The FPC and the Action Scoring Rule
By Jeff Pasquino
August 22nd, 2012

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 for their third season, ready to knock it out of the park once again in 2012.

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 2011 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
    Brandon Tate
    CIN
    51
    543
    1
    42
    998
    0
    93
    Brandon Banks
    WAS
    36
    328
    0
    51
    1174
    0
    87
    Leon Washington
    SEA
    41
    464
    0
    43
    1084
    0
    84
    Marc Mariani
    TEN
    46
    490
    1
    32
    748
    0
    78
    Josh Cribbs
    CLE
    34
    388
    1
    39
    974
    0
    73
    Stefan Logan
    DET
    37
    301
    0
    33
    832
    0
    70
    Darren Sproles
    NOR
    29
    294
    1
    40
    1089
    0
    69
    Ted Ginn Jr.
    SFO
    38
    466
    1
    29
    800
    1
    67
    Devin Hester
    CHI
    28
    454
    2
    33
    723
    1
    61
    Randall Cobb
    GNB
    26
    295
    1
    34
    941
    1
    60
    Antonio Brown
    PIT
    30
    325
    1
    27
    737
    0
    57
    Eric Weems
    ATL
    32
    315
    0
    24
    563
    0
    56
    Javier Arenas
    KAN
    32
    410
    0
    17
    362
    0
    49
    Jacoby Jones
    HOU
    49
    518
    1
    49
    Marcus Sherels
    MIN
    33
    277
    0
    16
    445
    0
    49
    Quan Cosby
    2TM
    27
    269
    0
    17
    457
    0
    44
    Patrick Peterson
    ARI
    44
    699
    4
    44
    Preston Parker
    TAM
    23
    210
    0
    20
    439
    0
    43
    Julian Edelman
    NWE
    28
    300
    1
    12
    284
    0
    40
    Joe Lefeged
    IND
    9
    42
    0
    31
    578
    0
    40
    Joe McKnight
    NYJ
    5
    26
    0
    34
    1073
    1
    39
    Davone Bess
    MIA
    37
    442
    0
    1
    0
    0
    38
    Clyde Gates
    MIA
    3
    32
    0
    34
    843
    0
    37
    LaRod Stephens-Howling
    ARI
    36
    857
    0
    36
    Armanti Edwards
    CAR
    32
    176
    0
    3
    35
    0
    35
    Richard Goodman
    SDG
    34
    936
    1
    34
    Lardarius Webb
    BAL
    30
    301
    1
    2
    59
    0
    32
    Dion Lewis
    PHI
    31
    669
    0
    31
    Dexter McCluster
    KAN
    6
    65
    0
    25
    557
    0
    31
    Jeremy Kerley
    NYJ
    29
    317
    0
    1
    15
    0
    30
    Deji Karim
    JAX
    27
    652
    0
    27
    Denarius Moore
    OAK
    25
    216
    0
    2
    37
    0
    27
    Quinn Porter
    STL
    1
    1
    0
    25
    554
    0
    26
    Devin Thomas
    NYG
    25
    607
    0
    25
    Jerious Norwood
    STL
    24
    611
    0
    24
    Dwayne Harris
    DAL
    15
    80
    0
    8
    231
    0
    23
    Kealoha Pilares
    CAR
    23
    590
    1
    23
    Patrick Crayton
    SDG
    22
    202
    0
    22
    Bryan McCann
    3TM
    5
    42
    0
    16
    440
    0
    21
    Sammie Stroughter
    TAM
    20
    540
    0
    20
    Danny Woodhead
    NWE
    20
    437
    0
    20
    Lorenzo Booker
    MIN
    19
    450
    0
    19
    C.J. Spiller
    BUF
    13
    127
    0
    6
    143
    0
    19
    Mike Thomas
    JAX
    19
    88
    0
    19
    Dez Bryant
    DAL
    15
    103
    0
    3
    55
    0
    18
    Antonio Cromartie
    NYJ
    1
    0
    0
    17
    417
    0
    18
    DeSean Jackson
    PHI
    17
    114
    0
    1
    7
    0
    18
    Austin Pettis
    STL
    15
    139
    0
    3
    62
    0
    18
    David Reed
    BAL
    18
    534
    0
    18
    Pierre Garcon
    IND
    16
    44
    0
    16
    Percy Harvin
    MIN
    16
    520
    1
    16
    Johnny Knox
    CHI
    1
    9
    0
    15
    397
    0
    16
    Nick Miller
    2TM
    10
    147
    1
    6
    104
    0
    16
    Cecil Shorts
    JAX
    12
    50
    0
    4
    82
    0
    16
    Eddie Royal
    DEN
    12
    194
    1
    3
    47
    0
    15
    Brad Smith
    BUF
    15
    282
    0
    15
    DuJuan Harris
    JAX
    14
    308
    0
    14
    A.J. Jefferson
    ARI
    14
    356
    0
    14
    Aaron Ross
    NYG
    14
    99
    0
    14
    Da'Rel Scott
    NYG
    14
    341
    0
    14
    Danieal Manning
    HOU
    13
    356
    0
    13
    Justin Rogers
    BUF
    13
    373
    0
    13
    Jacoby Ford
    OAK
    11
    341
    1
    11
    Mike Goodson
    CAR
    11
    250
    0
    11
    Leodis McKelvin
    BUF
    8
    156
    1
    2
    43
    0
    10
    Sherrick McManis
    HOU
    10
    205
    0
    10

