I’ve always been a big proponent of drafting for yards and hoping/assuming the touchdowns will follow if a knock on a player was that he didn’t score enough. My reasoning was that it would seem to make the most sense that the best players rack up the most yards. I’ve seen too many friends fall victim to guys like Reggie Williams who followed a 629 yard, 10 TD season in 2007 with a 364 yard, 3 TD one in 2008. Don’t stay away from guys who seem to be allergic to the end zone was always my mantra. If you are patient, the touchdowns will come.

I didn’t come up with this out of nowhere. I’ve found consistent value in players a year after they had their fantasy seasons destroyed by low touchdown totals. Let’s take Jason Witten for example (a TE I loved in 2007).  Once upon a time, Jason Witten was a TE with three straight 750-yard seasons but only 13 TDs total.  I scooped him up in 2007 (1145 yards, 7TDs) solely because I knew the yardage would be there. He would be consistent. I strayed away from him every year since. In the last two years, he only has 6 TDs. He is now going just ahead of Brent Celek as the 5th tight end… He looks attractive yet again.

Being the fantasy football nerd I am, I wanted to quantify whether or not my theory actually makes any sense. If ever anyone asked me about why I preferred to draft for yards instead of TDs, my answer was…. “Because it’s worked a few times in the past.”  Instead of relying on a few good picks, that were probably lucky anyway, I compared rushing yards to rushing TDs for the top 30 rushers every season over the past decade. With 300 data points, I had exactly what I needed to run a fancy schmancy regression.

As it would turn out, my premonition was right on target. I found that you could expect one touchdown for every 120 yards (roughly) on the ground. Basically, this means that for every twelve points you can expect to receive from yardage, you should only expect another six from touchdowns.

The touchdowns will come. Any more than one touchdown per 120 yards is just icing on the cake. Last year, Adrian Peterson scored seven more touchdowns than he should have, inflating his fantasy value (keep in mind, the biggest knock on AP coming into last year was that he didn’t get into the end zone enough). Others that outperformed last year based on their yardage include MJD, Thomas Jones, Joseph Addai, and LT, just to name a few. As for those who underperformed, we have Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson (by 7 touchdowns), Cedric Benson, and Fred Jackson.

Obviously, this is not a concrete method. Some players just get into the end zone more than others, but next time you’re worried about a guy who gets a lot of carries and a lot of yards but not many touchdowns, remember that eventually they will come.

Some players I would expect to get more touchdowns if they can accumulate similar yardage to last season are: Steven Jackson, Matt Forte, Cedric Benson, Ray Rice, Fred Jackson and Cadillac Williams.

  1. Interesting stuff. I had wondered the same thing when I was looking at Steven Jackson’s stats during research. It’s pretty interesting how much he really underachieved in the TD department. That really helps his draft stock in my mind.

  2. Commish Cauda says:

    12-team, 0.5ppr, keeper league

    We can keep one player and only for a year. Players drafted in the 1st or 2nd rounds cannot be kept.

    I have LeSean McCoy being kept in the 5th round, and I have the 5th overall pick.

    I’m trying to strategize for my first two picks. Ray Rice is being kept, so at #5, I should have my choice between either Turner or Gore, and Andre Johnson. A Top 10 WR or Ryan Grant or Ryan Matthews should be there for me in the 2nd (#20), (Miles Austin and Steve Smith (NYG) are kept).

    With McCoy in my back pocket, which option do you like more?

    AJ and Matthews (or at worst, Grant)
    Turner/Gore and a Top 8-10 WR, (DeSean Jackson, Jennings, Boldin, Colston)



  3. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Commish Cauda: I like the AJ/Matthews pair. But if you could be sure to get Jennings I like the Gore Jennings pair. Of course you can’t be sure of anything! The first is the way I’d go.

  4. Commish Cauda says:


    Thanks…I agree. But I’m not confident that Matthews will make it to me. Probably looking more like Grant.

    So if it were AJ/Grant or Gore/Jennings, you’d take the latter, right?

  5. dingo says:

    Hey Doc,

    If you can pick your draft slot in 12 man draft, what would you take and who are you targeting

  6. Doc

    Doc says:

    @dingo: PPR or non?

  7. dingo says:


  8. dingo says:

    standard format, 1qb,2rb,3wr,1te

  9. Doc

    Doc says:

    @dingo: I have a hard time choosing between the 4th pick and near the turn 11/12. I really like NJD/Rice, but it can leave your team kind of imbalanced. The upside out of 4 is better than 11/12, but I think 11/12 is easier. I don’t mind 8/9 if I can grab AJ. At the turn I will either go RB/WR or WR/WR. There you can be sure to get a couple elite receivers (not too picky). The RBs there are a little iffier, but have a lot of upside.

  10. dingo says:

    thanks doc! i think i will do 4th. i want charles on way back but i assume i would need to go wr, or there wont be any top wr in rd 3

  11. Doc

    Doc says:

    @dingo: Yeah, that’s the exact thing I’m writing about right now.

