In fantasy football a single yard may be the difference between a win and a loss, especially if a player is nearing a yardage bonus. One common question many people have during fantasy football is how are fumbles handled statistically? For example, you may be wondering:
- Do rushing yards count on a fumble?
- Do passing yards count on a fumble?
- Do receiving yards count on a fumble?
Yes, rushing, passing, and receiving yards do count on plays that result in a fumble lost (source).
For example, if Saquon Barkley rushes for 12 yards and then fumbles, it is recorded as 12 yards gained via rushing, and a fumble lost (if the defense recovers).
If Patrick Mahomes throws a 25-yard pass to Tyreek Hill and Hill fumbles on the play (and the defense recovers), it is recorded as 25 passing yards for Patrick Mahomes, 25 receiving yards (and a catch) for Tyreek Hill, and a fumble lost for Tyreek Hill.
If a player fumbles and the defense does not recover (meaning either the offense recovers or the ball goes out of bounds), no fumble lost is recorded (because possession was not lost on the fumble).
Let’s discuss the fantasy impact of a play like this a bit further so that you have clarity on how it might impact your score (based on a standard 1/2 ppr league).
Do Rushing Yards Count on a Fumble?
Yes, rushing yards count on a fumble. No matter if the player has gained negative or positive rushing yards before the fumble, the yards gained or lost are added to that player’s yardage totals.
Do Passing Yards Count on a Fumble?
Yes, passing yards count on a fumble. Obviously, for this to happen a pass has to be completed, then the receiver who caught the ball and gained full possession has to fumble and the defense has to recover. When this happens, it is recorded as a completed pass by the quarterback, a catch by the receiver, a fumble lost by the receiver, and any yards gained or lost prior to the fumble are recorded as passing yards for the quarterback.
Do Receiving Yards Count on a Fumble?
Yes, receiving yards count on a fumble. Just like the scenario above, for this to happen, a completed pass must occur, and then a subsequent fumble lost by the receiver. Under this scenario, the receiver is awarded with a catch and a fumble lost, and any yards gained or lost prior to the fumble.
Fumbles Lost Fantasy Points
Most standard fantasy leagues assign negative points for fumbles lost (usually -2). This means on some plays even if the player gained positive yardage before losing the fumble, the net fantasy impact might still be negative because two points are subtracted due to the fumble lost.
For example, if we take the two examples from above and score them, here’s how they would be scored in most standard fantasy football 1/2 ppr leagues (where 10 rushing/receiving yards equals 1 point and 25 passing yards equals 1 point):
Example #1: Saquon Barkley 12-yard rush then loses fumble:
- 12 rush yards = +1.2 points
- Fumble Lost = -2 points
- Net = -0.8 points
Example #2: Patrick Mahomes 25-yard pass to Tyreek Hill who loses fumble:
- 25 passing yards = 1 point
- Net = +1 point
- 1 catch = +0.5 points
- 25 receiving yards = +2.5 points
- Fumble Lost = -2 points
- Net = +1 point
So despite fumbles being a bad thing, your player can still gain positive points on a fumble play, especially if it bumps them up over a yardage bonus.
Fumbling Through Back of Endzone
When a player fumbles the ball and it goes out-of-bounds through the side or the back of the endzone (examples), it is considered a fumble lost and the defensive team is awarded the ball via touchback. How is a play like this recorded statistically?
It is recorded the same way we describe in the section above. The yards gained (or lost) before the spot at which the fumble occurred are recorded statistically.
For example, if the ball was in the red zone at the 15 yard line, and Saquon Barkley rushed the ball to the 3 yard line, where it was then punched loose and fumbled through the back of the endzone, the play would be considered a 12-yard rush (from the 15 to the 3), and a subsequent fumble lost through the back of the endzone.
The net fantasy impact in a standard league on this play would be 12-yard rush (+1.2) and a fumble lost (-2) for a net result of -0.8 points.
Do Rushing, Passing, and Receiving Yards Count on a Fumble in NCAA College Football?
Yes, college football scores this play in the same way the NFL does. Any yards gained or lost prior to a lost fumble become official statistics assigned to the individual player (source).