Fantasy Football

Differences in Fantasy Football Scoring

Knowing your scoring system is essential to preparing for your fantasy football draft and succeeding during the season. There are many different scoring systems that leagues use. Standard scoring does not grant a point for each catch, and in some leagues, quarterback touchdowns are worth four points instead of six. Many leagues award a point per reception (PPR), while others may choose to give half a point for each reception. While these differences may seem minimal in some cases, each scoring system significantly affects each player’s value.

Standard Scoring

In standard scoring leagues, a much greater significance is placed on running backs. This is true for two main reasons. The first is that the gap in point totals between running backs and pass-catchers is greater when wide receivers and tight ends are not awarded any points for a catch. The second is that on some websites, quarterbacks are only awarded four points for a passing touchdown rather than six. These factors elevate running backs to elite status in traditional scoring leagues. Getting at least one or, ideally, two high-end running backs is necessary for success in these leagues.

Here is how a standard scoring league on ESPN award points:


Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends

  • 6 points per rushing or receiving TD
  • 6 points for a player returning kick/punt for TD
  • 6 points for a player returning or recovering a fumble for TD
  • 4 points per passing TD
  • 2 points per rushing or receiving 2-point conversion 
  • 2 points per passing 2-point conversion
  • 1 point per 10 yards rushing or receiving
  • 1 point per 25 yards passing

Bonus Points

  • 2 points per rushing or receiving TD of 40 yards or more
  • 2 points per passing TD of 40 yards or more

Penalty Points

  • -2 points per intercepted pass
  • -2 points per fumble lost


  • 5 points per 50+ yard FG made
  • 4 points per 40-49-yard FG made
  • 3 points per FG made, 39 yards or less
  • 2 points per rushing, passing, or receiving 2-point conversion
  • 1 point per Extra Point made

Penalty Points

  • -2 points per missed FG (0-39 yds)
  • -1 point per missed FG (40-49 yds)

Defensive/Special Teams (D)

  • 3 points per defensive or special teams TD
  • 2 points per interception
  • 2 points per fumble recovery
  • 2 points per blocked punt, PAT, or FG 
  • 2 points per safety
  • 1 point per sack

Four Points vs. Six Points for QB Touchdowns

Not every league uses a standard scoring system. Some leagues could be non-PPR but award six points for passing touchdowns. Another league might be PPR but only awards four points for a passing touchdown. Four points vs. six points for passing touchdowns is significant not only in relation to other positions, but also in relation to different quarterbacks.

For example, the majority of Patrick Mahomes’ touchdowns in a given season will be passing touchdowns. Conversely, a large percentage of Lamar Jackson’s touchdowns will be rushing TDs. In a league that awards six points for a passing TD, rushing and passing touchdowns are equal. Both receive six points. But in a league that awards four points for passing touchdowns, the two TDs are not equal, which gives a QB that has a lot of rushing touchdowns an advantage over one that does not.

With six points for passing TDs, Patrick Mahomes is comfortably the top-ranked quarterback in fantasy. But when those points go down to four, Lamar Jackson has a good case for number one, and all rushing quarterbacks should be moved up your draft board.

zero rb strategy

Point Per Reception (PPR)

PPR leagues have risen in popularity recently, as they even the playing field for pass-catchers and running backs. Running backs catch the ball too, though, so pass-catching backs should move up your draft board accordingly. PPR is pretty straightforward, as anyone expected to make a lot of receptions drastically moves up the draft board.

In a PPR league, you can also consider using the zero RB strategy. Zero RB can be a viable way to gain value on draft day, but it is much harder, if not impossible, to pull off this strategy in a standard league where running backs reign supreme.

Half PPR

Half PPR is difficult to judge. It can be easy to make a distinction in full PPR, as wide receivers and tight ends rise up in value as running backs fall. But in half PPR, it can be difficult to judge without doing some research. If your league has a history, look at last season’s results, and if you can, compare them to results with full PPR and with non-PPR.

As a general rule, running backs go down slightly in value, while pass-catchers increase by half the value they normally would have in a full PPR league. Zero RB could still be viable in a half-PPR league.

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