Exploiting the NFL Scoring System

Welcome to FantasyDraft 101, the only series designed to teach you how to play daily fantasy sports and win on FantasyDraft.com. These articles are designed to fd-101-300x300teach the basics step-by-step in order to educate beginning players and assist them in becoming the best competitor they can be. With little to no prior knowledge on the topic, these are the fundamentals to setting competitive daily fantasy football lineups.

Exploiting the NFL Scoring System for Offensive Players

Users who play yearly fantasy football leagues are familiar with the term “PPR.” The term PPR stands for “point-per-reception,” and is a basic unit of measure which FantasyDraft.com utilizes when scoring a player’s production. It’s as sample as it sounds: one point is awarded for every catch (or reception) a runningback (RB), wide receiver (WR) or tight end (TE) hauls in. Otherwise, the scoring is similar to standard fantasy football formats. A quarterback (QB) earns four points when they throw a touchdown (TD) to a RB, WR or TE. The player catching the ball is awarded six points if they receive a TD pass. If a QB hands the ball to a RB and they rush into the end zone, the RB is awarded six points. Players also accumulate points based on their yardage totals and other various outcomes:

NFL Offensive Scoring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to the way the scoring works, there are different ways to go about exploiting FantasyDraft.com’s scoring system.

Quarterbacks

If you scored a job as a general manager of a NFL franchise, the belief remains that pure passers rule the NFL. In daily fantasy football, however, this is not necessarily the case. Four points for a passing TD only gets you so far, especially if your QB only throws one. Sometimes QBs that accumulate points with their legs are safer on a week-to-week basis. A player receives one point for every 10 rushing yards, but four points for every 100 passing yards (or one point every 25 yards). That means a player that rushes for 60 yards and throws for zero yards would accrue the same amount of fantasy points as a player that just threw for 150 yards. Taking it a step further, 60 rushing yards and a rushing TD is the equivalent of 200 passing yards and a passing TD. In cash games, the goal is to find QBs with a reasonably high floor, and looking at the QBs who can make plays with their legs first is a preferred strategy. Even if a QB isn’t an elite rusher, it’s nice to be able to rack up extra points here and there due to them taking off and running. On the other hand, quarterbacks also will be the highest-scoring individuals most weeks because they will score the most TDs. For this reason, it’s similar to pitching in baseball, where you want to spend enough at the position to feel good. If it totally flops, you’ll be left in the dust. Tournaments will not be won by a team with a QB that scores one TD. Yards are nice, especially in cash games, but finding the players with the most TD-upside is the play in larger tournaments. If you can manage four or five TDs out of your QB, then you are going to have a chance. The scoring is TD-heavy, so rostering players who may find the end zone is going to be a common theme among all the positions.

Runningbacks

“Workhorse” RBs are always referred to as a rare breed in the NFL. These days, most backfields go “runningback-by-committee,” meaning they split the carries between multiple backs. Those backfields are more difficult to project on a week-to-week basis, because the touch distribution can be gameplan-based/inconsistent. If the salary allows, the safest play is to find the RBs who will touch the ball most (preferably in solid matchups as well). It’s similar to cash strategy for hitters in baseball. You want players at the top of the order because they will have more opportunities to produce, based solely on volume. Give a NFL RB 20 carries and, as a generalization, he’s likely to break a long carry on at least one of them (although that’s not true among all RB’s skill sets). However, a sneaky way to go about saving money (or “punting”) at the RB position is to focus on those who consistently catch the ball. One reception is the equivalent of ten yards. Therefore, a RB who catches the ball six times for zero yards and one that rushes for 60 yards have earned the same amount of points. For that reason, I don’t typically spend up on guys like Mark Ingram who rarely ever catch a pass. They need two TDs to have the upside of a Le’Veon Bell average game. Players who also return kicks have additional upside, as they may take one to the house, but the probability of that outcome is so low in a given week that it should only be used as a tie-breaker. Cheap receiving backs make for nice cash game options or FLEX punts in tournaments, but finding a back who will do it all in a given week is still how you win the tournaments.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The thought process for drafting WR/TE is similar to that of RBs, except carries are virtually out of the picture (unless you’re, say, Percy Harvin). Safety lies within receptions for WR/TEs, because the scoring system values catches so highly. Players like Jarvis Landry, who weren’t targeted very far downfield last season, are still worthwhile because of their number of receptions (Landry had 84). Targets for receivers are also well worth monitoring, because if they’re thrown to often enough they’ll likely catch a few. The more opportunities they have to make a catch, the higher their floor should be theoretically (although balls can be overthrown or dropped, obviously). Tournaments are better suited for the speed receivers who can break one with one play. While Landry is catching short passes for a mediocre amount of points, one long ball to DeSean Jackson could double Landry’s output for the entire day. Since there is a premium on catching TDs, tall receivers have the advantage. Guys like Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson will consistently haul in double digit TDs, simply because they’re bigger than everyone else. So, while safety is the name of the game in cash games, guys who can break one and/or catch a TD are preferred in tournaments. The difficult part is putting together a lineup with all of this in mind under the salary constraints… but that’s also the fun part!

We will discuss other factors that contribute towards setting weekly NFL DFS lineups in future articles. With a basic understanding of the scoring, it should be a much easier concept to grasp.

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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