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Jahnke: Non-PPR Fantasy Football Rankings

Standard scoring remains prevalent throughout the fantasy football industry despite the emergence of PPR leagues. Every scoring system has its strengths and weaknesses: On the bright side, standard scoring is more straightforward because it uses fewer statistics and generally favors touchdown scoring. On the downside, it makes certain positions a lot more important than others.

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Running backs and quarterbacks end up moving up the rankings compared to PPR, while wide receivers and tight ends fall. Receivers who are deep threats end up more valuable in standard formats. Running backs who are primarily pass-catchers plummet in these rankings.

Utilizing tiers is the best way to ensure that you're finding value with each pick, especially throughout the early rounds of standard fantasy drafts. I'll break down how and why to target certain position groups in each tier, along with backup plans for those who choose to go another direction.


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The following are my top 250 players in standard drafts broken into tiers. Any strategy mentioned is based on a 12-team league. For those looking for rankings beyond the top 250, rankings in other formats or rankings by the rest of PFF's fantasy analysts, find those at our rankings page here.

Last Updated: Aug. 30, 2021

Tier 1: The best of the best

Rank Position Name Team Position Rank
1 RB Christian McCaffrey Panthers RB1
2 RB Dalvin Cook Vikings RB2
3 RB Alvin Kamara Saints RB3
4 RB Derrick Henry Titans RB4
5 RB Austin Ekeler Chargers RB5
6 RB Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys RB6
7 RB Aaron Jones Packers RB7
8 RB Saquon Barkley Giants RB8
9 RB Jonathan Taylor Colts RB9
10 RB Nick Chubb Browns RB10
11 RB Antonio Gibson Football Team RB11
12 RB Gus Edwards Ravens RB12

The strategy for the first round is simple: Pick the top running back available.

The top 12 running backs should all be selected by the end of the round. For the most part, these are every-down backs who get plenty of work in both the run game and pass game. The scoring system doesn’t have a large impact on most of these running backs because they put up the biggest numbers every category that matters.

Nick Chubb is one notable exception. He is a top-five running back in terms of talent, but his teammate is also in the top 10. Chubb is an excellent runner, with over 5.0 yards per carry in each season of his career, but he’s consistently under 1.2 yards per route run as a receiver. Chubb is more valuable in this format because his rushing ability is valued while his weaknesses in receiving don’t hurt him much.

It’s also worth noting that Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler don’t move down these rankings even though they are better suited for PPR leagues. Ekeler leads the league in yards per route run over the last three seasons at 2.19, while Kamara ranks second at 1.92. They are two of the best receiving running backs in recent memory.

Kamara led the league in PPR scoring last year and finishing second in standard scoring. The Saints are expected to run more this season without Drew Brees at quarterback, which should lead to more yards on the ground for Kamara. Ekeler finished as RB7 in standard scoring during his breakout 2019 campaign, and he’s expected to be more efficient as a runner this season. They will fare better in standard scoring this year compared to past seasons.

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