Last year, we broke new ground with the introduction of Fantasy Wins Added. Then we doubled up on new stats to play with by introducing Fantasy Grades.

Think PFF grades — but for fantasy football.

This piece explains  FTN's Fantasy Grades, gives a review of last year's takeaways, and lets you know how to use this data to your advantage.


Why do we need Fantasy Football Grades?

Fantasy football analysis has come a long, long way over the last 15 years, but despite the epic advancement of data-driven study, the basic stats everyone still references lack the context needed to make them actionable.

Austin Ekeler finished as a top-five fantasy RB each of the past three weeks” is useful information, sure, but it lacks significant context. What if the RBs who finished 6-12 all scored only 1-2 fewer fantasy points? What if he was 10 points behind the RBs who finished 1-4? There has never been a real way to give this needed context without getting too long-winded, so we’ve been stuck with half-baked takes.

Until now. Enter fantasy football grades: A single number that tells you everything you need to know about how the player performed relative to other players.

FTN’s Fantasy Football Grades

I have created a gradebook for every player from every game. Every player receives grades in the following categories:

  • Final Grade (Points Scored)
  • Opportunity Grade
  • Efficiency Grade

All grades range from 40 (lowest) to 100 (highest). 

I go position-by-position each week and place each player into one of five groups. Each group corresponds to a grade range:

  • Low (40-60, F)
  • Below Average (60-70, D)
  • Average (70-80, C)
  • Above Average (80-90, B)
  • High (90-100, A)

The thresholds to be placed in these buckets are dynamically determined each week for each position. (The thresholds are dynamic because they are based on standard deviation cut-offs for each position in a given week. This prevents any arbitrary cutoffs for what constitutes a “good” or “bad” game. It's all relative -- every single week.)


Definitions from the FTN Fantasy Football Gradebook

Here is what every play will be graded on during the season.

Note that all grades — except for the “Flex Grade” — help you compare players to other players at the same position. A QB with a 90 grade and an RB with a 90 grade were not necessarily equally valuable that week. (That’s what Fantasy Wins Added is for.)

Final Grade 

This score is based on how many actual fantasy points each player scored relative to every other player at their position in a given week. 

Opportunity Grade

This score is based on how many expected fantasy points each player had relative to every other player at their position in a given week. XFP are calculated based on each player’s opportunity on every single play and factors in field position, down, depth of target, and more.

The correlation between my XFP calculations and actual fantasy points scored across all positions is 0.978. It’s accurate for all four positions:

PositionXFP to FP Correlation
Running Back0.980
Wide Receiver0.977
Tight End0.981

Efficiency Grade

This score is based on how many actual fantasy points each player scored compared to their expected fantasy points. Only players with a minimum of 3 XFP in a given week receive a grade in this category to rule out extremes. (This minimum threshold may be adjusted in the future.)

Flex Grade 

Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends will also receive a “Flex Grade” so you can compare these positions to one another for Flex spots. This score is based on how many actual fantasy points each player scored relative to every other player at these three positions in a given week. 

And that’s pretty much it. The Fantasy Gradebook is excellent because we can add new metrics to grade players on in the future, but points scored, opportunity, and efficiency felt like a solid place to start.


2022 Fantasy Football Grades

For the 2023 season, we will release grades for every player every week. There will also be season-long grades, which will just be the player’s weekly  grade averages.

Below are charts showing you the 2022 leaders in Fantasy Grades. Here were the top 20 players in season-long grades last year, ordered by Final Grade. (Season-long grades are currently derived from an average of each week, but we may tweak this in the future. We'll update this post if the methodology changes.):

