Fantasy Football Consistency: Quarterbacks

by Bob Lung
Jul 14, 2016

cam_newton_panthers4

Cam may have been the highest scoring QB last year, but he was not most consistent

Bob Lung discusses the consistency of fantasy football quarterbacks.

This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Bob head to Big Guy Fantasy Sports.

The quarterback position for Fantasy Football purposes was easily the most waited on position to draft last year. Sadly, even the quarterbacks who were drafted in the early rounds (Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers) still greatly disappointed the Fantasy world. Will this lead to no quarterback drafted before Round 3 or 4 in 2016? It just might!

Once again, there were a ton of quarterbacks over 300 points (4pts per passing TD) in 2015. There were actually 18, which is only one more than the 17 quarterbacks in 2014! In 2013 and 2012, there were only 13 over 300 points. So, obviously, the passing game is still alive and kicking in the NFL!

So, then 2015 must have been a banner year for quarterback consistency, right? Well, not so much. While there were certainly some of the “regular” studs near the top of the consistency charts, there were many “regulars” who were not. This has already had me starting thinking about not drafting any quarterbacks before the fourth or fifth round in 2016.

I might be drafting Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck, if they are available to me in the fifth or sixth round of my Fantasy drafts this season. If I miss out on them, I’ll wait until the sixth round or later to draft someone like Russell Wilson or Cam Newton. Or I might just wait and draft Blake Bortles or Kirk Cousins. In summary, there are consistent quarterbacks out there in 2016. You can wait to draft them for better value.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at bob@bigguyfantasysports.com or hit me up on Twitter @bob_lung.

Let’s look at those quarterbacks who were consistently good, just good and consistently bad. Scoring method is the standard four points per TD passing and six for rushing plus one point for every 20 yards passing and 10 yards rushing. We’re also going to look at the expected and unexpected quarterbacks within each tier in 2015, plus which quarterbacks could be a “sleeper” going into this year’s draft.

So, let’s start with the top tier of quarterbacks as ranked by Clutch Rating (CR).

Tier One

Player Name Total Points Rank  Total CG Total GP CR
Carson Palmer 370.95 5 14 16 88%
Andrew Luck 161.65 28 6 7 86%
Tom Brady 398.80 2 13 16 81%
Andy Dalton 287.60 19 10 13 77%

The Expected

This is not a misprint, folks! There were only FOUR quarterbacks over a 75% Clutch Rating (CR) last season. This ties for the second lowest in the history of Clutch Games (since 2002). The lowest was in 2014 with only two. Tom Brady ranking second in total Fantasy points and third in consistency may be expected to most Fantasy owners. However, this is Brady’s best season since 2012. Can it continue into 2016? Probably yes, but Peyton Manning’s drop-off last season has me a little leery as Tom gets older. Andrew Luck in Tier One is expected as well. However, his injuries were not. Surprisingly, he was more consistent than many expected when he did play. Therefore, don’t give up on him. I wouldn’t draft him in the first three rounds, but Round Four or after is a great value for him!

The Unexpected

I’ll list Carson Palmer as unexpected, even though I listed him as Undervalued and was drafted as my backup quarterback on almost every one of my teams last season. He led me to the playoffs and championships in multiple leagues. IF he stays healthy, his consistency will continue. The health part is a big IF. He did tail off a bit late in the season and playoffs. Once again, if you can draft him as your backup, do it! If not, draft him in Rounds seven or eight for great value! Andy Dalton was on fire until his injury. His 77% Clutch Rating ranked him fourth in 2015 and should provide great value heading into 2016. I believe he is also great value in the mid-rounds or later.

Tier Two

Player Name Total Points Rank  Total CG Total GP CR
Cam Newton 445.45 1 11 16 69%
Russell Wilson 390.60 3 11 16 69%
Blake Bortles 386.40 4 11 16 69%
Drew Brees 367.90 6 10 15 67%
Ben Roethlisberger 267.55 21 8 12 67%
Eli Manning 353.90 7 10 16 63%
Ryan Fitzpatrick 343.25 11 10 16 63%

The Expected

Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Blake Bortles all earned 11 Clutch Games. I expected Newton and Wilson to perform well in 2015 and they did, ending the season ranked first and third in overall points. However, their consistency was just under the Tier 1 level of 70%. I expect Cam to stay in the Top five in total points and around a 70-75% Clutch Rating. Newton has never exceeded 70% Clutch except for his rookie season when he also rushed for double-digit touchdowns. Keep expectations down a bit as those rushing touchdowns can often lead to injuries. Wilson, on the other hand, has the potential to improve his consistency. He earned eight of his 11 Clutch Games over last eight games of the season. With the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, Wilson may need to continue carrying the offense. Depending on his ADP, I like Wilson as an undervalued quarterback.

