We all know that the basic key to winning your fantasy football league is knowing your league rules and setup right? I mean if you don’t, check out this NFL Draft Guide piece all about knowing your league rules. Part of knowing your league rules though, is also knowing the scoring system and how that changes things. This is perhaps the most important thing to know when going into a draft, because it should drastically change some of the players you’re looking to draft in certain positions so that you can capitalize on what they do best on the football field.

There are of course two, or three, common forms of scoring in fantasy football with standard, PPR, and Half-PPR being those options. However, there are a few others that are gaining in popularity too so we’ll add six-point passing touchdowns and TE Premium, also known as 1.5 PPR for TE, into the mix as well when diving into the players. If you’ve taken a look at the preseason rankings, also in the draft guide, you’ll notice that the same guys aren’t always in the same order for different scoring systems and this piece will explain exactly why that is the case and then suggest what to focus on for those positions in the different scoring systems.

So without further ado, let’s kick things off with the most important position on the field...Quarterback.

As you might expect, there’s really not a huge difference in rankings for the quarterbacks, in terms of scoring, across the three main scoring systems as all of them generally treat quarterbacks the same for points for yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and rushing stats. That doesn’t mean that you should just treat them the say way though since rushing yards can make a huge difference in where the fall in positional rank. Take for example Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes from a year ago, they have very similar passing stats in completions, attempts, and touchdowns, and finished with 100 total yards of each other, Mahomes was the fourth-highest scoring QB and Allen was tops, why? Allen had more rushing yards and six more rushing touchdowns which both add points faster than passing yards and touchdowns. Rushing yards can do wonders for a quarterback’s scoring as even though Allen had 11 fewer touchdowns and twice as many interceptions as Aaron Rodgers did last year, Allen still outscored him in all but one scoring system, six-point TD. The six-point touchdown leagues are simple, every score gets six fantasy points whether it was thrown for, rushed for, or caught and this is where you can see some big jumps for quarterbacks.

Kyler Murray ranks third in the position for every scoring system but six-point TD and Russell Wilson ranks sixth, except for this one. Murray put up a spectacular season with 4,790 total yards and 37 total touchdowns with 11 of those on the ground. Wilson for his part finished with 4,725 and 42 total touchdowns and both had basically the same number of interceptions so how is it that Wilson makes the leap over Murray? Well Wilson put up 40 passing touchdowns while Murray had 26 meaning that in the six-point touchdown leagues, Wilson gets 28 more points for the same stat line and that’s enough to boost him up the positional rankings.

For the most part, quarterbacks who are dual threats tend to out produce pocket passers in most scoring systems, unless the pocket passers have an MVP-caliber season like Rodgers did last year. In the six-point format, it’s all about volume of touchdowns being posted considering that Aaron Rodgers scored 96 more points in the six-point format than other systems with the same stat line taken into account because of his 48 touchdown passes.

While the quarterback spot is the most important on the field, the next two positions are perhaps the ones most affected by the difference in scoring systems.

For running backs, the top-11 are generally all the same, though in different orders depending on the scoring system, it’s key that we note the differences in those guys because it will change where they’re going in your drafts and if you’re not careful you may get caught off guard looking at the wrong ADP.

The trio of Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook were all in the top-three in all scoring systems with Henry taking the top spot in the non-ppr formats of STD and six-point TDs and Kamara being the top back in each of the three PPR formats. The only other real notable swap inside the top-12 is Nick Chubb and Ezekiel Elliott who swap between RB9 and RB11 in the full PPR formats. Outside the top-12 let’s check out a few big swings for some specific guys

Ronald Jones - TB

  • STD: RB15
  • PPR: RB20
  • ½ PPR: RB16

Stats: 192 Att, 978 Yds, seven TDs, 28 Rec, 165 Yds, one TD

While the 28 catches by Jones is a solid total, nearly two a game, it just doesn’t compare with some of the others at the position and what hurts him even more is the lowly 5.89 yards per catch as he’s just not the type of guy to take advantage of the extra touches. So while he’s getting the catches, he’s still a better grab in standard leagues by a few spots.

