Are Points Per Reception fantasy football leagues the best option? Let’s take a look at some NFL receiving stats over the past 10 years and see. My data included every individual season of the top 100 wide receivers over the past 10 years.
First, I created three different potential scoring systems for receiving. Each of them removes one of the three important statistics for fantasy football: Receptions, Yards, and Touchdowns.
- League #1 doesn’t count receptions (Default scoring in fantasy football)
- League #2 doesn’t count yards, but counts receptions and touchdowns
- League #3 doesn’t count TDs, but counts receptions and yards
What if we took the Yahoo! standard point values, and ran the data through each of our leagues? Let’s see how well the stats correlate to fantasy points anyway once they’re removed from the league settings.
- League #1: Receptions still correlate 77% with total points
- League #2: Receiving Yards still correlate 87% with total points
- League #3: Receiving TDs still correlate 68% with total points
League #3 is of the most interest here. In a league where we don’t count touchdowns, the stat has the lowest correlation with total points scored. Comparatively, total receiving touchdowns don’t do a good job of predicting the other two statistics (turned into fantasy points) combined.
On the other side, League #2 shows us what happens if we don’t count receiving yards. Considering the high correlation with points in that league, it shows that total receiving yards will predict the other two statistics the best. Receiving yards are the least necessary, since they predict the other statistics (turned into fantasy points) the best.
Since receiving touchdowns are the worst at predicting the other two statistics, they are vital towards any fantasy league that wants to use scoring based on player skill. Total receiving yards are the most redundant; since they influence the other two statistics the most.
Which brings me to my final point: Yahoo! default scoring uses a combination of the most and least redundant statistics for receivers. PPR improves upon this and uses all three.
So what scoring settings would be the least redundant? For fun, let’s pick two, like Yahoo! does. Our Less Redundant League would use receiving TDs and receptions, and completely ignore yards. This system would reflect player skill differences better than Yahoo! default scoring, despite discouting what many would consider to be an important stat.