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Draft Analysis

Scoring System Balance

by John Paulsen
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

This is Part 2 of this scoring system study. Be sure to read Part 1, where I examine the pros and cons of PPR scoring systems and whether including first downs is a viable alternative.

 

In my opinion, a good scoring system:

 

  • Is relatively easy to understand

 

  • Provides a reasonable balance between the four major positions (QB, RB, WR and TE) so that the first two or three rounds aren’t extremely heavy in any one position

 

  • Reflects real-world importance of each position

 

  • Is reasonably predictive, so that fantasy football is a game of skill more than it is a game of luck

 

Here is one of the graphs from Part 1, % RV by Positional Rank for Standard and PPR scoring systems.

 

PPR1

 

The purpose of this graph is to show the relative importance of each position by positional rank. If the plots are bunched up or intersect (like standard QB and WR do at a rank of 3), then we should see a wider variety of draftable positions in the first couple of rounds. If early round variety is the goal, then we’d want to see these lines as close together as possible.

 

With regard to standard versus PPR, it’s clear that WR and TE get a boost under PPR, but QB takes a big hit. This is one of my problems with PPR formats — it devalues the most important position in the league.

 

There are a few different ways to influence the importance of a particular position in any given scoring system:

 

1. Change the value of a particular stat.

 

For example, if we want to make the value of the QB position more reflective of its real-world importance, we could change the value of passing touchdowns from the standard 4 points/TD to 6 points/TD. (The standard format uses 4 points/TD because QBs throw too many touchdowns. So the position scores too many points, but using Value Based Drafting methodology, that doesn’t matter. A player’s scoring only matters when compared to other players at his position.)

 

Here’s a look at how both standard and PPR scoring systems look using six points per pass TD.

 

PPR2

 

QB obviously gets a bump in both systems and in the Standard6 format, the top end QBs are nearly as important as the top end RBs. Having a good QB would be important in a Standard6 scoring system, but streaming the position by playing the waiver wire would continue to be a viable option.

 

To boost QB value, we could also change the scoring for yardage to 1 point / 10 yards from 1 point / 25 yards. Also, if a commissioner wanted to devalue TDs (and make the game more predictable) points awarded for yardage could be increased (e.g. change RB/WR/TE scoring to 1 point / 5 yards from 1 point / 10 yards).

 

Another way to change positional value is to…

 

2. Change the lineup requirements.

 

Since we’re looking at this from a VBD perspective, altering the number of players at a particular position is going to increase (or decrease) the demand for the position. For example, if we want to devalue the RB position, we could reduce the number of starters from the traditional two to one.

 

I like big starting lineups because it allows me to take advantage of my bench, which is usually deeper than my competition. This makes the game more a contest of skill and less dependent on luck. So reducing the number of RB starters doesn’t really appeal to me.

 

What if we expand the starting slots for the other positions? QB, WR and TE don’t hold as much value as RB does, so why not add a starter at each of those positions. Ideally (for me), it would look like this: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 2 TE + a Superflex.

 

Note: I prefer to use a Superflex rather than actually requiring a second starting QB because it offers a bit more flexibility. Owners will want to fill this spot with a QB, but there are only so many starting QBs to go around, especially during the bye weeks. It’s impossible for every owner in a 12-team league to carry three starting QBs to cover each QB’s bye (12 x 3 = 36, when there are only 32 real-world starters). One way around this is to limit the number of QBs on the roster to two, ensuring that there are enough passers on the waiver wire, but then we’re forcing owners to cut their second QB during their bye. If they stumbled into someone like Nick Foles, this is not a nice thing to do. The Superflex allows owners to carry 2-3 QBs and fill the spot with another position during their quarterbacks’ byes if they so choose. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m calling this type a league a “2232” league, though maybe “12321” would be more appropriate. Oh well.

 

Back to the graphs…

 

Here’s how a 2232 league would work under standard scoring (2232S).

 

 

 

PPR3

 

By requiring/encouraging owners to start two QBs, three WRs and two TEs, the value of those positions has been boosted so much that RB is no longer the dominant position. All of the position plots intersect at one point or another, so the first few rounds in this type of draft would likely consist of a good mix of positions. In a 2232S league, the average number of each position in the top 50 (in % RV) are 16.3 QBs, 11.3 RBs, 15.7 WRs and 6.7 TEs. For comparison’s sake, the top 50 of a standard scoring format with a 1/2/2/1 + flex league had an average of 7.3 QBs, 20.7 RBs, 17.3 WRs and 4.7 TEs.

 

Want a format that values the four positions equally? Check out the 2232 league in PPR format:

 

PPR4

 

That’s the best positional balance I’ve seen during this study, though I’m still concerned with how PPR rewards on-field production. (By including a Superflex, the QB is no longer devalued under PPR.)

 

How about a 2232 league with 0.5 points per first down (2232F)?

 

PPR5

 

Keep in mind that the QB position already holds a significant amount of value with a Superflex, so I did not award the position with points for passing first downs. The positions here are tighter than a standard 2232 system, but not as balanced as a 2232 with PPR. (If anyone wants to commish a 2232F league this year, hit me up on Twitter. I’m in.)

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

When picking a scoring system, it’s important to consider what exactly you’re trying to achieve.

 

Should it be simple and/or common?

Should the value of the QB position reflect its real world value?

Do you want to boost the WR and TE positions so that they hold about the same value as RB?

Should all four positions hold equal value?

What real-world accomplishments do you want to reward?

 

It’s a matter of preference, but I would rather use positional requirements to adjust the value of each position. Shouldn’t yardage have the same reward across all four positions? Shouldn’t a yard gained by a quarterback be worth the same as a yard gained by a running back or a receiver? And why is a passing TD worth less in most leagues than a receiving or a rushing TD?

 

The good news is that whatever your goals are, there is probably a scoring system out there that will fit your needs. 4for4 strives to stay ahead of the curve and can support virtually any scoring system with our Full Impact customized rankings.