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Draft Plans and Three Kinds of Scoring Systems
David Dorey
August 24, 2009
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If there is one thing near and dear to the veteran fantasy footballer it is their scoring system. Before any player question can be adequately answered, the fundamental question must be answered - "what is the scoring system?". We like to believe there is a huge difference between scoring system A and scoring system B. The Huddle even plays into this with the much praised customized scoring for cheatsheets. If you generate numerous different cheatsheets, you'll see there is probably not a dramatic difference between them. They are predicated on projected stats after all which are nothing more than the most likely outcome for a player of many, many possible outcomes. They go out of bounds on the one-yard line a few times and top players may be ranked a dozen spots higher than they should have. This is why we still offer The Huddle Rankings which are more independent from the whims of projection-generated cheatsheets.

However.

There are three fundamental kinds of scoring in use that will always change up how drafts unwind. Ignoring the occasional league that may make one position hugely disportionately valuable than another, there are exactly three kinds of scoring which make a fundamental difference to when a player would be taken. I do not count touchdown-only leagues because they are becoming extremely rare and almost always belong to longtime leagues with no desire to change. Here are the three styles that matter to me:

1. Standard Performance - This is basically where there is yardage points, probably three or four points per passing score and a point for every 20 or 25 passing yards and six points for all other touchdowns. Yardage gets awarded one point for each ten yards. But no point for a reception - that is key. Quarterbacks score well but end up kind of bunched together. The typical planning looks to obtain the best RBs possible, then probably good WRs and finally QBs eventually. This style used to be the most common - by far.

2. Reception Points - This is just the Standard Performance but awards one point per reception. That is a huge change since it makes top wideouts about as valuable as a top RB, props up the value of pass catching RBs and fades the pure runners. It is a definitely difference and a huge one as to where players should be drafted. It also makes for many more high-value players so drafts are deeper in quality. The typical planning looks to get good RBs but ones that preferably receive the ball as well. Wideouts are much more valuable here and are seeded in much earlier - sometimes in preference to a RB. Even TE's have significance in this scoring and could start showing up in the third or fourth rounds. This style is becoming the most common.

3. Quarterback Heavy - Regardless of the presence of reception points, this is a scoring system that prefers QBs over all other position either because they get six point touchdowns and score far in excess of all other positions or the league allows you to start two of them. When you start only one QB, then you can often wait because there will only be ten or 12 starting QBs in the league anyway and teams always hold off on the position while stocking up on the multiples of RB and WR that they need to field a starting lineup. But six point passing scores means the top of the QB rankings not only dwarf other positions in scoring but have enough difference between the tiers that getting an early one really yields an advantage. If you can start two QBs, then getting two high scorers is a big boost for your team as opposed to just one decent starter and a below average QB2. And this doesn't result in a different ranking for the position, but makes a big difference in how quickly they are drafted. This style is not that common but is growing.

I would contend that either you or I could draft good fantasy teams knowing nothing more than if there are reception points or if QBs get six points per passing score or if we start two QBs. Nothing else really changes the way you draft as much as those three scoring characteristics.

Below shows how I would draft if I had all 12 positions in a league using the three formats to show how I would change my tactics according to what I valued most. I also considered it to start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 PK and 1 DF.