PlayerPosTeamFinal GradeOpportunity GradeEfficiency GradeFlex Grade
Travis KelceTEKC90.890.877.886.4
Jalen HurtsQBPHI90.382.485.5 
Josh AllenQBBUF89.886.080.7 
Austin EkelerRBLAC89.690.877.189.2
Patrick MahomesQBKC88.884.584.0 
Justin JeffersonWRMIN88.388.875.287.6
Christian  McCaffreyRBSF87.788.676.187.4
Cooper KuppWRLA87.486.680.187.6
Ja'Marr ChaseWRCIN87.288.577.087.4
Tyreek HillWRMIA86.283.580.386.5
Josh JacobsRBLV85.786.076.686.1
Joe BurrowQBCIN85.583.383.3 
Stefon DiggsWRBUF85.386.275.186.0
Derrick HenryRBTEN85.285.479.986.3
Davante AdamsWRLV85.186.775.785.1
Saquon BarkleyRBNYG84.486.474.884.8
A.J. BrownWRPHI84.382.579.585.3
CeeDee LambWRDAL84.283.680.584.8
Tee HigginsWRCIN83.880.581.484.2
George KittleTESF83.782.780.079.7

The A-Listers

In 2022, a total of 19 players had at least four individual weeks in which they earned an “A” grade. This was down from 22 the previous year, indicating that there were fewer game-breaking studs in the fantasy world.  

PlayerPos.# of "A" Weeks
Jalen HurtsQB9
Patrick MahomesQB9
Justin JeffersonWR9
Travis KelceTE8
Josh AllenQB8
Austin EkelerRB8
Davante AdamsWR7
Christian McCaffreyRB6
Cooper KuppWR5
Tyreek HillWR5
Josh JacobsRB5
Joe BurrowQB5
Derrick HenryRB5
Mark AndrewsTE5
Ja'Marr ChaseWR4
Stefon DiggsWR4
A.J. BrownWR4
Tee HigginsWR4
George KittleTE4

Note that it is extremely difficult to earn an “A” grade. Only a few players per week achieve the status. You don’t earn an “A” simply by finishing top three (or some other arbitrary cutoff) at the position in a given week or scoring a certain number of points.

PositionAvg. # of "A" Players Each WeekAvg. # of "B" Players Each WeekAvg. # of "C" Players Each WeekAvg. # of "D" Players Each WeekAvg. # of "F" Players Each Week

This creates a nice bell-curve of sorts for every position — but with extra scarcity at the “A” group. The majority of performers land in the “C” group for average performers.

The thresholds to earn certain grades (A, B, C, D, F) are dynamic based on the standard deviation of point distribution, but they are designed in a way to keep “A” as a truly elite tier — and even the “B” tier is intended to be difficult to achieve, too. 

Using Fantasy Football Grades to identify the best (and worst) defenses

Using the “A” grades as a threshold is usually a good gauge for how much week-winning ability a certain player might have. After all, the “A” grades are reserved only for the players that moved the needle in a given week. 

So we can now use this information and apply it to other areas, like defense vs. position. 

The data shows some things we'd expect -- like the high-powered Chiefs and Lions offenses giving up a lot of big weeks to opposing QBs and WRs, too. Shootouts, as they say.

But the Bengals - another high-powered offense - gave no zero “A” games to QBs. Those games weren't as solid of a “game environment” as you might expect. Ditto for the Eagles (only one “A” given up to each of QB, RB, WR last year despite the fact the Eagles scored 29.1 points per game (second in the league).

"A"-Grade Fantasy Football Performances Allowed: 2022 Season
Arizona Cardinals5204
Kansas City Chiefs5161
Detroit Lions5153
Indianapolis Colts4331
Tennessee Titans4154
Miami Dolphins4414
Jacksonville Jaguars4332
Pittsburgh Pirates3153
Dallas Cowboys3140
Minnesota Vikings3310
Seattle Seahawks3302
Carolina Panthers2112
San Francisco 49ers2050
Los Angeles Rams2452
Las Vegas Raiders2611
New England Patriots2022
New York Giants2213
Los Angeles Chargers2331
Chicago Bears1340
Washington Commanders1141
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1233
Houston Texans1712
Denver Broncos1421
Atlanta Falcons1352
New Orleans Saints1031
Baltimore Ravens1031
Green Bay Packers1242
Philadelphia Eagles1110
Cleveland Browns1240
Buffalo Bills1141
New York Jets0101
Cincinnati Bengals0131

Stay tuned throughout the 2023 season for weekly and season-long report card releases!