Fantasy Football Definition of "Fractional Scoring"
Fractional scoring was devised to avoid ties and to increase the accuracy with which NFL stats translate to scoring stats. Through fractional scoring, every single yard gained becomes just as important as every other yard. In leagues that don't use fractional scoring, most scoring is done on a plateau scoring basis: every 10 yards, every 25 yards, every 50 yards. If you have a player who get 99 yards, that extra yard is a whole extra point, because you didn't reach 100. In fractional scoring, those extra nine yards are accounted for.
Fractional Scoring Example
Let's look at that score using standard scoring conventions and then fractional scoring. Let's assume you have a running back who gets 1 point for every 10 yards gained. He gains 99 yards and therefore adds 9 points through rushing yards. In a typical fractional scoring league, you get 0.1 points for every yard gained, instead of 1.0 point for every 10. This is a subtle difference, because if your runner rushes for even numbers in both scoring systems, he'll score the same. That is, if he rushes for 100 yards using the conventional scoring method, that equals 10 points. If he rushes for 100 yards through a fractional scoring method, he also rushes for 10 points.
But in fractional scoring, that 99 yard game is worth something more. At a rate of 0.1 points per yard, you'll receive 9.9 points for 99 yards. This is more valuable, and allows your players to build up points by getting fractions of a point. When you consider the fractional scoring method, it's actually fairer, because every single yard counts the same.
Fractional Scoring and Ties
It's also less likely you'll tie in contests using fractional scoring, about 90% less likely. That's because points are broken down into ten increments, where before they were broken down into 1. So you're less likely to have that tie hanging out there when it comes time to figure out playoff spots. More importantly, you're less likely to have ties when it comes to playoffs, because there is seldom a satisfactory tiebreaker rule in the context of a single-elimination playoff system.
Fractional Score - How Many Decimal Places?
If you really want to lower the chances that a tie is going to occur, your league might want to see adding fractional scoring with more than just one decimal place. I've seen fractional scoring for fantasy football down to the third decimal place, dramatically reducing the chances of a tie.
Fractional Scoring and the Internet
Fractional scoring has become possible (or feasible) due to the melding of fantasy football leagues and the Internet. Online fantasy football league site usually have automatic scoring systems, so you don't have to pull out the newspaper like we all did back in the old days. Because of that, you don't have to get out a calculator or a notepad to use decimal scoring in your fantasy football scoring system. Your automatic league scoring is refreshed every 2 minutes or so, automatically re-tabulating the fractions in your fractional scoring system.