Players earn their team points based on their performance in their weekly games; for example, each touchdown counts as 6 points, a certain number of yards gained counts for points, and so on. In almost all cases, players earn points for passing, rushing, and receiving yards. Passing yards (sometimes touchdowns as well) typically earn about half as many points as rushing/receiving yards, since QBs normally get many more. Negative points are also usually given for turnovers, and kickers earn points for field goals and extra points (sometimes negative points for missed kicks). Bonuses can also be given for exceptionally good performances, like a QB throwing for over 300 yards, or a kicker making a long field goal. Team defenses earn points for things like sacks, turnovers, safeties, etc. Individual defensive players typically do not earn points for team-wide stats such as keeping the opponent under a certain score or yardage total, but rather for tackles or turnovers made.

A typical scoring format follows. Again, there are many variations used:

  • 1 point for 30 passing yards
  • 1 point for 20 rushing yards
  • 1 point for 20 receiving yards
  • 6 points for a touchdown
  • 4 points for a passing touchdown
  • -2 points for every interception thrown or fumble lost
  • 1 point for each extra point made
  • 3 points for each 0-39 yard field goal, 4 points for each 40-49 yard field goal, and 5 points for each 50+ yard field goal
  • 2 points per turnover gained by defense
  • 1 points per sack by the defense
  • 2 points for a safety by defense
  • 6 points for each touchdown scored by defense
  • 2 points for each blocked kick[2]

An alternate scoring format is the "pure yardage" league, in which touchdowns are ignored, and each player's passing, rushing and receiving yards are totaled. Some yardage leagues also convert defensive stats into yards (ex., 50 yards for an interception, 20 yards for a sack), whether for a team's defense, or individual players. Another scoring system counts only touchdowns, touchdown passes, and field goals for points. Many leagues also count points per reception (PPR). In PPR leagues your team scores points for every reception made by a player, usually a TE, RB and WR.

An alternative method for scoring defense is Individual Defensive Players or IDP fantasy football. The main difference being that players typically draft anywhere from 3 to 7 individual defensive players during a draft as opposed to just one team defense. Sometimes there are required positions to fill like 2 Linebackers, 2 Defensive Backs and 2 Defensive Linemen and sometimes it's just 5 defensive players of any position you choose. There are many different ways to draft IDPs and many have found this makes the later part of the fantasy draft more exciting. For instance, instead of drafting a 5th wide receiver in the 16th round that will typically be on your bench or dropped part way through the season, you are instead drafting a "full-time" starting defensive player that can help you win your league