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Fantasy Football: 2013 Quarterback Review – Weekly Performance

Rich Hribar

Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer.
Peyton Manning superbowl
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Right after week 16 of the NFL season ended, we looked at the most consistent performers for each position based on weekly results. One of the biggest things that we noted was that only five quarterbacks posted a top 12 starting week in over half of their starts, magnifying the importance of remaining flexible with the position not only in your drafts, but also in season. Never has there been so many viable options on a weekly basis than over the past couple of seasons as the league has shifted into a high flying aerial display played by more physically gifted athletes than ever before.

Since 2009, there have been 55 seasons by 22 different players in which a signal caller tossed 25 or more scores. Also, quarterbacks are using their legs more now than they have in recent history. There are tons of points out there for you weekly.

Read more about the 2013 Fantasy Season in Review

Wide Receiver Review – The Target Multiplier

Wide Receiver Review – The Red Zone

Wide Receiver Review – Hallow Routes

Running Back Review – FPPRR

Running Back Review – Rushing Production

Running Back Review – Touchdown Effect

The original post looked only at top 12 performances, or starting quality weeks in a standard 12 team league. A QB13 performance didn’t make the cut, nor did an 18 point game in a week where there were 12 other starters that went bananas.

Those types of things won’t kill your fantasy outlook although they don’t show up as starter under our early criteria. It also doesn’t take into account the random performances of a lesser owned commodity posting a big game. It also doesn’t account for bigger leagues, or 2QB leagues. While I personally believe that those starting level weeks are more important, I also care about scoring points and connecting those points to wins. So today, we’re going to review the position from a wider lens  while maintaining a weekly look, using points scored per game and what those points meant.

Points Per Weekly Finish

I took every top 30 QB finish from weeks one through 16 and calculated the average points scored for each place. With 475 games of fake football signal calling awesome and inefficiency to scan through, here’s the breakdown of points per game for the top 30 weekly finishers.

 

FINISH

Avg. Pts.

FINISH

Avg. Pts.

FINISH

Avg. Pts.

QB1

34.6

QB11

18.2

QB21

11.9

QB2

30.1

QB12

17.5

QB22

11.3

QB3

27.3

QB13

16.8

QB23

10.4

QB4

25.2

QB14

16.3

QB24

9.8

QB5

23.9

QB15

15.6

QB25

9.2

QB6

22.6

QB16

14.9

QB26

8.4

QB7

21.4

QB17

13.9

QB27

7.4

QB8

20.4

QB18

13.6

QB28

6.3

QB9

19.5

QB19

13.1

QB29

5.9

QB10

19

QB20

12.5

QB30

4.4

*Standard Scoring (25 passing yards = 1 PT, 4 PT Pass TD)

The immediate thing that jumps outs to me is that the QB1 spot scored on average almost double that of the QB12 spot, the last remaining spot we normally would take into account as being really significant. In 15 of the 16 weeks, the top quarterback scored 30 or more fantasy points. Only Philip Rivers and his 27.8 points in week 12 paced the position under 30 points. The top spot is also the only one in which a there’s over a touchdown pass worth of separation between the next finish.

We now have a visual of what 15 points scored in a game means versus 20 points in regards to average weekly outcome. Now that we’ve established what kind of points correlate with what weekly performance, we can look at the individual performances of each quarterback.

I’ve placed the quarterbacks in order by cumulative finish from week one through 16 so you can get a feel for how big and small games affect the broader picture. A player like Andy Dalton is inflated overall due to major spikes in performance, but if you started him weekly your team probably didn’t make the postseason.  Overall points can potentially be very deceiving, especially during the offseason when looking back, so be careful in acknowledging how those points came to be and if they are sustainable.

