FF104: Total Points vs. H2H Scoring Basics

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    08/13/2005 12:40 PM - 

    Contributed By: Craig Davis

    Earlier this year , we visited this very same argument for fantasy baseball… comparing rotisserie baseball to head-to-head leagues. Well, the same can be argued for fantasy football. Granted, fantasy baseball is going in the opposite direction. Ten years ago, nearly every fantasy baseball league used rotisserie scoring. Today, nearly one-third of all leagues have gone to the H2H format. However, fantasy football leagues ten years ago were mostly H2H based… but now commissioners are venturing into the “total points” format. We’ll discuss the differences between the two scoring models so you can best choose which type of league is right for you.

    Is it better to participate in an “old-school” H2H league where you play a different fantasy team each week and garner a win or a loss… or, do you want to play like the fantasy baseball boys do (somewhat) – no weekly opponents — competing against every team every week?

    When I say head-to-head, I’m simply referring to a league in which teams face off against each other on a weekly basis. Simply put, you pit your squad of fantasy players against another owner’s team. I believe that everyone who has ever played in a fantasy football league at anytime in their life has played in a H2H league. It’s not a matter of how your team does over the course of the regular season; it’s how they do week to week. You see, it doesn’t matter in a H2H league whether or not your team is the most consistent or scores a ton of fantasy points by the end of the year. All that matters is whether or not you “outscore” your opponent for the week. Shoot, you could score the league’s second lowest point total each and every week of the regular season, play the team that scores the lowest each week, and finish with the best overall record… as unfair as it seems.

    In a total points league, stat projections mean a lot more. On just about every fantasy website and fantasy magazine I’ve ever seen, stat projections are not done on a week-to-week basis; they’re done over the course of the year. Timing is not nearly as important. It doesn’t matter if your team scores 8 total TDs one week and only 2 the next. It all counts the same… towards your season total. However, in a head-to-head league, if you get those 8 total team TDs in Week 1, chances are you’ll get a “W”. Then, in Week 11, when your team falls apart because of tough matchups and you score only 2 total TDs, you get an “L”. See how that works?

    Football purists want nothing to do with a “total points” league, only because it’s NOT the original. However, there is one solid defense for “total points” driven leagues… luck is not nearly as much of a factor in determining a true champion. Those in favor of a traditional H2H league are not necessarily in it for the luck. They just want their fantasy football league to resemble the real NFL as much as possible. H2H formats allow the feel of hot and cold streaks, just like you see every week in the NFL. Any team can appear to have the “best team on paper”, but if they get cold down the stretch and forget how to block or play defense, they’ll fail to reach the playoffs, and eventually the Super Bowl. Trust me, I know. I’m a Cowboys’ fan. In H2H leagues, you can have the best statistical team through Week 10, but your offense can all get cold at the same time, costing you precious numbers. It could mean the difference between winning and losing the first round of your playoffs… just like real football.

    Fantasy football is not quite as dynamic as fantasy baseball, only because there are not nearly as many statistical categories to factor into the scoring. However, that doesn’t stop fantasy football commissioners from making things up as they go. Bonus points for longer TDs, taking points away for lack of completion percentage, etc. Nonetheless, their has always been a standard scoring system that the majority of leagues use to determine fantasy points, depending on position:

    Passing Stats – 1 pt. per every 20 yards/3 pts. per every TD/-2 pts. for every interception thrown

    Rushing/Receiving Stats – 1 pt. per every 10 yards/6 pts. for every TD/-1 pt. for every fumble

    Kicking – 3 pts. per every FG made/1 pt. per every XP made

    In a standard 12-team league playing a “total points” format, the team that has the most fantasy points at the end of the season wins the pot. Stats are tabulated on a weekly basis and the leaderboard can change drastically on any given Sunday. Points are derived from each of the owner’s players starting for that particular week. For instance, in this same 12-team league, let’s assume that Team A scores 112 fantasy points in Week 1 and Team B scores 115. Every other team in the league scored less than 100 fantasy points for the week. In a H2H league, if these two team played, Team A would take a loss and immediately be in the bottom half of the league after only one week. However, in a total points format Team A would currently be in second place and very good position.

    Let’s look at the table below to better define how this league would look after one week:

    TEAM

    QB Pts.

    RB Pts.

    WR Pts.

    TE Pts.

    PK Pts.

    DST Pts.

    Total Pts.

    A

    22

    33

    45

    2

    7

    3

    112

    B

    25

    31

    39

    7

    6

    7

    115

    C

    18

    40

    19

    10

    3

    8

    98

    D

    10

    30

    20

    5

    5

    11

    81

    E

    12

    21

    26

    12

    2

    10

    83

    F

    13

    12

    20

    4

    10

    2

    61

    G

    11

    47

    21

    2

    6

    10

    97

    H

    15

    31

    25

    1

    5

    9

    86

    I

    19

    17

    23

    15

    2

    6

    82

    J

    20

    18

    18

    8

    11

    12

    87

    K

    9

    29

    20

    4

    6

    7

    75

    L

    7

    15

    29

    1

    4

    7

    63

    As you can tell from the column on the right, Team B leads this league after one week with 115 total fantasy points. Team A is in second with 112, followed by Team C with 98 and Team G with 97. Team F is bringing up the rear with only 61 fantasy points. The great thing about a total points league is that all these teams still have a shot at the title. If Team C gets better production from his WRs in the weeks to come, he could easily take over the points lead after a few weeks. In a total points league, there are no playoffs! It’s simply a 17 week season starting in Week 1 and concluding in Week 17.

    On the other hand, in a H2H league, these same statistical categories are used in a weekly manner. After a week is complete, all the stats from the previous week are erased. They mean nothing. So even if your fantasy squad compiles the best overall stats for the season but ends up playing a very tough H2H schedule, it could mean missing the playoffs or being eliminated in the first round.

    For instance, if Team B (best total points team) played Team J in Week 2, it’s feasible that Team J could actually win the week if he got better support from his RBs and WRs. The matchups could be more favorable for Team J while they could get tougher for Team B, and despite having the most total fantasy points in the league after two weeks, Team B could find himself with a .500 record on the season (1-1). It’s possible that he could be looking up at a team with a 2-0 record, yet that team might be 40 total fantasy points behind. Weird, huh?

    Something that is becoming more and more popular is a combination league. This gives you the best of both worlds. The pot is split between two champions… the total points champion and the H2H champion. Each league still plays in the H2H format — with W/L records, playoffs, and everything in between. However, just because a team fails to make the playoffs doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have a shot at the “total points” title. He could have been pitted with some bad scheduling luck throughout the season and, despite his poor record through 13 weeks, still be in contention for the total points lead. Each team’s total fantasy points are still added up through 17 weeks, and at the end of the season, the team with the most total fantasy points (despite his record) will take home half the pot (winnings). The other half goes to the champion of the playoffs… like in a true H2H league. Honestly, I like this format the best. I mean, who wants their season to be over in Week 13 or 14?

    Although “total points” leagues (or even combo leagues) are becoming more and more popular, I’m not sure they will ever overtake the popularity of H2H fantasy football. All three have their advantages, but “total points leagues” reward more for a complete team that performs well over the course of the season.

    So, in closing, it’s completely up to the commissioner and the teams playing in the league whether or not they go to the “total points” format or stay with the traditional H2H league. Playoffs are fun and exciting, but do you really crown the best team the champion? Is that even the goal of your league? The choice is yours.


    Comments

    1. Keith Wilson says:

      Does anyone know of any sites that offer Total Points as an option to run a league online? thanks

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