Know Your League

2012-08-02 23:57:03
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Drew Brees led QBs in scoring

A key to being a top fantasy owner is knowing your league scoring. It is a good plan to have an idea of what each position brings scoring wise for your league format. You don't want to field an average fantasy team, but knowing what average is, can be the difference between finishing first and last. Knowing your fantasy football scoring inside and out can be a huge difference maker for owners.

Using the rules for our High Stakes Leagues on RealTime Fantasy Sports, we came up with the average scores you should expect from each position, using last year's stats. This is a great way to formulate your draft strategy for the coming season. We broke down each position average, and how that should impact your draft. Remember, every league's rules are different, but this format is pretty similar to what most leagues are running these days.

Here is a breakdown of the scoring rules. Quarterbacks get four points per touchdown pass and minus a point for every interception. The rest of the touchdowns scored are worth six points a piece. Yardage for quarterbacks is 0.05 points per yard.

The rest of the yardage totals are 0.1 points per yard. Players also get a point per reception (PPR), which gives receivers a little more value, but is more of the norm these days. Defenses/special teams get points for takeaways, sacks and are rewarded for allowing 10 or fewer points. Starting lineups are comprised of a quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, flex spot (RB or WR), kicker and defense.

With those rules in place, the average scores for the starting positions are below:

Pos	Avg	Total Pts
QB	23.08	369.2
RB 1	16.08	268.8
RB 2	12.20	195.1
RB 3	9.21	147.3
WR 1	17.31	276.9
WR 2	13.32	213.1
WR 3	11.12	177.9
TE	13.07	209.1
K	9.88	158.1
DEF	8.60	137.5

Quarterback

Drew Brees led the quarterbacks in scoring last season, averaging 28.91 points per game, which was just a few tenths of a point better than Aaron Rodgers (28.13). There was a bit of a disparity between the elite quarterbacks and the run of the mill No. 1s last season, which is a little different than past seasons at the position. Five quarterbacks averaged between 25 and 29 points per game last season. But after those top guys, there were 11 players that averaged between 16 and 23 points. So if you had a No. 1 that averaged 18 points per game last season, which was very possible, you were at almost a two touchdown disadvantage with the team that had Brees. This disparity could cause the elite guys to go even sooner this year. The top QBs can be difference makers these days in a pass-first league.

But if you don't get one of those elite guys, the numbers show you can wait on a quarterback and do just fine. The 16th rated quarterback (Andy Dalton) wasn't much different than the seventh rated (Tony Romo). The difference is 4.75 points per game, which isn't even a touchdown. So you might as well load up on other positions if you miss out on an elite quarterback early. It is a strategy that makes sense.

Running Back

Just like every season, last year showed having the elite fantasy backs can make a big difference for fantasy teams. The top scorer (Ray Rice) averaged 23.55 points per game, which was about a touchdown over the No. 1 average running back (16.08 per game) and nearly 10 points more than the 12th rated back (Michael Bush). So obviously, the teams that had Rice and LeSean McCoy (only backs that averaged more than 20 points per game) had a big advantage over the rest of their league mates as both players were the best of the best. Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew also averaged more than 19 points per game, giving us just four players that averaged between 19 and 24 points. The fifth rated back averaged 17.33 points per game, which was a decent drop off from the top four.

After the top four backs, most of the No. 1 backs had similar numbers. The 12th rated back averaged 14.03 points per game, about 2.05 points less than the No. 1 average back. There were nine backs that averaged between 13 and 16 points. There isn't a huge disparity with those numbers.

The No. 2 RB spot didn't have much separation. The top scorer (Reggie Bush) and last guy in the group (Willis McGahee) were separated by just 3.39 points. That isn't a huge difference, which is why if you can nab another top rated back early come draft day, it is probably a smart move. There are a lot of ho-hum options after the top guys are gone. You have to remember there aren't a ton of backs getting a heavy workload these days as many teams are pass first or use a two-back system. This makes the running back position as valuable as ever.

