Your official week 9 fantasy football lineup rankings
For this week's topic, I'd like to delve into something that can stir up a bit of controversy within the fantasy community. Standard leagues vs. PPR leagues, which is the fairer scoring system?
As the fantasy season unfolds, one of my objectives is to try and figure out, once and for all, which scoring system is the fairest. In other words, I’m looking for a scoring system that rewards all players equally, and is as evenly split as possible among each position.
In typical leagues, the QB is the king of fantasy scoring. This makes sense, of course, considering the passing nature of the league, and the fact that QBs touch the ball on virtually every play. Of course, in fantasy, all scoring is relative, and it’s much more important to know the difference in scoring between each player than it is to simply look at total points. That makes a Value Based Scoring system (VBS) an important method to utilize, especially when constructing your roster. Very simply, to effectively use a VBS, you can simply create a baseline at each position, based on the number of players started in your league. For example, in a 10 team league that starts 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WR, 1 TE, and 1 FLEX (RB/WR), you would take the 10th ranked QB, either the 25th or 30th ranked RB and WR (based on how you want to evaluate the additional FLEX starters), and the 10th ranked TE and give those players a new value of zero. Last year, in a standard league, Tony Romo finished 10th at QB, averaging 21.5 fantasy points per game. His new score would be zero. Aaron Rodgers, who finished 1st with a 30.4 average, would then be worth 8.9 VBS (30.4-21.5). At RB, Mike Tolbert finished 25th with a 10.2 avg. Arian Foster, who ranked 1st, would have a VBS of 9.5, making him .6 PPG better than Aaron Rodgers. Calvin Johnson, the #1 WR, finished with a VBS of 7.7.
But the VBS is best used to help you prepare for a draft, and to help analyze your team’s effectiveness. What I’m looking for is the best system to minimize the need to figure out a VBS. Using 2012 year-to-date data, I want to see if there’s a scoring system that fairly represents all players, and eliminates the scoring inflation we routinely see in relation to QBs.
Standard Scoring (1 point- 20 pass yds/10 rush yds/10 rec yds; 4 points- Passing TD; 6 points- Rush/Rec TD. Minimum 6 games played). All totals are in Points Per Game.
1. Drew Brees- 28.8 2. Matt Ryan- 26.2 3. Aaron Rodgers- 25.6 4. Robert Griffin- 25.6 5. Peyton Manning- 25.0 6. Tom Brady- 24.7 7. Matthew Stafford- 23.3 8. Andrew Luck- 23.3 9. Ben Roethlisbeger- 22.8 10. Michael Vick- 22.6 11. Andy Dalton- 22.2 12. Cam Newton- 22.1 13. Josh Freeman- 21.4 14. Tony Romo- 21.1 15. Eli Manning- 20.5 16. Carson Palmer- 20.2 17. Ryan Fitzpatrick- 20.2 18. Joe Flacco- 19.5 19. Arian Foster- 19.1 20. Alex Smith- 18.0 21. Christian Ponder- 17.9 22. Philip Rivers- 17.8 23. Kevin Kolb- 17.7 24. Jay Cutler- 17.4 25. Matt Schaub- 17.4 26. Matt Cassel- 17.3 27. Brandon Weeden- 17.0 28. Sam Bradford- 16.7 29. Mark Sanchez- 16.0 30. Russell Wilson- 15.8
29 of the 30 names on that list are QBs, with the only exception being Arian Foster, who ranks 19th. Ray Rice would be #31 with an avg of 15.3, and AJ Green would be the 1st WR represented at 32 with an avg of 15.2. Yet, if we use VBS, we’d find that Arian Foster has a value of 9.4, while Drew Brees only has a value of 6.2. AJ Green’s current VBS would be 7.0, while Rob Gronkowski, the top TE, would have a VBS of 5.9.
What many leagues do to try and curtail the skewed scoring is to add a point per reception. By simply adding a PPR to the mix, you’ll find that scoring changes drastically.
PPR Scoring (1 point- 20 pass yds/10 rush yds/10 rec yds; 4 points- Passing TD; 6 points- Rush/Rec TD; 1 point- Reception. Minimum 6 games played). All totals are in Points Per Game.
1. Drew Brees- 28.8 2. Matt Ryan- 26.2 3. Aaron Rodgers- 25.6 4. Robert Griffin- 25.6 5. Peyton Manning- 25.0 6. Tom Brady- 24.7 7. Matthew Stafford- 23.3 8. Andrew Luck- 23.3 9. Ben Roethlisbeger- 22.8 10. Michael Vick- 22.6 11. Andy Dalton- 22.2 12. Cam Newton- 22.1 13. AJ Green- 21.5 14. Josh Freeman- 21.4 15. Tony Romo- 21.1 16. Arian Foster- 20.8 17. Eli Manning- 20.5 18. Reggie Wayne- 20.2 19. Brandon Marshall- 20.2 20. Carson Palmer- 20.2 21. Ryan Fitzpatrick- 20.2 22. Victor Cruz- 19.9 23. Percy Harvin- 19.7 24. Joe Flacco- 19.5 25. Ray Rice- 19.4 26. Demaryius Thomas- 18.8 27. Marques Colston- 18.3 28. Wes Welker- 18.2 29. Alex Smith- 18.0 30. Rob Gronkowski- 17.9
We’re definitely headed in right direction. 20 QBs still appear within the top 30, and it’s not until #13 overall that our first non-QB appears, in AJ Green. 7 WRs appear on this list, while only 2 RBs are represented. There is good news for TEs as Rob Gronkowski squeaks onto this list at #30.
