Scoring Settings Analysis – QBs January 12, 2012  |  gregsauce

As the commissioner of multiple leagues and a participant in many other leagues, I’ve run the whole gamut when it comes to league settings. In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at the differences between leagues with various scoring settings for quarterbacks. For this exercise, I’m going to assume the following standard scoring settings:

• 25 passing yards = 1 point
• 10 rushing yards = 1 point
• Rushing TD = 6 points
• 10 receiving yards = 1 point
• Receiving TD = 6 points
• 2-pt conversion = 2 points (Rocket science, I know.)
• Fumble lost = -2 points

We’re going to look at what happens to QB scoring when passing touchdowns are worth 4, 5, or 6 points, as well as what happens when interceptions are worth 0, -1, and -2 points. This data will be most useful to those who play in 2-QB leagues, but there are trends for the top 15 QBs as well.

The image and spreadsheet linked below show the total and per-game points scored by QBs for each league setting combination in 2011.

WARNING: If you suffer from Arithmophobia, DO NOT click the thumbnail or link below. Just click the back button on your browser and go find some YouTube videos of kittens or something. No hard feelings.

Scoring Settings Analysis – QB

Some quick notes on navigating the spreadsheet:
1. The first tab amasses all the statistics, then calculates total fantasy points and fantasy points per game, but does not rank the players based on these numbers.
2. The second tab ranks the players by fantasy points per game under each possible scoring setup.
3. The third tab ranks the players by total fantasy points under each possible scoring setup.
4. The fourth tab is the same as the second tab, except the players are color-coded for easier identification of trends between scoring setups.

Fantasy Points per Game Trends:
• No matter what setup your league used, there is a clear tier of QBs in the top five. Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Newton, and Stafford were the cream of the crop in 2011. Each of them averaged at least 3 more fantasy points per game than the #6 QB for all possible scoring setting combinations.

• The next tier is equally well-defined with Tony Romo, Michael Vick, and Eli Manning taking spots 6 through 8 for every scoring setup. Romo comes in at #6 for all leagues except for those with 4 points per passing touchdown and no points for interceptions. As you might expect, Manning fared better in leagues that valued passing TDs (6 & 5 points per) and Vick was the better scorer in 4pts/TD league, where his rushing stats had a higher relative value.

• No matter what the scoring settings, Matt Ryan was the #9 QB in fantasy points per game. Philip Rivers would have been the #10 QB in all formats, but his unusually high interception total dragged him down in 4/TD, -2/INT leagues, where he finished 11th.

• Tarvaris Jackson, Sam Bradford, and Blaine Gabbert were absolutely terrible this season, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.

• Quarterbacks who ran the ball like Newton, Vick, Tebow, and Freeman performed better in leagues where passing touchdowns counted for less. Newton illustrates this best as he was the #5 QB in 6/PassTD leagues, #4 in 5/PassTD leagues, and #3 in 4/PassTD leagues, regardless of what interceptions cost you. The lesson here is that if your league awards 6 points per passing TD, you’re usually better off with “pure passer” QBs than the scramblers.

• After the top 10 QBs, the value of interceptions really shapes the rankings. As the penalty for INTs increases, so does the value of passers who protect the football. Examples of this in 2011 were Tebow, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, and Ben Roethlisberger. Smith and Cutler seem likely to regress somewhat toward their career interception rates, but Big Ben could be a nice value in -2/INT leagues next year, assuming he’s back to 100%.

• On the flip side, QBs who frequently gave the ball away slide down the rankings as the penalty for INTs increases. Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, and John Skelton all fit this description, but the best example is Rex Grossman. In leagues where interceptions were 0 points, Grossman was the #21 or #22 QB in points per game. In leagues with -1/INT, he was the #24 or #25 QB. In leagues with -2/INT, Grossman dropped all the way to #27. Gross, man.

So what does all this mean for 2012? For starters, we have a pretty easy baseline for the top ten quarterbacks:

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Drew Brees
3. Tom Brady
4. Cam Newton
5. Matthew Stafford
6. Tony Romo
7. Michael Vick
8. Eli Manning
9. Matt Ryan
10. Philip Rivers

You can move the names around depending on a number of factors, namely schedule, health, and improvement/regression. The biggest elephant in the room right now is Tim Tebow. If Tebow comes back as the Broncos’ starter for the full 2012 season, can he crack the top 10? The elephant in the next room over is Peyton Manning. It’s relatively safe to assume he would have been a top-10 guy in 2011 if healthy, but with the uncertainty surrounding his neck injury and the specter of Andrew Luck looming over the Colts, it will be difficult to rank Peyton going into 2012. As of right now, here is my generic top-20 QBs for 2012:

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Drew Brees
3. Cam Newton
4. Tom Brady
5. Matthew Stafford
6. Michael Vick
7. Tony Romo
8. Eli Manning
9. Philip Rivers
10. Peyton Manning
11. Tim Tebow
12. Matt Ryan
13. Ben Roethlisberger
14. Matt Schaub
15. Jay Cutler
16. Mark Sanchez
17. Josh Freeman
18. Andy Dalton
19. Ryan Fitzpatrick
20. Carson Palmer

Stay tuned for similar scoring settings analysis pieces for running backs and wide receivers based on PPR and 0.5 PPR. As always, thanks for reading and point all of your questions, personal questions, and loaded questions to me in the comments or on Twitter @gregsauce.

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