1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
True Scoring fantasy leagues feature a format which most mimics the real thing

by Bob Cunningham
July 24, 2003

I've written before about my love of the realism aspect of fantasy leagues. Well, there's a certain type of fantasy football league that takes that end of the hobby to the hilt.

Let's see, how to explain this... Okay... how many points are touchdowns worth in the NFL? Six, and the point-after kick makes seven, right?

And field goals are worth three points, regardless of length, yes?

There you have it. Welcome to a real meat-and-potatoes fantasy football scoring system. All TDs are worth six points. All field goals are counted as three. Safeties? You got it... two points. Nothing creative or wildly fabricated - just scores like the big boys use.

For those football mongers who want their fantasy league to be less about complex scoring formulas and bonuses, and more about the next best thing to actually strapping on a helmet, this is for you. To heck with yardage. I want my guys taking the ball to the house.

And you know, there's some credibility to the format.

This is referred to as a "true scoring" or touchdown-only league. No bally-hoo about 90-yard TDs being worth 15 points, no 2-point bonuses for defensive tackles behind the line of scrimmage, no 7-point anomalies for field goals of more than 50 yards. Just sensible, down-to-earn football scoring.

The basic premise of the league is like most others. Essentially, owners draft rosters of roughly 20 players, establish a starting lineup consisting of a QB, two RBs, a TE, three WRs, a kicker, and a defensive team. Individual defensive players and/or special teams is, of course, optional.

There's only one real difference with this league and most any other, but it's a biggie -- the scoring. As I ready noted, all touchdowns, whether a 1-yard quarterback sneak or a 99-yard bomb, are worth six points.

True scoring.

Now there is a pure fantasy slant here, because on the aforementioned 99-yard bomb, for instance, you have the QB who threw the pass and the receiver who went the distance each garnering six points.

The entire idea is to create a game that is as close to the real thing as possible. It's an ideal format for head-to-head leagues because you end up with mostly real football-type scores. No more of this 132-108 nonsense. I'm talking 31-17 and 24-20 and 35-21. Manly... football scores. What is more like the NFL? Winning 24-20 or 103.6 - 97.9? Same end result - a winner and a loser. Both rely on the NFL acumen needed to acquire and play the best players.

Changing the scoring to mirror the NFL will change the entire focus of the draft as well make free agency more important. Gaining those precious players that score the most touchdowns reaps big dividends - just like the NFL. Let's take a quick look at last year's numbers for the top 20 players in True Scoring for quarterbacks, runningbacks and receivers. The "#" represents what the player's ranking was in a common performance scoring league where yardage points are awarded.

# QB's TD's # RB's TD's # WR's TD's
10 Brady,Tom 29 1 Holmes,Priest 24 3 Owens,Terrell 14
8 Brooks,Aaron 29 6 Alexander,Shaun 18 2 Ward,Hines 12
5 Manning,Peyton 29 2 Williams,Ricky 17 1 Harrison,Marvin 11
4 Gannon,Rich 29 4 Portis,Clinton 17 4 Moulds,Eric 10
2 Culpepper,Daunte 28 5 McAllister,Deuce 16 7 Price,Peerless 9
16 Favre,Brett 27 3 Tomlinson,Ladainian 15 10 Driver,Donald 9
13 Green,Trent 27 8 Henry,Travis 14 27 Porter,Jerry 9
7 Bledsoe,Drew 26 12 George,Eddie 14 28 Chrebet,Wayne 9
9 McNair,Steve 25 7 Barber,Tiki 11 6 Toomer,Amani 8
22 Pennington,Chad 24 9 Garner,Charlie 11 19 Gardner,Rod 8
11 Garcia,Jeff 24 34 Williams,Moe 11 29 Thrash,James 8
3 Vick,Michael 24 11 Faulk,Marshall 10 38 Stallworth,D. 8
1 McNabb,Donovan 23 10 Green,Ahman 9 5 Moss,Randy 7
14 Johnson,Brad 22 19 Dunn,Warrick 9 8 Horn,Joe 7
19 Maddox,Tommy 20 20 Shipp,Marcel 9 9 Burress,Plaxico 7
12 Kitna,Jon 20 24 Hearst,Garrison 9 11 Rice,Jerry 7
18 Collins,Kerry 19 29 Bettis,Jerome 9 16 Bruce,Isaac 7
23 Fiedler,Jay 17 40 Mack,Stacey 9 18 Smith,Jimmy 7
17 Griese,Brian 16 13 Taylor,Fred 8 20 Morgan,Quincy 7
15 Hasselbeck,Matt 16 15 Staley,Duce 8 22 Conway,Curtis 7

Finding players that score multiple touchdowns in a game is also a big bonus - just like in the NFL.

Strategy for a league using true scoring isn't greatly different from other leagues, with one glaring exception -- the guys who make a living scoring from the 1-yard line become huge. Moe Williams, Zack Crockett, Mike Alstott... these guys are early-round picks in a true scoring league. Charlie Garner might have eight carries for 70 yards on a drive, but if Crockett bulls into the end zone from the 1, Crockett gets the six fantasy points.

Of course, that very scenario is a mark against the format for some fantasy participants. That's why this type of league, admittedly, is not for everyone. But if you are looking to add a new type of league to add to your fantasy season and welcome the chance to show your genius in a different format, consider True Scoring as your main - or even just a secondary league. Chances are good you will find comfort in knowing if you won or lost by watching the news instead of breaking out the statistical calculator.

Believe it - if you like the realism aspect with simple and straightforward scoring, and love getting boxscores that are more football and less NBA... a true scoring league should be your mug of beer.

DOH! Not tackled at the one again!