The FPC and the Action Scoring Rule
By Jeff Pasquino
June 29th, 2011

Footballguys continues to advance the world of fantasy football. With several additions to their offerings last year, the much heralded Best Online Content Site for 2009 joined the world of High Stakes Fantasy contests and made an instant splash. Joe Bryant and David Dodds teamed with David Gerczak and Alex Kaganovsky of the Fantasy Football Players Championship (myffpc.com) to create the first annual Footballguys Players Championship contest in 2010 and by all measures it was a huge success. Now the FPC and FFPC are back again, better than ever for 2011.

By studying the rules of both the FFPC and the FPC along with some of the history and previous performances by FPC players, insights can be found that will help many players to not only compete well in both contests but also to be in a position to win their league and be in the running for a top prize in the championship round.

As the summer rolls on, I will continue analyzing many aspects of the Footballguys Players Championship and the Fantasy Football Players Championship. Through these articles I hope to provide extra help with fully understanding how to best build a top notch fantasy team within the contest. As someone who has competed against the best players in the world and in several contests much like the FPC and the FFPC, I fully understand how every possible advantage and extra edge can make all the difference in the world.

Action Scoring

Under the microscope this time around is the special Action Scoring Rule for position players. According the rules of the Footballguys Players Championship, the scoring rules for Action Scoring are implemented as follows:

Roster/Scoring:

  • Action scoring is implemented for all TDs: any TD scored by a player is scored as 6 points to that individual player, in addition to any D/ST scoring that may apply.

So how do you analyze the impact of this additional scoring rule to the current crop of potential fantasy players? We need to dig into some numbers.

First, let's take a look at the 2010 production for kick returners (kickoffs and punts). Listed in Table 1 are all the NFL players who had at least 10 kick returns of either type last year (with a special thanks to Doug Drinen's Pro-Football-Reference.com for the data):

Player
Team
Punt Returns
Kick Returns
Total
Returns
Ret
Yards
TD
Ret
Yards
TD
Danny Amendola 
STL 
40
452
0
50
1142
0
90
Marc Mariani
TEN 
27
329
1
60
1530
1
87
Stefan Logan 
DET 
30
362
0
55
1448
1
85
Brandon Banks 
WAS 
38
431
0
46
1155
1
84
Leon Washington 
SEA 
22
249
0
57
1461
3
79
Darren Sproles 
SDG 
24
166
0
51
1257
0
75
Micheal Spurlock 
TAM 
28
193
0
44
1129
1
72
Ted Ginn Jr. 
SFO 
24
321
1
47
992
0
71
Javier Arenas 
KAN 
39
322
0
24
509
0
63
Josh Cribbs 
CLE 
20
168
0
40
814
0
60
Eric Weems
ATL 
18
230
1
40
1100
1
58
LaRod Stephens-Howling 
ARI 
 
 
 
57
1548
2
57
Bernard Scott 
CIN 
 
 
 
56
1257
0
56
C.J. Spiller 
BUF 
12
175
0
44
1014
1
56
Jacoby Ford 
OAK 
 
 
 
53
1280
3
53
Jacoby Jones 
HOU 
29
204
0
23
494
0
52
Deji Karim 
JAX 
 
 
 
50
1248
0
50
Brad Smith 
NYJ 
 
 
 
50
1432
2
50
Andre Roberts 
ARI 
35
263
0
14
326
0
49
Mike Goodson 
CAR 
 
 
 
47
1034
0
47
Devin Hester
CHI 
33
564
3
12
427
0
45
Jorrick Calvin 
PHI 
12
125
0
32
692
0
44
Darius Reynaud 
NYG 
23
132
0
21
386
0
44
Brandon Tate 
NWE 
1
4
0
41
1057
2
42
Tramon Williams* 
GNB 
41
326
0
 
 
 
41
Percy Harvin 
MIN 
 
 
 
40
933
1
40
Greg Camarillo 
MIN 
39
359
0
 
 
 
39
Dexter McCluster 
KAN 
13
202
1
26
527
0
39
Steve Slaton 
HOU 
 
 
 
39
767
0
39
Nick Miller 
OAK 
35
257
0
2
37
0
37
Antonio Brown 
PIT 
19
110
0
17
397
1
36
Mike Thomas 
JAX 
34
358
1
 
 
 
34
Quan Cosby 
CIN 
30
225
0
3
44
0
33
Danieal Manning 
CHI 
 
 
 
33
816
0
33
Courtney Roby 
NOR 
 
 
 