  12. Wilsonian says:

    Doc, here’s my roster that I posted to you last night in my 8 Team Keeper:

    QB: Phil Rivers
    WR: Reggie Wayne
    WR: Roddy White
    WR: Brandon Marshall
    RB: CJ
    RB: Jahvid Best
    TE: Brent Celek
    W/R: Anquan Boldin
    BN: Knowshon Moreno
    BN: Jerome Harrison
    BN: Mike Wallace
    BN: Santonio Holmes
    BN: Demaryius Thomas
    BN: Ben Roethlisberger
    K: Nate Kaeding
    D: Pittsburgh
    IDP: Kirk Morrison
    IDP: Curtis Lofton

    I put a claim in for Donald Brown and dropping Thomas (actually had just done that before you made the recommendation). But I was wanting to know your thoughts on this team. I obviously love my WRs (went for White and Marshall with my first two picks after keeping Wayne and CJ), but I’m not sure of my backs after CJ. What do you think about this team in an 8 Teamer? Thanks man.

  13. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Wilsonian: I’m liking Best more and more and you have Moreno as insurance. It’s always tough to judge an 8 team league, but there are no holes. Just got to hope for health.

  14. Wilsonian says:

    @Doc: cool. Thanks! I tried to follow your guidelines when making my picks. But I always end up with buyer’s remorse after these drafts. Especially in such small leagues because when you look at the other teams, they’re stacked too.

    I’m really liking my WR 3 headed monster and I’m really banking on a huge year from Best. I actually took him ahead of McCoy on the upside, so I’m pretty invested.

  15. pat says:

    What do you think of my first mock draft? 10 team league- 1 qb 3 wr 2 rb 1 te 1 def

    Owen Daniels
    Pittsburgh defense
    Nate Kaeding
    Braylon Edwards
    Vincent Jackson
    Alex Smith
    Todd Heap

  16. Rob says:


    Im in a keeper league so a fair amount of the better rbs are already taken. I am picking 11th and then 14th. Ill probably have the choice between greene, grant, and matthews and marshall, c. johnsohn, white and jennings. I am hoping for a matthews/jennings combo. Any thoughts?

  17. CJ says:

    Hi Doc,

    In a 10-team standard scoring QB,WR,WR,RB,RB,WR/RB/TE,TE,DE,K with 6 pts for all TDs (including QB) what would be your draft strategy for beg, mid, and end positions?

    Thanks for your help!

  18. Nuke LaDouche says:

    Hey Doc, I had my first FFB draft last night. How’d I do?

    Aaron Rodgers
    Adrian Petersen
    Felix Jones
    Vincent Jackson (couldn’t pass him up to where he fell)
    Kenny Britt (ugh, not much left here)

    I don’t love my receiving corps at all but overall I think its a solid team.

  19. Greg says:

    yo doc…..any thoughts on derek anderson starting Saturday? Roto thinks that he might beat leinhart out for the starting job? u concur? thinking bout picking him up for the upside play….figure no one woul pick up robiskie in my keeper league anyway if i drop him for anderson…..

  20. Doc

    Doc says:

    @pat: Pretty solid, but of course most 10 team teams are. Sme injury risk with Welker and Daniels, but a lot of upside.

    @Rob: I would rather have White even though I like Jennings. I have Greene ahead of Mathews, but it’s very close so i don’t have any qualms with Mathews.

    @CJ: A lot depends on your draft position. If you have the first 4 check out my most recent post. After that a lot depends on if you can get AJ mid round. I go with RBs and WRs early usually. Like to have one elite WR if I can get him. Will go with 2 elite WR if it falls that way. Usually wait on Cutler for QB and Zach Miller for TE. Of course if someone falls I won’t pass them by to stick to those guys.

  21. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Greg: I think DA will probably win the job. He’s worth a bench spot in 2 QB leagues. Otherwise he was just horrid last season. He’ll have to really turn things around.

  22. Zackn Neugut says:

    your logic is flawed for your analysis. all you probably did was add up total yards and then divide by touchdowns. what you would want to do (and maybe by top 30 rb’s by adp per yr not total yards since you dont know who will pan out) is to see what the correlation levels are using a regression analysis.

  23. bluety says:

    In a 12 man ppr keeper league . I have the 8 th pick. My current team is
    D. Brown
    You can keep two and loss draft spot would you keep Jackson and gore. That would be my 1 and 5 pick

  24. James

    James says:

    Hey Zack,

    Thanks for the reply but I did do this with a regression. A change of one yard equals a change of .008 touchdowns or so, as regressed with the 30 rushers with the most attempts of the last decade (300 data points).

  25. Doc

    Doc says:

    @bluety: You won’t get anyone better than Gore with the 8th pick. And I would also want DJax there. I’d keep both.

  26. zack neugut says:

    What was r^2 and did you use an F test too?

  27. Doc

    Doc says:

    @zack neugut: R2 was Luke Skywalker’s astromech droid. They were very close.

  28. dan says:

    wats up doc

    i am in a 500$ buy in money league

    1pt ppr who do u take at 6th overall

    gore or aj if they are there?

    would u take another beast wr 2nd or go with a stud qb or ppr rb

    thanks great info here

  29. Doc

    Doc says:

    @dan: Thanks. I would take either Gore or AJ at 6. I doubt both will be there. But I probably lean toward Gore. I usually go the opposite in the 2nd round so RB if you go AJ, WR if you go Gore, but I would be more inclined to go WR/WR much more than RB/RB if the value fell to me. I am willing to wait on QB. If I have to wait for a Kolb/Cutler type I do try to grab another QB fairly quick for insurance.

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