Using VBS, our numbers for the top at each position look like this.
Drew Brees- 6.2 VBS
Arian Foster- 8.4 VBS
AJ Green- 7.1 VBS
Rob Gronkowski- 7.5 VBS
Arian Foster’s VBS stands out again, but not quite as dramatically. Rob Gronkowski, and the TE position made the biggest jump in relevancy. And we should also consider that Foster has rightly been the best player in fantasy this year, making him a bit of an outlier. If we look at Ray Rice, who’s #2 at RB, we’ll see that his VBS is 7.0, fitting nicely in line with the other scores.
For my last example, I’m going to make just a few minor tweaks, changing the passing yardage totals from 1 point for every 20 yards to 1 for every 25, and adding in -2 points per turnover.
Modified PPR scoring (1 point- 25 pass yds/10 rush yds/10 rec yds; 4 points- Passing TD; 6 points- Rush/Rec TD; 1 point- Reception; -2 points per turnover. Minimum 6 games played). All totals are in Points Per Game.
1. Drew Brees- 23.2 2. Robert Griffin- 22.3 3. Aaron Rodgers- 21.7 4. AJ Green- 21.5 5. Matt Ryan- 21.3 6. Tom Brady- 20.9 7. Arian Foster- 20.8 8. Peyton Manning- 20.6 9. Brandon Marshall- 20.2 10. Reggie Wayne- 20.0 11. Victor Cruz- 19.9 12. Percy Harvin- 19.7 13. Ray Rice- 19.4 14. Ben Roethlisberger- 18.9 15. Matthew Stafford- 18.3 16. Marques Colston- 18.0 17. Demaryius Thomas- 18.0 18. Wes Welker- 18.0 19. Jordy Nelson- 17.6 20. Roddy White- 17.6 21. Rob Gronkwoski- 17.6 22. Vincent Jackson- 17.4 23. Josh Freeman- 17.4 24. Andrew Luck- 17.3 25. Adrian Peterson- 17.1 26. LeSean McCoy- 16.8 27. Doug Martin- 16.7 28. Eric Decker- 16.6 29. Julio Jones- 16.6 30. Tony Gonzalez- 16.6
While the top of the list is still somewhat dominated by the elite QBs, quite frankly, that represents a truer version of today’s NFL, as does the impact of WRs compared with RBs. There are fewer workhorse RBs in the NFL than ever before, and in my opinion, this list does a decent job of representing that fact. In total, 10 QBs make this list, along with 5 RBs, 13 WRs, and 2 TEs.
However, does this final list truly even out the scoring value for all positions?
Drew Brees- 5.9 VBS
Arian Foster- 8.8 VBS (Ray Rice- 7.4 VBS)
AJ Green- 7.2 VBS
Rob Gronkowski- 7.2 VBS
While this method had evened out the total scoring, and has seemed to level the playing field among RBs, WRs, and TEs, the actual value of QBs have still been diminished. But is continuing to adjust the scoring going to have an impact on leveling the playing field, or are we going to have to think a little more outside the box?
If we make one more tiny adjustment, without doing anything else with the scoring, you’ll see that we can level the playing field with a simple change in the rules. Most leagues only start 1 QB. However, if we change to a 2 QB system, the true value of QBs begins to match the true value of all other positions. By switching to a 2 QB league, while all of the RB, WR, and TE data will remain the same, the QB VBS is impacted as follows…
1. Drew Brees- 9.0 VBS
2. Robert Griffin- 8.1 VBS
3. Aaron Rodgers- 7.5 VBS
4. Matt Ryan- 7.1 VBS
5. Tom Brady- 6.7 VBS
In summation, next year, if you’re looking to participate in the fairest scoring league that does the best job of evening the values of all skill players, consider these changes, including a switch to a 2 QB league. Who knows? The switch may make your fantasy football experience even more enjoyable.
If you have any additional comments or questions about which league you prefer, or questions about your week 9 lineup, please leave your comments below.
Week 9 Upgrades- (weekly ranking)
QB- Cam Newton (4), Ben Roethlisberger (5), Michael Vick (7)
RB- Doug Martin (4), Trent Richardson (6), Reggie Bush (9), Pierre Thomas (15), Jonathan Stewart (21)
WR- Denarius Moore (5), Steve Smith (8), Larry Fitzgerald (11), Randall Cobb (19), Cecil Shorts (36)
TE- Heath Miller (3), Jermaine Gresham (8)
K- Connor Barth (4)
DST- Seattle (3)
Week 9 Downgrades
QB- Drew Brees (3), Matt Ryan (8), Tony Romo (16)
RB- Adrian Peterson (8), Darren McFadden (12), Chris Johnson (19), Ahmad Bradshaw (29- injured)
WR- Percy Harvin (12), Julio Jones (13), Roddy White (15), Hakeem Nicks (24)
TE- Tony Gonzalez (4), Kyle Rudolph (12)
DST- New York Giants (14)