33
785
0
33
Captain Munnerlyn 
CAR 
30
327
0
2
87
0
32
Bryan McCann 
DAL 
8
165
1
23
507
0
31
Eddie Royal 
DEN 
25
298
0
5
107
0
30
Emmanuel Sanders 
PIT 
4
60
0
25
628
0
29
Will Blackmon 
NYG 
14
94
0
13
238
0
27
Dez Bryant 
DAL 
15
215
2
12
293
0
27
Nolan Carroll 
MIA 
 
 
 
27
655
0
27
Davone Bess 
MIA 
25
284
0
 
 
 
25
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah 
DAL 
 
 
 
25
543
0
25
Jalen Parmele 
BAL 
 
 
 
24
562
0
24
Tiquan Underwood 
JAX 
 
 
 
24
561
0
24
Patrick Cobbs 
MIA 
 
 
 
23
448
0
23
Eric Decker 
DEN 
 
 
 
22
556
0
22
Jordy Nelson 
GNB 
 
 
 
22
496
0
22
Julian Edelman 
NWE 
21
321
1
 
 
 
21
Brandon James 
IND 
7
35
0
14
229
0
21
Jim Leonhard 
NYJ 
21
238
0
 
 
 
21
David Reed 
BAL 
 
 
 
21
616
1
21
Sam Shields 
GNB 
 
 
 
21
452
0
21
DJ Ware 
NYG 
 
 
 
21
432
0
21
Lardarius Webb 
BAL 
21
199
0
 
 
 
21
DeSean Jackson
PHI 
20
231
1
 
 
 
20
Leodis McKelvin 
BUF 
6
24
0
14
265
0
20
Tom Zbikowski 
BAL 
16
101
0
3
48
0
19
Lorenzo Booker 
MIN 
 
 
 
18
429
0
18
Johnnie Lee Higgins 
OAK 
17
123
0
 
 
 
17
Golden Tate 
SEA 
16
202
0
1
10
0
17
Kyle Wilson 
NYJ 
15
111
0
2
22
0
17
Mardy Gilyard 
STL 
 
 
 
16
356
0
16
Ellis Hobbs 
PHI 
 
 
 
16
345
0
16
Demaryius Thomas 
DEN 
 
 
 
16
398
0
16
Reggie Bush 
NOR 
14
92
0
1
32
0
15
Devin Thomas 
3TM 
 
 
 
15
399
0
15
Antoine Cason 
SDG 
14
231
0
 
 
 
14
Antwaan Randle El 
PIT 
14
56
0
 
 
 
14
Justin Tryon 
IND 
 
 
 
14
299
0
14
Patrick Lee 
GNB 
 
 
 
13
265
0
13
Perrish Cox 
DEN 
3
7
0
9
172
0
12
Pacman Jones 
CIN 
5
33
0
7
134
0
12
Devin Moore 
IND 
 
 
 
12
257
0
12
Roscoe Parrish 
BUF 
12
131
0
 
 
 
12
Dominic Rhodes 
IND 
 
 
 
12
252
0
12
Kenneth Moore 
IND 
6
36
0
5
102
0
11
Lance Moore 
NOR 
11
112
0
 
 
 
11
Preston Parker 
TAM 
 
 
 
10
178
0
10
Clifton Smith 
2TM 
2
9
0
8
144
0
10
Blair White 
IND 
10
80
0
 
 
 
10

Table 1: 2010 NFL Kick Returners (Minimum 10 Returns)

A few things can be observed from this list. First, there are plenty of return men that are being utilized across the NFL. Over 80 players had 10 or more returns last season, and 58 had 20 or more. Another important fact is that several of these specialists are not only non-starters for several teams, but they are also non-offensive players. That really will not help fantasy teams.

The other item to pick up on here is that roughly 20-30 of these players are draftable fantasy players (highlighted in Table 1). That's the good news here - these are the players that might benefit from Action Scoring this season. Unfortunately, there is also a bit of bad news.

The first downside to this list is that several of these players are moving up the depth charts of their teams this year. Why is that a bad thing? Well, take Dez Bryant for example. Few franchises will ever want to risk a high upside (and probably starting) wide receiver as a kick returner. The added workload and the increased risk of injury are both too great a price to pay for potential yardage gains. Teams take a more conservative approach over 90% of the time and put a lesser talent back there, especially for kickoffs.

