How fantasy football scoring systems work (updated 2022)

As fantasy football continues to rise in popularity, here are some of the basics of how fantasy scoring systems work in 2022.

For as long as people have been putting together leagues to play fantasy football, the scoring format has constantly been evolving. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the basics of how the fantasy football scoring system works remain the same for all formats, with on-field stats and plays driving the points.

Whether in a standard or PPR, 1QB or Superflex, dynasty or Best Ball league, once the basics are understood, that knowledge can be applied to any other style of fantasy league you find yourself in along the way.

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How fantasy football scoring systems work

At its most basic core, fantasy football scoring systems are a way of taking on-field stats and gamifying them so NFL fans can act as pseudo general managers, and players they draft can earn them points just as they do in real life. The early days of fantasy had a very basic set of scoring rules, such as touchdowns being the only way to score, but now there are many ways to accumulate fantasy football points. It all comes down to creativity.

Fantasy scoring systems convert yards and moments in a game into points. How much or how little depends on the league, yet the concept remains the same. The first and most common example is how receiving production works. This is where the terms standard, half-PPR, and full-PPR come into play. But what does that even mean?

This represents how many fantasy points are awarded for a reception. In a “standard” league, there is no fantasy point awarded for the reception, only the result of the play — the yards gained. A full-PPR (point per reception) league means what it says on the tin: A player will receive one fantasy point per reception on top of the play’s result. As you likely guessed by now, half-point PPR is a half-point per reception.

How do stats convert into 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 last year and walk through it. For this, we’ll use Jonathan Taylor’s Week 11 performance in 2021, as it was one of the single-highest scoring games of the year for a running back.

Against the Buffalo Bills, one of the NFL’s best teams, Taylor rushed 32 times for 185 yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded three receptions on three targets for 19 additional yards and another score. Did I mention Taylor is good at football?

In most fantasy football scoring systems, carries are not awarded points. However, this can be added and is not uncommon. It can be as small as 0.25 points per carry or as high as you want to go. What does tend to be universal is how yardage is scored. In the vast majority of leagues and fantasy football scoring systems, a yard is 0.1 fantasy points, meaning 10 yards equals one full point. The same applies to receiving yardage or anytime a play is carrying the ball.

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). Play fantasy long enough, and this math is done instantly in your head, and stat lines are just an equation you subconsciously convert.

Touchdowns and receptions matter in fanatsy

Now that we have Taylor’s yardage total (20.4), receptions are added. Using full-PPR as the baseline for this, we add an additional three points, bringing the total to 23.4 points. We have not even gotten to the fun part: touchdowns.

Just like in the NFL, fantasy football scoring systems value touchdowns more than anything else. Here, reality matches what happens on our screens, with 99% of fantasy football scoring systems awarding six points for every touchdown. Taylor’s five scores equate to 30 more points, bringing his grand total to 53.4 PPR points in Week 11 of 2021.

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 defended, fumbles, and tackles driving the scoring.

Special teams also see love as kickers are people too. Field goal distances are 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.

Quarterback scoring is slightly different from 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 is one fantasy point for every 25 passing yards. This helps to balance the upside of QBs in your league.

Passing touchdowns are also tweaked, either scoring four or six points depending on what you choose. Interceptions are treated as a negative, similar to a fumble for an RB. It can be as little as negative one point all the way to negative four points depending on how punishing you want it to be.

As far as rushing is concerned, a quarterback is treated like every other position, with 10 yards equaling a point and a touchdown netting six. When drafting quarterbacks, having someone with rushing upside is almost necessary to finish at the top of your league.

Quarterback scoring can be manipulated in a multitude of ways in an effort to balance out who makes the most impact on your weekly scoring. Bonuses can be added for eclipsing yardage totals (300 or 400 yards). Accuracy can be used, with completions and incompletions scoring both positive and negative points. Deep completions can even score extra points.

Much like any other position or league, there is 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, make one how you want it to be.

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 or more: 2 points
Passing TD of 40 yards or more: 2 points

Penalty points

Intercepted pass: -1 or -2 points
Fumble lost: -2 points

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
Quarterback hits: 1 point
Passes defended: 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 FG (0-39 yds): -2 points
Missed FG (40-49 yds): -1 point
(note: a missed FG includes any attempt that is blocked, deflected, etc.)

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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