PFF Grades — From Pro Football Focus

PFF grades NFL

PFF grades are an authoritative method of comparing and ranking players and teams. They’re produced by Pro Football Focus, one of the country’s most reputable football analysis firms. DFS Hub is proud to be one of the only providers of PFF grades in an NFL lineup research tool.

Unlike traditional fantasy football stats that don’t take context into account, PFF grades are a qualitative ranking. They measure performance in ways that stats like yards after catch or QB rating cannot.

How PFF grades work

Professional PFF analysts grade players and teams on their production, using a scale of +2 to -2, in half-point increments. Every player’s and team’s performance, on every play, of every game, is tracked throughout the entire NFL season.

PFF then compiles these individual grades into a single 0 to 100 scale for easy comparison. The grades you see in DFS Hub fields are cumulative season-to-date grades.

The PFF rating system works like this:

  • 100-90 Elite
  • 89-85 Pro Bowler
  • 84-70 Starter
  • 69-60 Backup
  • 59-0 Replaceable

“Season-level grades aren’t simply an average of every game-grade a player compiles over a season,” PFF explains. Instead, “the season grade credits the entire body of work” that season. The grade you see is based on a PFF algorithm that computes all sorts of factors, including the player’s percentage of team snaps, their consistency and so on.

For example, if a player earns an 80.0 game grade, that is not even close to one of the best games of all time.

But, if a player earns a grade of 80.0 over 17 games, that is an outstanding season of consistency—and likely one of the better seasons in history.

A simpler example is a three-touchdown game from a quarterback. There have been countless three-touchdown performances in a single game. But if that same QB tallied three TDs in all 17 games that would be one of the best seasons of all-time.

Based on PFF’s algorithm, it is entirely possible that a player will have a season grade higher than any individual single-game grade he achieved. That’s because playing well for an extended period of time is harder to do than for a short period. Good, solid consistency is rewarded.

For details on how PFF grades individual positions, click here.

Why PFF Rankings Matter

PFF grades can be used to rank players and teams. In doing so, they help quantify skill so you can compare one player or team to another.

PFF rankings take factors into account that you’d never get from a cold hard stat. Consider a quarterback who makes an amazing throw, for example. If that pass was easily catchable but is inexplicably dropped by the receiver, PFF still gives the QB credit for making a great play. A pass completion statistic, however, would never convey this valuable information to you.

Given two NFL players of equal salary, equal opponent and equal expected opportunities, the player with the higher PFF grade should outperform — more often than not. That can help you spot player value and the potential for higher fantasy point production. And these grades become all the more useful as the season progresses and the sample size grows.

Questions of PFF Grade Bias and Sample Size

Because human beings assign PFF grades, there is always the potential for some degree of bias. That said, PFF watches for this carefully and has quality assurance systems to control for subjectivity.

NFL coaches have validated PFFs’ approach, suggesting the bias is statistically insignificant. Any bias also tends to work itself out over the long run as sample size builds.

You can see a list of all Pro Football Focus grades and stats in our DFS field dictionary. They all start with “PFF.”

For more on PFF grading, see the company’s own explanation.

How to use PFF Grade for DFS

When sifting through the many statistics and factors that go into deciding who you want to start in your DraftKings lineup, narrowing down what really matters can help make your decisions easier. Using PFF Grades to build DFS lineups can give you an edge over opponents, and knowing how to properly use those grades is the best way to get that advantage.

For an explanation of which PFF Grades to use when determining your lineups as well as how to best use them to build your lineups, check out our DFS Hub page on Using PFF Grades to Build DFS Lineups.