Mike Davis - ATL (stats for 2020 w/ CAR)

  • STD: RB18
  • PPR: RB12
  • ½ PPR: RB15

Stats: 165 Att, 642 Yds, six TDs, 59 Rec, 373 Yds, two TDs

Davis was the waiver wire super star last year when CMC went down and he took full advantage of the chances, especially in the passing game. That’s what really boosts him in PPR formats. The volume he sees is impressive, ranking fourth in running back receptions last year and now that he’s with Atlanta, a team that isn’t a true running team and utilizes the running back in the passing game a fair bit, he should see the volume continue there. This means that his pure yardage total might still deflate his value in non-PPR formats.

Nyheim Hines - IND

  • STD: RB24
  • PPR: RB15
  • ½ PPR: RB20

Stats: 89 Att, 380 Yds, three TDs, 63 Rec, 482 Yds, four TDs

There was a lot of debate about the roles of the running backs in Indy heading into last season and at this point, the roles are clear. Hines is the receiving back and Jonathan Taylor is the main back in that backfield. Now with Carson Wentz at the helm, it’s perhaps a boost for Hines as Wentz likes the screen game and the dumpdowns which should continue to benefit Hines in PPR formats enough to make him a flex play caliber back.

J.D. McKissic - WAS

  • STD: RB36
  • PPR: RB17
  • ½ PPR: RB24

Stats: 85 Att, 365 Yds, one TD, 80 Rec, 589 Yds, two TDs

McKissic is perhaps the biggest mover based on scoring systems as the 80 catches he had on 110 targets were second-most by any running back last year. The Washington offense will have a new QB at the helm this year, but McKissic is still likely to factor heavily in the passing game even with the addition of Curtis Samuel to the receiving corps. If you are in a non-PPR league then Antonio Gibson, who ranked between RB12 and RB14 in all formats last year, is the only viable running back in the Washington backfield for drafts.

For the guys whose job it is to catch the passes thrown their way, the half- and PPR formats really change things quite a bit outside of the top-five.

Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs are top-three in that order for all systems and Calvin Ridley is either fourth or fifth in all formats. Justin Jefferson is the only other receiver in the top 36 of the position, aside from Robert Woods, who is the same rank in all of the different league types. So if there are huge differences, who are the guys that move the most?

DeAndre Hopkins - ARI

  • STD: WR10
  • PPR: WR4
  • ½ PPR: WR5

Stats: 160 Tgt, 115 Rec, 1,407 Yds, six TDs

Right off the bat we’re starting with a huge receiving name and already we’re seeing a big discrepancy between his ranks in different systems. One look at the stat line shows perhaps why he’s low in one format and high in the others as the touchdown total was low but the 115 catches were the second-most of any wideout. His volume has always been high but the touchdowns have been limited throughout his career and the running touchdowns from Kyler Murray don’t help either. So in PPR formats, the catches vastly outweigh the lack of toucdowns.

Chase Claypool - PIT

  • STD: WR14
  • PPR: WR23
  • ½ PPR: WR19

Stats: 109 Tgt, 62 Rec, 873 Yds, nine TDs

Claypool was the darling of fantasy football last year for his huge games that he produced and while that’s true, his stat line lends itself better to standard leagues rather than PPR. While he saw a bunch of targets, but only caught 56.8-percent of those, and had a good touchdown number, it’s really the lack of catches that bump him down. Now part of that is due to the offensive woes down the stretch, but he does seem to be the bigger play receiver rather than the possession type that tends to really be boosted in PPR formats. As evidence of this, JuJu Smith-Schuster was ranked WR23 in STD, WR16 in PPR, and WR18 in Half-PPR.

Robby Anderson - CAR

  • STD: WR28
  • PPR: WR19
  • ½ PPR: WR24

Stats: 136 Tgt, 95 Rec, 1,096 Yds, three TDs

Much like Hopkins, Anderson was top-eight in receptions last year and posted nearly 1,100 yards but relatively few touchdowns with just three on his ledger. The lack of scores is what kept him down in standard formats with the receptions bumping him in PPR formats. Now with Sam Darnold at QB, he shouldn’t miss a beat with a rapport already from their time in New York though this will be a much friendlier offensive system than the one under Adam Gase.

