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    How Fantasy Football Scoring Systems Work

    As fantasy football continues to rise in popularity, here are some of the basics of how fantasy scoring systems work in 2024.

    The scoring of fantasy football leagues is an ever-evolving topic and one that can be tailored to your specific desires. If you want high-scoring matchups, you can adjust the basics to make that happen. Prefer low-scoring weeks that naturally come down to the wire more often? No problem.

    From very simplistic rules to complicated options layered with bonuses, customizing your league can be done just as easily as playing under your provider’s default settings.

    While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the basics of how the scoring system works remain the same for nearly every format, with on-field stats and plays driving the points.

    Whether in a non-PPR or PPR (point per reception), 1QB or Superflex, dynasty, or Best Ball league, once the basics are understood, that knowledge can be applied to pretty much any other fantasy league out there. This is why the same manager often feels comfortable in a variety of formats — once you speak the language, there’s not much of a learning curve.

    Pro-tip: Be careful in assuming “standard” means non-PPR. That was the case for years, but some sites have transitioned to PPR being their “standard” format. ESPN has made this move and they aren’t alone given the popularity of this format — double-check, every last point makes a difference.

    How Do Fantasy Football Scoring Systems Work?

    At their core, fantasy football scoring systems are tied to what happens on the field. Specifically, many of the easily identifiable stats that drive fan interest and highlight shows.

    In this way, fantasy managers can act as pseudo-general managers, and players they draft can earn them points based on their performance in games.

    The early days of fantasy had a very basic set of scoring rules, with touchdowns serving as a driving influencer, if not the only one. But most leagues these days incorporate several more stats.

    Anything goes on this front. If it’s quantifiable and publicly tracked, then it can be part of a fantasy scoring system.

    For example, most fantasy scoring systems convert yards into points. How much or how little depends on the league, yet the concept remains the same. A player racking up 54 receiving yards might accrue 5.4 non-PPR fantasy points — or one-tenth of a point per yard (the accepted standard on most sites).

    In the past couple of decades, there’s been a gradual shift on whether receptions should count as points. For a long time, “non-PPR” was considered standard, meaning managers didn’t earn points per reception. As a result, quarterbacks and many running backs were worth considerably more than wideouts and tight ends, relatively speaking.

    Then half-PPR and full-PPR leagues became more prevalent. The former means managers earn half a point every time one of their players catches a pass, and then the yardage is added on top of that baseline. The latter means they earn a full point — the idea being to reward a player for the ability to get open.

    As you might have guessed, this slight scoring shift has had a dramatic impact on fantasy strategy.

    • WR A catches eight passes for 80 yards
    • WR B catches one pass for 80 yards

    In non-PPR, both earned eight points for their 80 yards. But in PPR, WR B netted nine points (8+1), while WR A secured 16 points (8+8), a difference that could easily swing a weekly matchup.

    PPR gives more weight to high-volume receivers and catch-friendly running backs, sometimes boosting their fantasy production by 50% or more. Since quarterbacks rarely catch passes, this simple rule change can alter the valuations of nearly every Flex player, thus forcing managers to shift draft and roster-management strategies while keeping their QB ranks identical across formats.

    These leagues are higher scoring by nature, and that devalues the QB position to a degree. They are simply accounting for a lower percentage of your points than in formats that don’t reward points per reception.

    How Do Stats Convert to Points Using Fantasy Football Scoring?

    To help better illustrate how fantasy football scoring systems work, let’s use an actual stat line from a player.

    In Week 11 of the 2021 season, Jonathan Taylor had one of the highest-scoring fantasy games of the year for a running back. Against the Buffalo Bills, he rushed 32 times for 185 yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded three receptions for 19 additional yards and another score.

    In most fantasy football scoring systems, carries are not awarded points. However, some leagues reward managers who draft high-volume RBs, and this is one way to do it. It could be as small as 0.25 points per carry or as high as you want.

    What does tend to be universal is how yardage is scored. In most leagues and fantasy scoring systems, a yard is 0.1 fantasy points, meaning 10 yards equals one full point. The same applies to receiving yardage.

    Using Taylor’s stats as an example, the quick way to score this is to simply divide his yardage by 10. Taylor’s 185 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards would equal 20.4 fantasy points (204 total yards).

    Touchdowns and Receptions Matter in Fantasy

    Now that we have Taylor’s yardage total (20.4 fantasy points), receptions are added. Using PPR as the baseline, we add three points for the three catches, bringing his total to 23.4 points.