The other piece of bad news is that yardage does not matter in Action Scoring - only touchdowns make any impact to the fantasy scores. Table 2 shows that only 36 total returns (13 kickoffs, 23 punts) were taken all the way for the score last year - or just over two per NFL week. That number is right in line with the 2009 results for 28 kick return scores. Here is the full list of 2010 touchdown returners:

Player
Team
Punt Returns
Kick Returns
Total
Returns
Return
TDs
Ret
Yards
TD
Ret
Yards
TD
Marc Mariani
TEN 
27
329
1
60
1530
1
87
2
Stefan Logan 
DET 
30
362
0
55
1448
1
85
1
Brandon Banks 
WAS 
38
431
0
46
1155
1
84
1
Leon Washington 
SEA 
22
249
0
57
1461
3
79
3
Micheal Spurlock 
TAM 
28
193
0
44
1129
1
72
1
Ted Ginn Jr. 
SFO 
24
321
1
47
992
0
71
1
Eric Weems
ATL 
18
230
1
40
1100
1
58
2
LaRod Stephens-Howling 
ARI 
 
 
 
57
1548
2
57
2
C.J. Spiller 
BUF 
12
175
0
44
1014
1
56
1
Jacoby Ford 
OAK 
 
 
 
53
1280
3
53
3
Brad Smith 
NYJ 
 
 
 
50
1432
2
50
2
Devin Hester
CHI 
33
564
3
12
427
0
45
3
Brandon Tate 
NWE 
1
4
0
41
1057
2
42
2
Percy Harvin 
MIN 
 
 
 
40
933
1
40
1
Dexter McCluster 
KAN 
13
202
1
26
527
0
39
1
Antonio Brown 
PIT 
19
110
0
17
397
1
36
1
Mike Thomas 
JAX 
34
358
1
 
 
 
34
1
Bryan McCann 
DAL 
8
165
1
23
507
0
31
1
Dez Bryant 
DAL 
15
215
2
12
293
0
27
2
Julian Edelman 
NWE 
21
321
1
 
 
 
21
1
David Reed 
BAL 
 
 
 
21
616
1
21
1
DeSean Jackson
PHI 
20
231
1
 
 
 
20
1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cassius Vaughn 
 
 
 
 
2
125
1
2
1
Tyjuan Hagler 
 
 
 
 
1
41
1
1
1
Totals
 
 
 
13
 
 
23
 
36

Table 2: 2010 NFL Kick Return Touchdowns

Based on the results, it becomes clear just how rare a kick return for a touchdown is these days. Further, only nine players last season managed to find the end zone more than once (and just six in 2009), and two of those did it as a complete shock by scoring in less than 10 chances. There is at least a little bit of good news - five of those players are worthy of a draft pick this season. For Leon Washington, Jacoby Ford, Devin Hester, Brandon Tate and Dez Bryant, any given week these players may post an extra six points to your fantasy lineup. Now the only problem is picking which week it will be.

Parting Thoughts

Every fantasy league and its rulebook is a little different. For the FPC and the FFPC, the addition of Action Scoring may seem at first to have very little impact on the scores overall, but in certain circumstances it can impact several players' values. Key return men that are expected to be top picks such as DeSean Jackson, Percy Harvin and Reggie Bush should get a little bit of a boost to their overall ADP thanks to this extra touchdown (or a few) per season. Even Dez Bryant gets a minimal bump here despite many expectations that he will not be returning kicks much longer. Rest assured that if it is just before halftime or towards the end of a close game, Bryant may find himself back there to field that key kickoff or punt return - just like DeSean Jackson did against the Giants.

The tricky part of evaluating the rest of the kick returners comes after these first 4-5 guys are off the board. Darren Sproles and Leon Washington are decent backups, but can they really be relied upon as spot starters? They are certainly worth drafting and if injuries or bye weeks hit, their clutch performances may give lucky owners an advantage in just the right week thanks to the Action Scoring added value. While they are not worthy of big bumps up the draft board, their added value as return men with a history of touchdowns should be a nice tiebreaker if someone is deciding between Sproles and another backup running back.

The last comment I will add is more of a warning - do not be surprised if a few of these players see fewer kick return chances as they develop into regular offensive starters. Dez Bryant, Danny Amendola, and Jacoby Ford are all likely to be replaced by depth players to give them both a rest and less chance of getting hurt. Keep that in mind if you are factoring in kick return value to a particular player. Turnover at both kick return spots can be quite high.

It takes a little time to get your mind wrapped around a new contest with a new set of rules, but the time spent is often well worth it if the goal is to field a competitive team. Giving a little bit of effort to get a greater understanding of the twists and turns to the rulebook can give turn a good fantasy player into a great one and a great player into a dominant force. Knowledge is power - so be as powerful as you can!

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.

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