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Fantasy Points | Fantasy Football Points Scoring Systems

By Jared Smola | May 2023

Understanding how fantasy points are scored, your league’s scoring system, and how it impacts player values are key to winning.

How fantasy points are scored really varies from league to league. But there are some umbrella formats that cover most of the fantasy football leagues you’ll encounter:

Points Per Reception (PPR) Non-PPR Half-PPR
1 point for each reception

Most played format
NO points for the reception itself

Often called "Standard Scoring"
0.5 point for each reception
 

Points Per Reception (PPR)

PPR stands for “point per reception” and refers to just that. 

In this format, each offensive player gets 1 fantasy point for each reception.

PPR has become the most played of the three fantasy football points scoring systems mentioned above.

Non-PPR (often called “standard scoring”)

This format gives no points for the reception itself. This is how fantasy football scoring began, which is why you’ll often see/hear it referred to as “standard” scoring.

Our research has shown that PPR scoring is now more common.

Half-PPR

This has emerged more recently, and is just what you’re probably thinking it is.

Half-PPR awards half a point per reception. This is basically a compromise between:

  1. The belief that non-PPR leans too heavily on TDs, which tend to be less predictable than opportunities or yards. 
  2. The belief that full PPR scoring favors receptions too much. The primary complaint here is point per reception applying the same whether the player catches a pass for a loss of 2 yards or a gain of 50. (We’ll talk about yardage scoring more in a minute.)

  

There’s no right or wrong fantasy football points scoring system

You just need to make sure you understand the nuances of the format in which you’re playing. And how that fantasy points scoring system affects player values in your particular league.

That’s why we’ve built the Draft War Room to sync directly to your team in your specific league and import all those scoring and lineup settings.

The result: Those nuances are built right into every player recommendation the DWR gives you on draft day.

Beyond draft day, that same sync will power your Team Intel page and keep all the nuances in the fantasy points calculations that help you set your weekly lineup.

  

Reception Points Variations – Fantasy Football Points Scoring Systems

You might encounter formats that score receptions differently than any of those listed above. That may include varying reception scoring by position.

In any such case, rest assured that your Draft War Room is flexible enough to handle the variations.

Fantasy Points for Yardage

Most fantasy football formats award fantasy points for yards gained by any offensive player. The most common format is 0.1 points per rushing or receiving yard, also displayed as 1 point per 10 yards rushing or receiving.

There’s room for variation from that setting, and your Draft War Room has the flexibility to adjust to your league’s specific yardage settings.

Common bonus scoring rules

Some leagues feature yardage bonuses, whereby a player would accrue bonus points for reaching a certain threshold within a single game – such as 100 yards rushing or receiving.

Scoring for passing yards works a little differently, because that category nearly always produces bigger fantasy points. So you’ll most commonly see 1 point awarded for every 20 or 25 passing yards. These settings can also be displayed as 0.05 or 0.04 points per passing yard.

Just like with rushing and receiving, you’ll sometimes find fantasy-point bonuses at play here – often for a player reaching 300 yards passing in a single game.

Because of these bonuses, we actually include in our preseason projections the expected number of 100-yard rushing, 100-yard receiving, and 300-yard passing games for every player.

This gives you a sense of which players will be more or less helped by such bonuses

Leagues with bonus scoring often include further bonuses for higher thresholds, such as 200 yards rushing or receiving and 400 yards passing.

Because that level of production is much rarer, we don’t project those specific categories. 

But a player with an above-average projection for 100-yard rushing/receiving games or 300-yard passing games will generally be more likely to hit the higher bonuses as well.

Fantasy Points for TDs

No matter your overall scoring format, TDs are bound to play a large role – just as they do in actual football games.

But fantasy scoring for TDs is a little different.

Most fantasy football point scoring systems will award 6 points for any rushing or receiving TD. That’s logical, given that each play is worth 6 points in real football. 