Nelson Agholor - NE (stats for 2020 w/ LV)

  • STD: WR22
  • PPR: WR34
  • ½ PPR: WR29

Stats: 82 Tgt, 48 Rec, 896 Yds, eight TDs

Agholor was the quintessential deep threat in Vegas last year with 18.6 yards per catch and that led to a solid amount of touchdowns in the Raiders’ offense. Now he’s in New England and there’s quite a few questions at quarterback but the volume should be there in a fairly barren wide receiver corps. With the passing scheme in New England is far from the one in Sin City, he could be a more balancedly ranked receiver this coming year between PPR and non-PPR leagues.

Widely considered the shallowest position in fantasy, Tight Ends have been so shallow that a special PPR format was created just to boost their value. How is that changing the ranks though across the position and is it significant enough to change who we target?

Robert Tonyan - GB

  • STD: TE3
  • PPR: TE3
  • ½ PPR: TE3
  • TE Prem: TE5

Stats: 59 Tgt, 52 Rec, 586 Yds, 11 TDs

Tonyan got a big boost in scoring from the touchdowns he caught, over 20-percent of catches were scores, but the lack of catches hurt him in the TE Premium scoring in which tight ends get 1.5 points per reception. If Aaron Rodgers is back under center for the Packers this year then Tonyan should continue to see the work in the red zone but not much elsewhere.

Logan Thomas - WAS 

  • STD: TE7
  • PPR: TE4
  • ½ PPR: TE6
  • TE Prem: TE3

Stats: 110 Tgt, 72 Rec, 670 Yds, six TDs

The 72 catches for Thomas rank third amongst tight ends and that’s why he shoots up the position ranking for PPR and 1.5 PPR leagues. Thomas was clearly a top target of Washington quarterbacks last year but as our Andrew Cooper has noted, Thomas spent a big chunk of time lined up in the slot and the addition of Curtis Samuel may change how Thomas is used. Knowing that he has a big target share though, still keeps him inside the top-six at the position for PPR leagues heading into the year.

Jonnu Smith - NE (Stats from 2020 w/ TEN)

  • STD: TE9
  • PPR: TE16
  • ½ PPR: TE10
  • TE Prem: TE16

Stats: 65 Tgt, 41 Rec, 448 Yds, eight TDs

Smith has long been a favorite TE amongst fantasy football folk for his consistent usage in the Tennessee offense but that dwindled some last year and really only showed up in the red zone with the eight touchdowns. Like Tonyan, the touchdown points were what carried Smith in standard scoring while he dropped out of the top-12 in PPR style formats. Smith is now in New England who is famous for utilizing tight ends in the passing game under Belichick and if they get any quality quarterback play at all, Smith could be a sneaky late-round target at the position.

Jared Cook - LAC (Stats from 2020 w/ NO)

  • STD: TE12
  • PPR: TE18
  • ½ PPR: TE17
  • TE Prem: TE19

Stats: 60 Tgt, 37 Rec, 504 Yds, seven TDs

It was a weird year in New Orleans last year with Drew Brees being injured and Taysom Hill being seemingly afraid to throw the ball. So what is typically a good TE offense turned into a mediocre offense for the position and the rankings show that as he was only TE1 viable in standard format leagues. Now he moves on to the Chargers with one of the coaches coming along too as he becomes the newest weapon for Justin Herbert and replaces Hunter Henry. He should be in line for a bounce back year in LA.

Evan Engram - NYG

  • STD: TE18
  • PPR: TE15
  • ½ PPR: TE16
  • TE Prem: TE12

Stats: 109 Tgt, 63 Rec, 654 Yds, one TD

The story with Engram last year revolved around his dropped passes with 11 on the year, or 10-percent of his targets, and that certainly didn’t help him in the red zone either with just the one touchdown. Clearly the Giants have overhauled their receiving corps to a degree this offseason but it’s proving time for both Engram and Daniel Jones which could mean a resurgence for Engram, if he can simply get some more time in front of the Jugs machine. There is clearly risk here, but the volume is there if he can simply capitalize on it.

Before you go into your draft, make sure you know exactly where the points are coming from for each position because as you’ve seen, it can make a big difference for how players finish in their respective positions. There are places where we can take risks on players who have shown the volume in categories but just haven’t taken advantage of it but in other cases, the volume in categories doesn’t translate to the scoring system of your league.