Breaking Down Fantasy Football Scoring During the 2019-20 Season

With the 2019-2020 fantasy football season coming to a close, I thought it might be fun to put together a brief retrospective, highlighting some particularly interesting trends and performances by players like Lamar Jackson and Christian McCaffrey. I’m not feeling particularly loquacious, so there won’t be a ton of analysis in this post, but I did throw together a few charts that I wanted to share!

Quarterback Performance

The rise of Lamar Jackson from Flacco fill-in to prospective league MVP has been the talk of the season, and rightfully so. While he was a great rushing quarterback during his playing time last season, his ability to power and sustain an elite passing attack over the course of this season has really differentiated his game, and makes it even easier to attack defenses on the ground.

To showcase how Jackson’s diverse skillset benefits his fantasy owners, I wanted to share a chart which breaks apart the scoring of fantasy quarterbacks into three chunks - Rushing, Passing, and Turnovers. Of Jackson’s 385 fantasy points thus far this season (standard scoring applies unless otherwise noted), he’s racked up 247 points from passing and 152 points from rushing. To understand how crazy that combination is - consider these remarkable facts:

  • Jackson has accumulated more fantasy points from just passing than Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Patrick Mahomes
  • While simultaneously accumulating more rushing points than Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette

Breakdown of Fantasy Points Scored by Quarterbacks in 2019-20

Some other thoughts spurred by the chart above:

  • Jameis’ overall fantasy value isn’t particularly damaged by his high turnover rate - it’s more than made up by his enormous passing volume
  • Rushing quarterbacks tend to have pretty high floors - see the strong showings by Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, who would otherwise be lumped with the Jacoby Brissets and Baket Mayfields of the world if not for their rushing contributions
  • Philip Rivers really does not like to scramble

Running Back Performance

Similarly to what we’ve done with quarterbacks above, I spent some time breaking apart the total fantasy points scored by running backs into three categories: Receiving, Rushing, and Turnovers. The hope here was to show which backs were particularly involved in the passing game (ex: Austin Ekeler), and derive a large proportion of their value from that part of the game, versus more traditional (Carlos Hyde) or balanced backs (Dalvin Cook).

Breakdown of Fantasy Points Scored by Running Backs in 2019-20

The chart below is the same as above, but adjusts for the fact that receptions are worth one point each in PPR leagues, which can cause dramatic shifts in point distribution and relative value of certain players.

Breakdown of PPR Fantasy Points Scored by Running Backs in 2019-20

With the adjustment from “Standard Scoring” to PPR in mind, here’s who particularly benefits from the point per reception totals:

Percentage of Fantasy Points Scored by Running Backs Due to PPR in 2019-20

On the flip side, some backs obtain most of their value from touchdown scoring, and therefore tend to have more relative value in “Standard Scoring” leagues than in PPR leagues.

Percentage of Fantasy Points Scored by Running Backs From Touchdowns in 2019-20

Wide Receiever Performance

Lastly, while breaking wide receiver performance up into receiving and rushing contributions doesn’t make as much sense as for running backs (since WRs with extensive rushing contributions are few and far between), I still wanted to dig into their data! Stealing from the charts above, I put together two more graphics showing which receivers are particularly benefited by PPR and which are most reliant upon touchdown scoring.

Percentage of WR Points Scored via Point per Reception

Percentage of WR Points Scored via Touchdowns