    And just like in the NFL, fantasy football scoring systems value touchdowns more than almost anything else. Here, reality matches what happens on our screens, with almost all fantasy scoring systems awarding six points for every rushing or receiving TD. Taylor’s five scores equate to 30 more points, bringing his total to 53.4 PPR points.

    This same logic of using touches, yards, and touchdowns is the basis of every single fantasy football league. Virtually any stat can be converted to some form of scoring.

    It’s how we have individual defensive player (IDP) leagues. Here, defensive players are used, with interceptions, sacks, passes defensed, fumbles, and tackles often driving the scoring.

    Kickers are people, too. Field-goal distances are frequently factored in, with longer conversions equating to more points than a chip shot. Extra points tend to be a single point, as they are in the NFL.

    QB Scoring Is Slightly Different for Other Players

    Due to the passing yardage a quarterback can put up in a given week, their stats tend to be tweaked the most in fantasy scoring systems. For the majority of leagues, it’s one fantasy point for every 25 passing yards (0.04 per yard). This helps to balance the upside of QBs in your league.

    Passing touchdowns are also commonly adjustable, either netting four (the default for most sites), five, or six points. Interceptions are treated as a negative, similar to any offensive player who loses a fumble. The range often is as little as -1 point to -4 points depending on how punishing you want it to be (-2 points is the most common and the likely default if you don’t opt to tweak it).

    As far as rushing/receiving is concerned, quarterbacks are treated like every other position, with 10 yards equaling a point and a touchdown netting six (note the 50% increase in value for a rushing TD for a QB over a passing score). When drafting quarterbacks, having someone with rushing upside can increase the odds of massive weekly outputs — provided they’re also capable in the passing game.

    KEEP READING: Fantasy Draft Strategy: Which Position Should You Draft First?

    QB scoring can be manipulated in multiple ways to balance out who has the most impact on your weekly scoring. Bonuses can be added for eclipsing yardage totals (e.g. 300 or 400 yards). Accuracy can be used, with completions and incompletions scoring both positive and negative points. Deep completions (e.g. 50+ yards gained) can even score extra points. It’s on you to get as creative as you see fit!

    Much like any other position or league, there’s no one “perfect” fantasy scoring format. It’s why leagues of all shapes and sizes fill every day. Look around enough, and you’ll find one you like. If not, design one the way you like and invite your friends or co-workers to take a one-year test drive.

    General Fantasy Football Scoring System Rules

    Offensive Players

    • Passing yards: 1 point per 25 yards
    • Passing touchdowns: 4 points
    • Rushing yards: 1 point per 10 yards
    • Rushing touchdowns: 6 points
    • Receptions: 0.5 or 1 point (depending on half- or full-PPR)
    • Receiving yards: 1 point per 10 yards
    • Receiving touchdowns: 6 points
    • 2-point conversions: 2 points
    • Fumble recovered for a touchdown: 6 points

    Bonus Points

    • Rushing or receiving TD of 40+ yards: 2 points
    • Passing TD of 40+ yards: 2 points

    Penalty Points

    • Intercepted pass: -2 points
    • Fumble lost*: -2 points

    *A fumble that does not result in a change of possession does not hurt you.

    Team Defense and Special Teams

    • Sacks: 1 point
    • Interceptions: 2 points
    • Fumbles recovered: 2 points
    • Safeties: 2 points
    • Defensive touchdowns: 6 points
    • Kick and punt-return touchdowns: 6 points
    • 2-point conversion returns: 2 points
    • Points allowed (0): 10 points
    • Points allowed (1-6): 7 points
    • Points allowed (7-13): 4 points
    • Points allowed (14-20): 1 point
    • Points allowed (21-27): 0 points
    • Points allowed (28-34): -1 points
    • Points allowed (35+): -4 points

    Individual Defensive Players (IDP)

    • Solo tackles: 1 point
    • Assisted tackles: 0.5 points
    • Sacks: 2 points
    • Sack yards: 1 point per 10 yards
    • Tackles for loss: 1 point
    • QB hits: 1 point
    • Passes defensed: 1 point
    • Interceptions: 3 points
    • Fumbles forced: 3 points
    • Fumbles recovered: 3 points
    • Defensive touchdowns: 6 points
    • 2-point conversion returns: 2 points

    Kickers

    • 50+ yard FG made: 5 points
    • 40-49 yard FG made: 4 points
    • 39 yards or less FG made: 3 points
    • Rushing, passing, or receiving 2-point conversion: 2 points
    • Extra point made: 1 point

    Penalty Points

    • Missed extra point: -3 points
    • Missed FG (0-39 yds): -2 points
    • Missed FG (40-49 yds): -1 point

    (Note: a missed FG includes any blocked or deflected attempt, etc.)

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