Fantasy News & Analysis

Leveraging PFF fantasy football rankings to beat your home league

When logging on to your classic fantasy football site, there is one secret to consistently getting value — exploiting the default site rankings. The easiest way to do that is to compare each respective site’s default rankings against the combined PFF Draft Rankings.

Note: Rankings are .5 PPR scoring and were updated August 19th. They are subject to change.

More of PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football tools here: 
Fantasy Football Draft Kit | Rankings & Tiers | Draft Guide | Cheat Sheets
Projections | Strength of Schedule | Expected Points Weekly Finishes

ESPN

The most significant early pick that differs from PFF’s rankings is Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders. He’s getting targeted almost two rounds too early according to ESPN's current rankings. The third-year running back has yet to eclipse 900 rushing yards and his perceived receiving upside took a big step back last season. Also, with Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott expected to collect a decent chunk of opportunities, Sanders just can’t be seen as a safe play so early in drafts.

Another running back who has taken a hit in value recently is the Miami DolphinsMyles Gaskin. His preseason appearance did not provide much assurance for a large role, as running back Malcolm Brown played more snaps with Miami's first-team offense.

As far as running backs go, the value selections on ESPN are the Atlanta FalconsMike Davis and San Francisco 49ersTrey Sermon. Davis is ranked only 11 spots behind Sanders by our staff but is hidden in ESPN’s rankings down at 91 overall. Sermon is another sneaky play, especially if you are going wide receiver heavy in the early rounds.

There is a fairly common theme among all these sites that New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is still not priced correctly, so you should let your opponents grab him unless he falls considerably.

Top 10 ESPN Values — PFF Top 200
Player Team Pos PFF Rank ESPN Rank Diff
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR 174 295 121
Gerald Everett SEA TE 148 257 109
Trey Lance SF QB 123 220 97
Sam Darnold CAR QB 179 270 91
Blake Jarwin DAL TE 158 248 90
Justin Fields CHI QB 130 219 89
Jameis Winston NO QB 182 266 84
Zach Wilson NYJ QB 166 245 79
Carson Wentz IND QB 190 267 77
Austin Hooper CLE TE 171 246 75
Top 10 ESPN Avoids — PFF Top 200
Player Team Pos PFF Rank ESPN Rank Diff
Eric Ebron PIT TE 197 144 -53
Henry Ruggs LV WR 140 89 -51
T.Y. Hilton IND WR 161 116 -45
Jalen Reagor PHI WR 142 98 -44
Cole Beasley BUF WR 137 99 -38
Jamison Crowder NYJ WR 184 148 -36
Rob Gronkowski TB TE 156 121 -35
A.J. Green ARI WR 188 155 -33
Michael Thomas NO WR 106 75 -31
Jakobi Meyers NE WR 164 133 -31

Yahoo!

Over on Yahoo’s rankings, we see the same theme with some of the earlier running backs, but the Las Vegas RaidersJosh Jacobs pops out as a risky pick at his current cost. The recent Kenyan Drake injury news appeared to be a catalyst for Jacobs to get a top-end workload again, but Drake is already back on the field and will likely siphon significant passing work from Jacobs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady sticks out as a good value if you want to chase a middle-round discount at quarterback. However, if you look at the values table below, you will see many later round quarterbacks are going to be on the board during your last few picks.

While there are certainly red flags for both receivers, the Indianapolis ColtsMichael Pittman Jr. and Baltimore RavensRashod Bateman are severely undervalued by Yahoo’s rankings. Bateman is currently the 246th player on their default draft rankings, which is absolute lunacy. Even if he misses some time, he is likely to pay off value if drafted in the late rounds.

Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs is listed as a fifth- or sixth-round wide receiver on Yahoo at the moment — a considerable overpay based on PFF’s rankings. With the potential emergence of receiver Bryan Edwards and the existence of tight end Darren Waller, it would be extremely rare for Ruggs to pay off here.