    Table 1: 2011 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 65 players had 10 or more returns last season, and 41 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 10-15 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 Antonio Brown 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 28 total returns (20 kickoffs, 8 punts) were taken all the way for the score last year or less than two per NFL week. That number is lower than 2010 (13 kickoffs, 23 punts) but right in line with the 2009 results for 28 kick return scores. Here is the full list of 2011 touchdown returners:

    Player
    Team
    Punt Returns
    Kick Returns
    Total
    Returns
    Ret
    Yards
    TD
    Ret
    Yards
    TD
    Brandon Tate
    CIN
    51
    543
    1
    42
    998
    0
    93
    Marc Mariani
    TEN
    46
    490
    1
    32
    748
    0
    78
    Josh Cribbs
    CLE
    34
    388
    1
    39
    974
    0
    73
    Darren Sproles
    NOR
    29
    294
    1
    40
    1089
    0
    69
    Ted Ginn Jr.
    SFO
    38
    466
    1
    29
    800
    1
    67
    Devin Hester
    CHI
    28
    454
    2
    33
    723
    1
    61
    Randall Cobb
    GNB
    26
    295
    1
    34
    941
    1
    60
    Antonio Brown
    PIT
    30
    325
    1
    27
    737
    0
    57
    Jacoby Jones
    HOU
    49
    518
    1
    49
    Patrick Peterson
    ARI
    44
    699
    4
    44
    Julian Edelman
    NWE
    28
    300
    1
    12
    284
    0
    40
    Joe McKnight
    NYJ
    5
    26
    0
    34
    1073
    1
    39
    Richard Goodman
    SDG
    34
    936
    1
    34
    Lardarius Webb
    BAL
    30
    301
    1
    2
    59
    0
    32
    Kealoha Pilares
    CAR
    23
    590
    1
    23
    Percy Harvin
    MIN
    16
    520
    1
    16
    Nick Miller
    2TM
    10
    147
    1
    6
    104
    0
    16
    Eddie Royal
    12
    194
    1
    3
    47
    0
    15
    Jacoby Ford
    11
    341
    1
    11
    Leodis McKelvin
    8
    156
    1
    2
    43
    0
    10
    Eric Decker
    6
    133
    1
    2
    50
    0
    8

    Table 2: 2011 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 four players last season managed to find the end zone more than once (nine in 2010 and just six in 2009). There is at least a little bit of good news - two of those players are worthy of a draft pick this season. For Randall Cobb and Devin Hester, 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 Darren Sproles, Antonio Brown, 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 Eric Decker 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, Decker may find himself back there to field that key kickoff or punt return.

    The tricky part of evaluating the rest of the kick returners comes after these first 4-5 guys are off the board. Devin Hester and Eddie Royal 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 Hester or Royal and another wide receiver.

    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. Antonio Brown and Eric Decker are both 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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