QB Finish

Player

Fantasy   Points

Games

Stud %

Good & Plenty %

Meh %

Dud %

1

Peyton Manning

383.5

15

46.7%

80.0%

6.7%

13.4%

2

Drew Brees

319.6

15

33.3%

66.7%

13.3%

20.0%

3

Cam Newton

278.6

15

26.7%

46.7%

26.7%

26.7%

4

Andrew Luck

276.5

15

13.3%

53.3%

20.0%

26.7%

5

Andy Dalton

268.5

15

26.7%

40.0%

20.0%

40.0%

6

Philip Rivers

268

15

13.3%

46.7%

20.0%

33.3%

7

Matthew Stafford

266.3

15

0.0%

60.0%

20.0%

20.0%

8

Tony Romo

260.8

15

6.7%

40.0%

33.3%

26.7%

9

Russell Wilson

259.5

15

6.7%

46.7%

26.7%

26.7%

10

Alex Smith

253.2

15

6.7%

53.3%

20.0%

26.7%

11

Ben Roethlisberger

250.8

15

6.7%

33.3%

26.7%

40.0%

12

Nick Foles

243.7

10

30.0%

80.0%

10.0%

10.0%

13

Tom Brady

242.9

15

6.7%

40.0%

26.7%

33.3%

14

Colin Kaepernick

241.6

15

13.3%

46.7%

6.7%

46.7%

15

Matt Ryan

231

15

0.0%

40.0%

20.0%

40.0%

16

Ryan Tannehill

230.4

15

0.0%

26.7%

46.7%

26.7%

17

Robert Griffin

213

13

7.7%

46.2%

7.7%

46.2%

18

Joe Flacco

201.8

15

0.0%

26.7%

13.3%

60.0%

19

Carso  Palmer

195.1

15

0.0%

26.7%

13.3%

60.0%

20

Geno Smith

175.9

15

6.7%

33.3%

6.7%

60.0%

21

Eli Manning

162.4

15

6.7%

6.7%

13.3%

80.0%

22

Ryan Fitzpatrick

162.2

9

11.1%

44.4%

22.2%

33.3%

23

Jay Cutler

153.7

9

0.0%

66.7%

11.1%

22.2%

24

Aaron Rodgers

152.3

7

14.3%

57.1%

28.6%

14.3%

25

Chad Henne

146.1

13

0.0%

0.0%

30.8%

69.2%

26

Mike Glennon

143.2

12

0.0%

25.0%

25.0%

50.0%

27

Josh McCown

136.1

6

16.7%

66.7%

16.7%

16.7%

28

EJ Manuel

133.5

10

0.0%

40.0%

20.0%

40.0%

29

Terrelle Pryor

124.2

8

0.0%

37.5%

25.0%

37.5%

30

Sam Bradford

118.7

7

0.0%

57.1%

0.0%

42.9%

*Week 17 excluded

Studs

The stud percentage is games in which the quarterback scored 27 points or more, which corresponds on average with a top three weekly performance. Peyton Manning registered seven such games, two more than Drew Brees, the next highest performer. The only other quarterbacks to have more than two games in the stud column were Dalton (4), Newton (4) and Foles (3). In the cases of Dalton and Newton, you can see how that had an effect on the overall ranking despite their very uneven performance in the following columns.

Noteable quarterbacks that never had a stud week in 2013 were Stafford, Ryan and Cutler while the only other quarterbacks to have at least a pair of studly weeks were Kaepernick, Rivers and Luck.

Good & Plenty

The Good Plus is the percentage of games that the quarterback scored 17 or more points, including the stud weeks. This is important because 17 points on average was good for a starting week despite that game not registering as a weekly top 12 performance. In week one, 18 quarterbacks scored over 17 points, so even if you owned the weekly QB17, your team still got  average starting point production that week.  There were five weeks this season (1,9,13, 14,15) in which at least 14 different passers had 17 or more points. Your quarterback may not have been in the top 12, but he also didn’t sink your fantasy battleship that weekend.

Only Manning and Foles were above a two thirds rate of good plus starts, that’s it. Everyone below 50 percent here should have been involved in a stable of platooning options, but many show up as overall leaders. This is what gets lost often when people try to emphasize the importance of streaming or not investing draft equity into the position. Playing hot streaks, favorable matchups have never been so much more important than just riding one quarterback for every week outside of his bye.

Owners that invested in high end talent like Brees, Ryan, Brady, Griffin, Newton and Luck likely felt so good when they locked that player up, but was also left very hallow and ultimately disappointed when the season ended. Not to say that you couldn’t win a league with them as your week 16 starter, but your season went through many peaks and lows if you rode them continuously.

There’s going to be a point in this offseason when someone writes the words “Roethlisberger was QB11 overall last season” without looking under the hood of his 2013 weekly output, I can guarantee it. Big Ben was certifiably usable in just a third of his games (the same number as Geno Smith) and gave no ultimate ceiling reward, however.

The same will be said for Rivers, who has a great body of work overall but was extremely pedestrian from a fantasy perspective as the Chargers took the air out of the ball in the second half of the year. Under half of his starts were on the good plus side, scoring over 17 points in only three of his final 10 games.

Meh

These are weeks in which the player scored 14-16.9 points, on average weekly QB13-QB16. Those weeks weren’t detrimental to your team, but also really didn’t elevate it either, just completely middle of the road performances.

It’s absolutely no shock that the king of “meh”, Tannehill, leads everyone here by at least two games. His good and bad percentages were identical, so owning Tannehill was complete fantasy football purgatory.

A player like Kaepernick may have had only one middle of the road week, but it coincided with several lousy ones. If you’re not going to be good, you’d at least like to tread water rather than sink your team.

Duds

13 points in a game may seem pretty decent to many of us, but not with the way the position is racking up points today. Dud games are the weeks with less than 14 points scoring, which is in the weekly bottom half of quarterback performances.

Of the 224 individual games in which a quarterback scored under 14 points, only 11 were a weekly top 16 finish or higher. That’s only a 4.9 percent exemption of a large sample, so we’re pretty spot on in our assessment of what makes a subpar performance.

The biggest dud of all was Eli Manning, scoring under 14 points in 12 of his 15 games and three more than any other player. Four other quarterbacks had nine or more dud starts. Henne, Flacco, Palmer and Geno were all at a 60 percent dud clip. Henne had zero good plus starts as well, meaning every game he played was middling or terrible. Glennon was the last quarterback with at least a 50 percent dud percentage.

The only quarterbacks with under a 20 percent dud percentage were Foles, Peyton, Rodgers and McCown and only Manning played in every game.

The real overall predictive element to this going forward is one that is very simple and many already incorporate. The quarterback position is overvalued in one quarterback leagues. People say that time and again, but it’s even more extreme than most realize.  In 2014, don’t get caught in the middle rounds staring at a brand name from a real football perspective, it’s more than not worth it. The value is even less than what you believe.