Top 10 Yahoo! Values — PFF Top 200
Player Team Pos PFF Rank Yahoo Rank Diff
Justin Fields CHI QB 130 252 122
Trey Lance SF QB 123 244 121
Matt Ryan ATL QB 126 227 101
Rashod Bateman BAL WR 147 246 99
Ryan Fitzpatrick WAS QB 139 238 99
Tua Tagovailoa MIA QB 132 230 98
Zach Wilson NYJ QB 166 253 87
Gerald Everett SEA TE 148 232 84
David Johnson HOU RB 135 215 80
John Brown LV WR 168 235 67
Top 10 Yahoo! Avoids — PFF Top 200
Player Team Pos PFF Rank Yahoo Rank Diff
Henry Ruggs LV WR 140 73 -67
Jalen Reagor PHI WR 142 79 -63
Nelson Agholor NE WR 134 75 -59
Jakobi Meyers NE WR 164 113 -51
Chuba Hubbard CAR RB 186 137 -49
Cole Beasley BUF WR 137 89 -48
A.J. Green ARI WR 188 142 -46
James White NE RB 167 123 -44
Mike Gesicki MIA TE 127 83 -44
Phillip Lindsay HOU RB 153 111 -42

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Sleeper

Sleeper uses mock average draft position (ADP) for its default rankings, this ADP is as of August 17. Sleeper is the only platform of the three in this article where Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is overpriced and not likely worth the cost relative to PFF’s rankings. However, it should be noted that the late-round quarterbacks aren’t priced quite as soft as ESPN or Yahoo, so if you have a guy you want in the mid/late rounds, grab him as soon as you are comfortable.

The value plays on Sleeper are all wide receivers. The Cincinnati BengalsTyler Boyd gets his first mention, as drafters on Sleeper have likely pushed in the chips on fellow Bengals receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Cincinnati's receiving corps are more ambiguous than the drafting market would indicate, and Boyd represents a good arbitrage play here. Both Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup represent a similar arbitrage play as well versus their more expensive counterparts.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Rondale Moore could be a late-round gem this season, and both Sleeper and Yahoo will allow you to grab him later than our rankings would dictate. However, he could easily see a small role to start the season, which should temper expectations considering the cost.

Both the Denver BroncosMelvin Gordon III and Houston TexansDavid Johnson land squarely in the ‘running back dead zone,’ and if you draft them on Sleeper, you are probably drafting them one or two rounds earlier than necessary. In fact, Sleeper’s rankings seem to give extra value to the wide receiver position and reduce the value given to running backs. Grabbing running backs in the first few rounds then hammering receivers is the smart play in Sleeper re-draft leagues this season.

Top 10 Sleeper Values — PFF Top 200
Player Team Pos PFF Rank Sleeper Rank Diff
DeSean Jackson LAR WR 194 254.9 60.9
Sterling Shepard NYG WR 152 209.8 57.8
Jared Goff DET QB 193 248.4 55.4
O.J. Howard TB TE 195 250.4 55.4
Emmanuel Sanders BUF WR 150 204 54
Anthony Firkser TEN TE 154 206.6 52.6
Darrynton Evans TEN RB 181 230.2 49.2
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR 174 222.2 48.2
Breshad Perriman DET WR 173 221 48
Giovani Bernard TB RB 169 214.5 45.5
Top 10 Sleeper Avoids — PFF Top 200
Player Team Pos PFF Rank Sleeper Rank Diff
David Johnson HOU RB 135 88.2 -46.8
Michael Thomas NO WR 106 62 -44
Rob Gronkowski TB TE 156 118 -38
Chuba Hubbard CAR RB 186 149.6 -36.4
Ronald Jones TB RB 98 74.3 -23.7
Melvin Gordon DEN RB 96 72.5 -23.5
Myles Gaskin MIA RB 70 48.3 -21.7
Mike Gesicki MIA TE 127 106.1 -20.9
J.D. McKissic WAS RB 165 144.7 -20.3
Phillip Lindsay HOU RB 153 132.9 -20.1
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