Ask The Commish: Heard of Points per First Down?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

Have you heard of getting points for first downs? I saw it talked about on Twitter. I’ve never heard of that, my league is a basic PPR league. Not really looking to change anything right now, but it got me curious. Not sure I would do it myself but I was wondering what your take is.


I’ve heard of this, yes. I have yet to play in a league with this format. It’s funny because I may have seen the same thread. It’s a small fantasy Twitter world, you know. I recently saw a tweet where the guy declared it was the “best scoring format.” First, I’ll just say that the beautiful thing about fantasy football is that every league is different. What’s even better, is if you want to start your own league, you can create whatever kind of format you want. You can have a league where a quarterback scores five points every time they say “hut.” Seriously. You can do whatever you want. While I don’t think much of getting points for first downs, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who has it in their league. I’m not a fan of PPR (points per reception) scoring either. Also, I’m not so sure about it being the “best format” but hey, it’s his league and his opinion - more power to him.


The post I saw said that such scoring adds a real life element to what actually happens in a game, that you’re benefitting from what a skill position player does to benefit the team. That’s basically what fantasy football scoring is in general. However, I don’t agree that scoring points for a first down adds a “real life element” to fantasy football in the way they described it. That's my take.


I think a lot of stuff like this done by fantasy commissioners, in the name of “real football,” is really an attempt just to make their league different from other leagues. Others are just trying to keep things exciting. Whatever the reason, guess what? It’s cool. Splendid. I’ve read about leagues with scoring for head coaches! The possibilities for what leagues can do are endless. How about getting a half point every time your running back successively jukes a defensive player? How about a full point for a well-executed stiff arm? I’m being a little facetious, but If we wanted fantasy football to reflect the NFL more realistically there are other things we could do that, in my opinion, makes more sense. For example, why not get points for the backup quarterback's performance who comes in after the quarterback we have, gets injured and leaves the game? That would be more like “real football.” Some leagues actually do have team quarterback scoring, but most leagues don’t do that. Team QB is not a “standard” format. Where’s the clarion call to be just like the NFL when it comes to that?


Again, that’s the beauty of fantasy football. There are enough leagues around with all kinds of formats and scoring for people to discover and join. At the end of the day, what really matters, is that commissioners are being good custodians of these leagues, and everyone is enjoying the experience, whatever the format.


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