John Paulsen

Draft Analysis

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Scoring System Balance

Thursday, July 17, 2014

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.




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.




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.


continue story »
John Paulsen is the Senior Editor for He can be found on Twitter: @4for4_John
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