The scoring for passing TDs varies a bit more, however.

Although some leagues give a full 6 fantasy points for every passing TD, the more common format awards 4 fantasy points per passing TD.

The primary goal of this setting is to remove a bit of the weekly scoring clout from QBs. The league leaders in TD passes commonly accrue 3-4 times as many scoring throws for the season as the leaders in rushing and receiving TDs.

TD Bonus Points

Some fantasy football leagues will offer scoring bonuses for TDs from longer distances – rushing, receiving and/or passing.

We factor that into our preseason projections, weighting players more likely to deliver long-distance scores when your settings include such bonuses.

Return TDs

TDs scored on kickoff or punt returns are usually included in team Defense/Special Teams (DST) totals.

Such a play is commonly worth 6 fantasy points in most popular fantasy scoring formats. In most cases, those return TDs also award 6 points to the individual player.

Such scoring plays are fairly rare. The 2022 NFL season, for example, included just 9 kick- or punt-return TDs among 542 team games.

And though there are exceptions, most teams’ primary returners don’t play prominent roles on offense. So this aspect of fantasy football point scoring systems doesn’t come into play much and should rarely be included in your team/lineup planning.

Fantasy Points for Return Yards

Where the return game can factor in more is in fantasy football leagues that award fantasy points for return yardage.

In case you play in a league that counts return yards, we include them in our preseason projections.

Fantasy Points on Fumbles

On rare occasions, fumble returns can also sneak into offensive scoring.

If a player advances a teammate’s fumble into the end zone, he’ll usually accrue just the 6 fantasy points for the TD; nothing for the yardage included in the run.

2-point Conversions

A post-TD play that results in a 2-point conversion most commonly awards 2 fantasy points to any player who runs for, makes the catch or throws the pass that results in the successful try.

On a pass, that means both the passer and the receiver getting credit.

Fantasy points are not usually awarded for the yardage, reception, carry, or completion on such plays.

Other Scoring Categories

Carries/Completions

Some fantasy football points scoring systems award points for player carries (also called rushing attempts) and/or completed passes.

Those aspects would clearly add value to high-volume rushers and passers, respectively.

Negative Scoring

Given that your player gets fantasy points for yardage gained, it would make sense that he loses points for yardage lost.

Beyond that, the most common sources of negative scoring are turnover plays: interceptions (INTs) and fumbles.

The number of points removed can vary by league. INTs most commonly cost a QB something in the range of 1-3 points.

A fumble is usually only counted if the fumbling team loses the ball to the other team. If your player’s fumble is recovered by his own team, the gaffe oftentimes won’t be reflected in the player’s fantasy score.

Some fantasy football leagues also penalize a QB’s score for sacks taken. Some also include yardage lost via sacks.

The latter is rare, but beware of the extra downside risk if you play in such a format.

IDP Scoring

Individual Defensive Players obviously use a much different set of scoring categories than their offensive counterparts.

The most common IDP scoring categories include:

  • Solo tackles
  • Assists (or assisted tackles)
  • Sacks
  • Passes defensed (or pass breakups – often abbreviated as PDs or PBUs)
  • Interceptions
  • Fumbles forced
  • Fumbles recovered
  • Defensive TDs
  • Blocked kicks
  • Safeties

Safeties and blocked kicks rarely happen but are normally worth 2 points apiece to the player who accomplishes either. Defensive TDs are most often worth 6 points, with some leagues also awarding points for the yards gained on fumble/INT returns.

The remaining categories offer plenty of room for scoring variation by league, with other stat categories offering even more room for creativity.

Final Thought

Whatever fantasy football points scoring system you use, one thing is constant: You can’t just draft players based on their projected total fantasy points for 2023. There is so much more to determining actual player values for your draft.  “Our Draft War Room will identify the top value (not just the “top fantasy points scorer”) at every pick in your draft.  Learn about the 17 value indicators we measure for you at every pick of your draft.

Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

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