News & Analysis

Time to consider re-thinking QB fantasy scoring?

Dec 3, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

(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, columns, and podcasts you could find on the site that week.)

I don’t know if this idea is good. It came to me a couple days ago, and I know there are some problems with it, but I’m going to pitch it here and we’ll see what people think.

See, one of the things fantasy analysts have to deal with every year is exactly when to draft quarterbacks. Rookie fantasy players look at raw point totals and see that hey, quarterbacks put up massive point totals compared to every other position, let’s take that position early.

All points count the same in fantasy, but because every team starts the same number of quarterbacks, they aren’t worth as much as their raw totals might suggest, and as such, we have to step back and wonder where to bother with the position. It’s complicated and unwieldy and, to me, only exists because we settled on a scoring system once upon a time and haven’t been willing to change.

Here’s my suggestion.

I’m going to be discussing the majority of leagues here. If yours is creative and has already solved this problem, well hey, good job, scroll down to the links at the bottom. But for most leagues, as it stands now, quarterbacks get 0.04 points per passing yard, translating to 1 point per 25 yards. That’s 10 points for 250 yards, and it moves up or down from there based on other production. But doesn’t that overrate yards? A 10-point game from a skill player — scoring aside — is 100 yards, a monster game. A 10-point game from a quarterback is 250 yards, only slightly above “pedestrian.”

So cut it in half. 0.02 points per passing yard. One point per 50 yards. Yes, that means a quarterback has to get 500 yards for 10 points — exceedingly rare — but these guys make their bones on touchdown passes anyway. To help them make up the difference in PPR leagues, they get 0.1 points per completion.

How would that change things? Well, here are the 2017 top 30 finishers by this scoring system, rounded to the nearest whole number because I’m lazy:

1 Todd Gurley 382 RB1 11 Keenan Allen 277 WR3 21 Dak Prescott 244 QB7
2 Le'Veon Bell 343 RB2 12 LeSean McCoy 263 RB7 22 Matthew Stafford 242 QB8
3 Russell Wilson 315 QB1 13 Jarvis Landry 261 WR4 23 Adam Thielen 241 WR8
4 Alvin Kamara 313 RB3 14 Larry Fitzgerald 260 WR5 24 Tyreek Hill 241 WR9
5 DeAndre Hopkins 311 WR1 15 Michael Thomas 259 WR6 25 Travis Kelce 236 TE1
6 Antonio Brown 305 WR2 16 Alex Smith 255 QB3 26 Carlos Hyde 234 RB8
7 Kareem Hunt 296 RB4 17 Kirk Cousins 253 QB4 27 Christian McCaffrey 230 RB9
8 Melvin Gordon 287 RB5 18 Tom Brady 253 QB5 28 A.J. Green 229 WR10
9 Mark Ingram 281 RB6 19 Julio Jones 252 WR7 29 Philip Rivers 228 QB9
10 Cam Newton 279 QB2 20 Carson Wentz 247 QB6 30 Leonard Fournette 228 RB10

Other recent years yield similarly pleasing (to me) ranking systems. Logically, doesn’t this make sense? The top 30 yields 10 running backs, 10 wide receivers, 9 quarterbacks, and a tight end. Yes, we could work a little on getting tight ends in there, but otherwise, isn’t that aesthetically pleasing as hell? It certainly pleases my aesthetics.

Obvious caveat here: Yes, this would further overrate rushing QBs like Cam Newton. I don’t have a good solution for that. But absent that, I feel like this is a scoring system we should consider.

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