Scoring in Daily Fantasy Football

By FF Backers on January 26, 2015

Next in the Backers Academy Series we tackle Scoring. The most important way to consistently win in daily fantasy football is to understand the scoring on the site you are playing and adjust your team selection accordingly.

There is no standard scoring system across all fantasy sites which means that some players will be very valuable on one site but less valuable on another. Additionally, companies that provide official scoring may have different results for the same play, or may later change the scoring on a single play after video review. For instance a shot may be initially ruled a goal, but on further review the scoring company will see that it glanced off a defender and would not have been a goal otherwise, thus resulting in an Own Goal and the goal being subtracted from the originally credited goalscorer, whereas a different scoring company may leave it unchanged.

From season long fantasy football we know some of the basic scoring plays:

Red Card
Yellow Card
Minutes Played
Fouls Against
Clean Sheet

Additionally we will also see the following in more comprehensive scoring systems:

Shots on Goal (or on Target)
Passes Completed
Tackles Won
Pass Intercepted

Let’s look at each scoring play individually and develop a strategy for optimizing our selections towards those points.

Goals: Goals are often the highest scoring play across all sites. To determine which players are likely to get goals we can look at past goals as well as shots and shots on target. Quality, form, and opposition will be the top factors in determining which players are most likely to score goals.

Assists: The passes that lead to goals are called assists. Some official scoring apply assists differently (such as a missed shot that is saved by the keeper but another player then knocks in the net) so it is important to know who makes the final decision. Past assists are helpful, but touches in the final third and key passes (which are passes that lead directly to a shot) are also predictive of future assists.

Shots and Shots on Goal/Target: Shots are any time a player attempts to score on goal, even if it is blocked or doesn’t hit the target. Shots on Goal or Shots on Target are typically when the keeper is forced to make a save. Sometimes a player will have an opportunity for more shots because he has been moved to a more advanced position on the pitch or because a fellow attacking player is injured or transferred. The volume of shots is also dictated by projected possession. The quality of the opportunity is impacted by the strength of the defence and quality of the attack.

Fouls Against: If a player is fouled by the opponent they can score points with fouls against. Some players that draw fouls do so fairly regularly as they often have the ball or are dangerous attacking players. When these fouls take place in the final third the fouls can lead to set pieces or penalties, which are exceptionally valuable in fantasy for whoever is chosen to take those kicks.

Fouls: Some sites will subtract points from a player for fouling an opponent. This can harm players that are primarily in defensive roles or that play overly aggressively. Players that foul regularly can be especially risky as fouls can lead to Yellow Cards and Red Cards, which are awarded negative points by most sites.

Clean Sheet: Defenders and keepers are awarded points for clean sheets, which means they kept their opponent scoreless for the entire game. Typically a site will place a minimum number of minutes of 45’ or 60’ a player must play to earn the clean sheet, but the team must complete the scoreless result after that player’s departure. Some sites also provide points for One Goal Allowed. This will be fewer points than a clean sheet but provides a cushion to still get some value from your defender or keeper in the case of conceding a goal. Some sites also offer a smaller points bonus for midfielders of teams that keep clean sheets.

Passes Completed: Passes completed are when a player is able to pass the ball to a teammate successfully. A fraction of a point are typically awarded per pass but can add significant value to players that may not be involved in goals or assists.

Penalty Kick Missed: Since penalties are converted at such a high percentage, a player has several points deducted if he were to miss. Even though a player may lose points for missing a penalty, players that take those kicks are still tremendously valuable. Conversely, a keeper can accrue additional points for a Penalty Kick Save as that save is more valuable and more challenging than a typical save.

Tackles Won: Players that successfully make a challenge on the ball and are able to win possession for their team will be credited points for Tackles Won. These points are typically restricted to defenders to offset the goal and assist points often accrued by attacking players.

Passes Intercepted: Players that win possession for their team by stealing passes from the opponent are credited with points for Passes Intercepted. Like Tackles Won, these are usually only given to defenders to raise their value relative to attacking midfielders and forwards.

Minutes Played: Some sites also give fantasy points for the amount of minutes a player is on the pitch. This adds value to well conditioned players that can consistently play 90 minutes.


Keep in mind that different sites give fantasy points at different rates for the same statistics, and sometimes have different statistics altogether. Always be sure what the statistics are for the site you are playing on.

We will add any additional statistics we see being recorded around the fantasy football industry and will update accordingly. If you notice anything we are missing or have questions just let us know.

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