Drew Brees is about as consistent as they come. Over the past three seasons, Brees is the ONLY quarterback to earn the coveted Triple-Double. That is double-digit Clutch Games over three seasons in a row. No Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck or Tom Brady! Can we expect it for another season? No reason to believe not unless he gets hurt. The Saints defense remains awful and Mark Ingram is their only decent running back. His current ADP is around 75. At best, you can draft him and Carson Palmer (ADP 90) in the middle rounds and have a ton of great RB’s and WR’s on your roster. Another expected quarterback here in Tier Two is Ben Roethlisberger. Injuries took him down this year but he held his normal consistency of around 55%-67%. He’s not a top five quarterback in consistency, especially if LeVeon Bell is healthy. Solid backup? Yes. Starter on my teams? Never.

The Unexpected

The BIG unexpected here is easily Blake Bortles! In Bortles’ rookie season of 2014, he had a rollercoaster season ending with only four Clutch Games and ranked 24th in total Fantasy points. However, the improvement of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns helped bring Bortles right near the top of the rankings. His ADP is round 80-85, so he’s valued properly heading into 2016. But keep an eye on this as I believe many will be edgy about drafting him too high. It’s a little unexpected for Eli Manning to be this “high” at a 63% Clutch Rating, but normally he floats around the 50% mark. I wouldn’t draft Eli Manning anyways and neither should you unless you’re related to him or something.

Almost as big of a surprise as Bortles was Ryan Fitzpatrick. The bearded wonder ended the 2015 season ranked 11th in total points and had a solid 63% Clutch Rating. He looks to re-sign with the Jets and will still have Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Plus, add in Matt Forte into the mix and this should help Fitzpatrick maintain his value in 2016. His ADP is currently way off the charts, so you should be able to draft him as a backup and not have to worry if your starter goes down.

Tier Three

Player Name Total Points Rank  Total CG Total GP CR
Joe Flacco 203.85 24 6 10 60%
Marcus Mariota 193.15 26 6 10 60%
Tyrod Taylor 306.55 17 8 14 57%
Matthew Stafford 350.00 8 9 16 56%
Aaron Rodgers 347.45 10 9 16 56%

The Expected

Joe Flacco normally falls in this 50-60% range every year. The Ravens are a team heading in the wrong direction. Their running backs and wide receivers are marginal at best and the defense is nowhere near where it has been. Flacco’s value as a fantasy quarterback? He’s undraftable in my mind. Over the last four seasons, Matthew Stafford hasn’t earned over a 70% Clutch Rating. In 2014, he was at 50% as well. Now, he loses Calvin Johnson and replaces him with Marvin Jones in 2016. I’m sure he’ll have some big games here and there. Will consistency improve? Doubtful. But if his ADP is super high (like it is now at around pick 130), he may be worth drafting as a backup for your team.

The Unexpected

Marcus Mariota actually had one of the best consistency seasons for a rookie in a long time. Mariota and Newton are the only two rookies to meet or exceed a 60% Clutch Rating in their first season since 2002. The Titans went out and added DeMarco Murray and Rishard Matthews. Therefore, the offense should continue to excel. I can see Mariota’s total fantasy points improve but I’m not sure about the consistency. He’s currently ranked as the QB16. That’s a little overvalued for my taste. Let someone else draft him that high. Aaron Rodgers listed in the Unexpected section is never a good thing. Losing Jordy Nelson hurt a ton more than most fantasy owners expected last year. Rodger’s 56% Clutch Rating was his lowest in his career. His second lowest was 2013 at 67% when he missed seven games due to injury. Rebound expected? Absolutely. A healthy Jordan and Randall Cobb in 2016 and Rodgers will be discount double-checking all over the place.

Tier Four

Player Name Total Points Rank  Total CG Total GP CR
Kirk Cousins 348.10 9 8 16 50%
Derek Carr 328.15 12 8 16 50%
Josh McCown 165.25 27 4 8 50%
Philip Rivers 313.55 15 7 15 47%
Jay Cutler 282.05 20 7 15 47%
Alex Smith 309.10 16 7 16 44%
Matt Ryan 303.85 18 7 16 44%
Sam Bradford 252.15 22 5 14 36%
Brian Hoyer 203.70 25 4 12 33%
Colin Kaepernick 131.35 31 3 9 33%
Ryan Tannehill 314.60 14 5 16 31%
Peyton Manning 130.85 32 3 10 30%
Teddy Bridgewater 245.75 23 4 16 25%

I’m not going to highlight every remaining quarterback, but there are a few players that I would like to recognize for various reasons.

Is it bad that two of the top 12 quarterbacks and four of the top 15 were at a 50% QSR or less? Yes….yes, it is. I wouldn’t trust any of these quarterbacks as a starter on my team in 2016 and neither should you. Can one or more of these quarterbacks improve in 2016? Absolutely.

If I had to pick some improvers for this year, I’d go with Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr. Cousins helped many teams win their fantasy championships last season, including me, as he ended the season with five Clutch games in his last six. Current ADP’s are 100 for Carr and 130 for Cousins. Carr is a little overvalued for me right now while Cousins is in the perfect spot to draft as a backup. The rest of the quarterbacks could be serviceable as backups, but it depends on their ADP.

Well, there are the consistency rankings for the quarterbacks in 2015. If you didn’t make the playoffs and you had Matt Ryan or Philip Rivers on your team and can’t understand why, I hope this helped clear things up.

Check out our WR bust candidates


What's your take? Leave a comment

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