(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and recap the features and columns you could find on the site that week.)
The first fantasy football league (or at least, one of the first) was a TD-only league. Score a touchdown? Get points. Run the ball from the 1 to the opposing 1 and get tackles? Get no points. Over time, that changed. Yards mattered. Turnovers. Fractional scoring. PPR. Half-point PPR. Points for first downs. Points for field goals and more points for longer ones.
The fantasy game is always evolving. Sometimes it’s a small evolution, like adding a flex. Sometimes it’s a big one, like adding a superflex. But the game is never complete.
So with that in mind, there’s the next evolution in fantasy football scoring that I’ve been considering for about a year now: Tiered scoring. Different scoring systems for a team’s RB1 versus RB2, and WR1 versus WR2. That sort of thing.
Fantasy football is great. I obviously think so. But at the same time, it can be frustrating. Take my primary league of 2017. I loved my roster. The last three weeks of the regular season and my first playoff matchup (after a bye), I put up four of the six highest weekly scores across the league all year. Things were going great.
And then in the finals, I faced a sixth-place, squeaked-into-the-playoffs team who had … Todd Gurley. You can probably guess how that turned out.
That’s not unfair, not by any means. But the finals came down to (if I do say so myself) the best fantasy team in our league against the best single player. It went that way all around fantasy. Per NFL.com, Gurley was on 47.1 percent of championship teams. And that’s fine, but that isn’t building a roster. That’s a lottery ticket. If you had Gurley, maybe Alvin Kamara last year, odds are you won. It was that way with David Johnson in 2016, Cam Newton the year before that. Great. That’s winning a scratch-off ticket. I prefer games that (I think) take a bit more skill.
So I’m not sure how it would break down exactly. Maybe you select two running backs and two receivers, and the top scorer that week gets 0.05 points per yard, and the No. 2 scorer gets 0.1. Maybe you declare them ahead of time. Maybe … I don’t know. But I’d like to see a fantasy game that rewards the most well-built rosters, and not one that rewards “Oh, your roster is fine, I guess, but look at THAT GUY.”
It’s an incomplete idea, and I don’t know, maybe ultimately a stupid one. But in a game that is ever-volatile, ever-changing, it’s the next evolutionary step I’d like to see.
- The entire PFF Fantasy team has continued its look at the ideal moves each team could make for its roster this offseason to maximize its fantasy potential. The trek is through the Vikings
- Scott Barrett looked back on the most notable statistical trends of 2017 for fantasy, trying to explain why receivers’ numbers fell off and the running backs jumped up.
- The Colts hiring Frank Reich after the Josh McDaniels pump-fake wrapped up the offseason coaching changes, so Michael Moore looked at the fantasy winners and losers from all the moves.
- A week after looking at the best offensive lines in giving running backs yards before contact, Jeff Ratcliffe looked at the inverse — how each defense performed in limiting yards before contact. The two studies together make for an excellent look at fantasy running back matchups.
- Scott Barrett’s Metrics that Matter series looked at two quarterbacks from 2017 (the small-sample electricity of Deshaun Watson and the home/road polarization of Ben Roethlisberger), plus rookie sensation Alvin Kamara,
- Sometimes what looks like a breakout is just a career year. Walton Spurlin offered up some thoughts on 2017 big performances that might turn out to be one-hit wonders.
- Scott Spratt’s Yards Added research culminated in a look at gauging receiver ability based on how teams defend that receiver. To tie it up, he offered up some smaller interesting takeaways from the work.
- Daniel Kelley looked at receiving touchdown luck from 2017, on both sides of the coin — players who scored more often than you’d expect, and ones who struggled to find the end zone — in search of regression candidates.