Receiver

The most surprising data out of all of this might be that the No. 1 receiver spot had a higher average per player (17.31) than the No. 1 running back position (16.08). Having those elite receivers can really make a difference in the pass-first NFL. Calvin Johnson (22.58) and Wes Welker (21.05) led the way at receiver, being the only two players to average more than 20 points per game. The next closest receiver was Victor Cruz, who averaged 18.12 points per game. That is a decent gap between the third and second spot at receiver. So acting early on a receiver in your draft isn't a bad idea, especially in those PPR leagues. You don't want to wait too long before getting your No. 1, especially since a drop off happens fairly quick with the 12th rated receiver having 7.76 points fewer than the first rated.

The position is deep, though. The No. 2 receiver spot averaged 13.32 points per game, which is about four points fewer than the average No. 1. This isn't a huge disparity between spots. There were 12 receivers that finished between 12 and 14 points per game. And 36 receivers in all averaged more than 10 points per game. Once you get past the elite guys, the position gets fairly watered down. This is another good reason to go early for the top guys as they are few and far between.

The receiver spot used to be a position to wait on come draft day, but that just isn't the case right now. The elite guys bring too much value and are all worth taking in the first few rounds of your draft. It is a different day and age in fantasy with PPR leagues being so prevalent.

Tight End

The tight end position remains top heavy but last season proved those guys at the top can really carry a fantasy teams. Rob Gronkowski had maybe the best season ever for a tight end, averaging 20.68 points per game, which ranked him right behind Calvin Johnson and Wes Welker at receiver. Gronkowski produced like one of the elite receivers in the game. Jimmy Graham wasn't much behind at tight end, averaging 18.5 points per game. Gronkowski and Graham were the clear elite players at tight end, averaging almost a full touchdown more than the third place finisher (Aaron Hernandez).

The No. 1 tight end spot averaged 13.07 points per game, which was about the same as the No. 2 receiver position. So when trying to figure out when to take a starting tight end, this is a pretty good gauge. If you want an elite guy, though, you'll have to act early. These guys proved last year they can single handily carry a fantasy team to the playoffs. The tight end spot isn't a throwaway position anymore.

Just keep in mind that after the top five scoring tight ends last season, nine guys averaged between nine and 12 points. The gap between those guys was minimal, so waiting some after the elite guys are gone is probably a good idea.

Kicker

As always, the kicker position is a great example of a position you can wait several rounds to fill unless for some reason, your league is big on kicker scoring. David Akers led all kickers with 202 points, averaging 12.68 points per game. He had one of the best fantasy seasons in recent years for a kicker. Akers actually had a little separation from the second rated kicker (John Kasay), scoring a little more than two points per game than Kasay. But after Akers, the separation at kicker was minimal. As mentioned, Kasay was second, averaging 10.29 points per game. Steven Hauschka was 18th at kicker and was just 2.28 points behind Kasay. That margin is minimal, especially if you consider the big gap in ranking.

Kickers are a dime a dozen for fantasy teams, so don't be the team to reach too early for one. You are better served trying to acquire depth at key positions like running back or receiver. You can find a quality kicker with the last pick in your draft or even on the waiver wire.

Defense/Special Teams

Defense/special teams are similar to the kicker spot, at least in most formats. The Lions were the top scoring defense last season, averaging 9.88 points per game. But, including the Lions, a whopping 14 teams averaged between seven and 10 points per week. The average No. 1 defense scored 8.6 points per game, which is not even two points less than the top scoring team. If you don't get the Lions or whoever you have rated tops on your board this season, you might as well wait to fill out your roster. The scoring difference is minimal at the defense position. Again, know your league scoring. Every league is different, so defenses could be much more valuable in your league but that isn't the case in this scoring format.

In closing . . .

Know your league scoring. Not everyone has the time to break everything down like this article, but you can get an idea by doing a little homework before your draft. We suggest you have an idea of what each position average should be for your team and formulate a draft strategy from that. The scoring in this league is pretty similar to many standard leagues, so hopefully you get an idea of position importance for your impending draft.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com

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