game, I suggest giving points for first downs instead of receptions. This makes more sense, as it supports the idea of awarding points based off of a play that creates value beyond the simple yardage gained. It also means that a RB who converts a tough 3rd-and-short could be rewarded the same way a WR does when he catches a pass over the middle on a 3rd-and-long play.
Overall, I still think PPR leagues are a terrible idea. Yes they bridge the gap between WR and RB values, but in the process they create a larger gap between QBs and the other skill positions. In most leagues you start one QB, two RBs, either three WRs or two WRs and a flex position, a TE, a kicker and a defense. This lineup was created to look and feel like a traditional NFL team. Since most leagues start only one QB, they should provide more value than positions that have multiple starters. I’m not suggesting we should give bonus points to TEs for blocks just because we start one TE, but we shouldn’t provide bonus points to other positions that ultimately deflate the value of the most important position on the field. Little kids want to be a QB when they grow up. Girls dream about dating the high school QB, not the third-string WR. Hank Baskett, who married “Girl Next Door” Kendra, is the one, albeit very lucky, exception to the rule. However, in general, the QB position should outproduce the other positions on and off the field. To keep “fantasy” football as close to “reality” as possible, I encourage us all to say no to PPR leagues and stick with the standard scoring formats.