Standard Performance
# Tm Pos Player
1 1 RB Adrian Peterson
2 2 RB Maurice Jones-Drew
3 3 RB Ladainian Tomlinson
4 4 RB Michael Turner
5 5 RB Chris Johnson
6 6 RB Steven Jackson
7 7 RB Frank Gore
8 8 RB Matt Forte
9 9 RB Steve Slaton
10 10 WR Randy Moss
11 11 RB Clinton Portis
12 12 WR Andre' Johnson
13 12 RB DeAngelo Williams
14 11 WR Larry Fitzgerald
15 10 WR Calvin Johnson
16 9 RB Marion Barber
17 8 WR Greg Jennings
18 7 RB Brandon Jacobs
19 6 QB Drew Brees
20 5 RB Pierre Thomas
21 4 RB Ryan Grant
22 3 WR Reggie Wayne
23 2 QB Tom Brady
24 1 RB Ronnie Brown
25 1 WR Roddy White
26 2 RB Kevin Smith
27 3 RB Brian Westbrook
28 4 WR Steve Smith
29 5 WR Marques Colston
30 6 RB Darren McFadden
31 7 WR Chad OchoCinco
32 8 WR Dwayne Bowe
33 9 QB Aaron Rodgers
34 10 RB Chris Wells
35 11 RB Knowshon Moreno
36 12 WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
37 12 RB Felix Jones
38 11 WR Anquan Boldin
39 10 QB Peyton Manning
40 9 WR Wes Welker
41 8 RB Ray Rice
42 7 WR Roy Williams
43 6 WR Terrell Owens
44 5 QB Kurt Warner
45 4 WR Bernard Berrian
46 3 QB Donovan McNabb
47 2 WR Laveranues Coles
48 1 QB Philip Rivers
Performance with Receptions Pts.
# Tm Pos Player
1 1 RB Maurice Jones-Drew
2 2 RB Adrian Peterson
3 3 RB Ladainian Tomlinson
4 4 RB Chris Johnson
5 5 RB Steven Jackson
6 6 RB Frank Gore
7 7 RB Steve Slaton
8 8 RB Matt Forte
9 9 WR Andre' Johnson
10 10 RB Michael Turner
11 11 WR Randy Moss
12 12 WR Larry Fitzgerald
13 12 WR Calvin Johnson
14 11 WR Reggie Wayne
15 10 RB Marion Barber
16 9 RB Brian Westbrook
17 8 RB Clinton Portis
18 7 WR Greg Jennings
19 6 WR Roddy White
20 5 RB Ronnie Brown
21 4 QB Drew Brees
22 3 WR Steve Smith
23 2 QB Tom Brady
24 1 RB Darren McFadden
25 1 WR Dwayne Bowe
26 2 RB DeAngelo Williams
27 3 WR Marques Colston
28 4 WR Wes Welker
29 5 WR Chad OchoCinco
30 6 RB Ryan Grant
31 7 WR Anquan Boldin
32 8 WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
33 9 RB Kevin Smith
34 10 QB Aaron Rodgers
35 11 RB Knowshon Moreno
36 12 RB Brandon Jacobs
37 12 QB Peyton Manning
38 11 RB Pierre Thomas
39 10 WR Laveranues Coles
40 9 WR Roy Williams
41 8 TE Antonio Gates
42 7 RB Reggie Bush
43 6 TE Jason Witten
44 5 WR Terrell Owens
45 4 RB Ray Rice
46 3 RB Chris Wells
47 2 WR Bernard Berrian
48 1 WR DeSean Jackson
Reception Points + QB Heavy
# Tm Pos Player
1 1 RB Maurice Jones-Drew
2 2 RB Adrian Peterson
3 3 RB Ladainian Tomlinson
4 4 QB Drew Brees
5 5 RB Chris Johnson
6 6 RB Steven Jackson
7 7 RB Frank Gore
8 8 QB Tom Brady
9 9 WR Andre' Johnson
10 10 RB Steve Slaton
11 11 RB Matt Forte
12 12 WR Randy Moss
13 12 WR Larry Fitzgerald
14 11 WR Calvin Johnson
15 10 RB Michael Turner
16 9 RB Marion Barber
17 8 RB Brian Westbrook
18 7 WR Reggie Wayne
19 6 WR Greg Jennings
20 5 QB Peyton Manning
21 4 RB Clinton Portis
22 3 WR Roddy White
23 2 WR Steve Smith
24 1 QB Aaron Rodgers
25 1 RB Ronnie Brown
26 2 RB Darren McFadden
27 3 QB Kurt Warner
28 4 WR Dwayne Bowe
29 5 RB DeAngelo Williams
30 6 RB Ryan Grant
31 7 WR Marques Colston
32 8 WR Wes Welker
33 9 WR Chad OchoCinco
34 10 WR Anquan Boldin
35 11 QB Donovan McNabb
36 12 QB Philip Rivers
37 12 RB Kevin Smith
38 11 RB Knowshon Moreno
39 10 WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
40 9 RB Brandon Jacobs
41 8 RB Pierre Thomas
42 7 TE Antonio Gates
43 6 WR Laveranues Coles
44 5 WR Roy Williams
45 4 RB Reggie Bush
46 3 QB Carson Palmer
47 2 TE Jason Witten
48 1 WR Terrell Owens
Standard Performance
Taken Position
7 Quarterbacks
23 Running Backs
18 Wide Receivers
0 Tight Ends
Performance with Receptions Pts.
Taken Position
4 Quarterbacks
23 Running Backs
19 Wide Receivers
2 Tight Ends
Reception Points + QB Heavy
Taken Position
8 Quarterbacks
21 Running Backs
17 Wide Receivers
2 Tight Ends

No matter what the scoring system, it is almost always preferable to have 2 RBs before you make your fifth pick. This year you may be able to get away with it more, but it is just a sense of comfort to have your two starting RBs within the first four picks no matter what the scoring. The biggest difference between systems isn't just about the change in the amount of players in different positions but how quickly positions are addressed.

Standard Performance Scoring - This is the most common and it should look pretty familiar. Most drafts start out pretty heavy on RBs because they are high scoring and consistent. Wide outs are seeded in slowly for most teams at least until the fourth round because in this scoring most teams will prefer to have two RBs in the first three rounds. Quarterbacks are also more valuable in leagues without reception points and get a better value than when reception points are mixed in.

Performance Scoring with Reception Points - Quarterbacks fall back in value in this scoring because the receivers and even running backs move up with a point per reception. Wideouts tend to make it to the rosters faster but it's not like there are all that many more taken. They just may switch places from the previous scoring system by moving up a round while running backs drop back. Tight ends show up in this scoring and in past seasons have gone higher than what I did here.

Quarterback Heavy with Reception Points - Of course you can have a quarterback heavy scoring without reception points but in my experience the two seem to go hand in hand as a way to most break up the early rounds of drafts. Only 12 RBs go in the first two rounds compared to 16 and 14 in the previous two scorings. The two mega-studs of Brees and Brady almost always go in the first round while the rest may hang back until the league drains the initial tiers of running backs and wide receivers. In some leagues that favor quarterbacks, it can go even heavier on the position in early rounds.

This is a companion to Planning Your First Two Picks that only considers standard scoring. What is your experience or strategy? Have you ever played in a 2 QB league or one with six point passing scores?

The three types of scoring will dictate both how many and where of each position is drafted and you need to be aware at least generally of what to expect in your scoring system. Check out the mock drafts and especially any previous drafts for your league because mostly the names change from year to year - not when the positions are drafted.

Related Articles

Planning Your First Two Draft Picks
Strength of Schedule Swings
How Long Does a Stud Running Back Last?
Ulitmate Running Back By Committee Review
Ease of Schedule for Quarterbacks
Ease of Schedule for Running Backs
Ease of Schedule for Receivers
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