Quarterback Consistency (2019 Fantasy Football)
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Every fantasy football owner wants their players to consistently put up big numbers every week. That unfortunately rarely happens, so in this article we examined the top-25 quarterbacks being drafted in 2019 by examining their 2018 production. The criteria is the following:
- Completed seven or more games
- Completed two or more quarters in those games
- Threw at least 100 passes in the 2018 season
Below is an illustration on how consistent each quarterback was last year by calculating a standard deviation based upon their fantasy points per game. Standard deviation (SD) was used to examine the player’s probability of putting up their average fantasy points (FPTS) each week. For consistent production, we want a standard deviation to be low, or as close to zero as possible. From the 23 quarterbacks in this analysis, the average FPTS per game was 18.7 with an average standard deviation of 7.8 (both averages can be seen with the dotted line in the graphic).
Let’s look a little closer at some of the most consistent, highest performing, and least consistent quarterbacks from 2018:
Most Consistent Quarterbacks
Lamar Jackson (BAL): AVG FPTS: 18.6 | SD: 3.7
Jackson had the smallest sample size among the group, having started just seven games while being the most consistent (SD: 3.7) at reaching his average of 18.6 FPTS last year. His passing numbers were not great, but for fantasy, we don’t really care how a player gets points, just as long as he gets them. Jackson was able to provide his numbers mostly on the ground by leading all passers in rushing with 695 yards and tying for third in touchdowns with five in just seven starts.
He might have fantasy owners pulling their hair out when they watch him passing in games, but just remember, his rushing statistics will be the real fantasy value. At his current ADP of 131 and QB17 and with the fifth-easiest strength of schedule (SOS) for 2019 signal-callers, Jackson could be a good value late in drafts. The question is, do you trust that Jackson can pick up from where he left off in 2018?
Baker Mayfield (CLE): AVG FPTS: 17.1 | SD: 5.2
The second most consistent fantasy quarterback last year in reaching his average points per game was rookie Baker Mayfield. He had an average of 17.1 FPTS per game, which ranked 19th among all passers. His average was lower than most, but he at least provided fantasy owners with a high floor, based on his 5.2 standard deviation – which meant a lower chance of having a bad week of production. In order to live up to his 2019 ADP of 62 and QB5 rank, his high floor will need to be present again while also increasing his FPTS per game to justify taking him at his current draft position. Going into 2019, Mayfield also has the second hardest SOS for quarterbacks.
Russell Wilson (SEA): AVG FPTS: 18.7 | SD: 6.1
In an offense where Seattle finished second in rushing attempts and dead last in pass attempts, it’s clear to see why Wilson had a middle of the pack average (18.7) and a lower SD (6.1). I don’t see much changing in Seattle’s offensive scheme this year since they have a solid offensive line and two quality running backs in Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. In his limited amount of work passing the ball, Wilson still had a quality season by finishing 10th among all passers. If you’re drafting Wilson at his current ADP of 79 and QB8, you are hoping for that consistency again and hoping for a higher chance of putting up bigger numbers. Wilson only put up QB8 (his current 2019 positional ranking) or better five times in 16 games.
Highest Average FPTS
Patrick Mahomes (KC): AVG FPTS: 26.1 | SD: 6.8
You see that dot all the way to the right? That’s Patrick Mahomes. Coming into 2018, his ADP was 118 and QB15. He crushed that by averaging a monstrous 26.1 FPTS with an SD of 6.8. However, he wasn’t the most consistent with putting up his average, mainly due to his average being so high.
The best part about his season was he gave fantasy owners a ridiculously high floor. He only had three games where he scored fewer than 20 FPTS and didn’t score less than 15 FPTS in those contests! He was a top-10 quarterback in 12 out of the 16 weeks, which is good consistency. The only issue with Mahomes this year is his 19th overall ADP. Are you willing to bank on him producing consistently as he did in 2018, or are you willing to find the next Mahomes in the later rounds of the draft this year?
Matt Ryan (ATL): AVG FPTS: 22.2 | SD: 8.6
Matt Ryan had the second-most fantasy points (354.0) at the QB position, averaging 22.2 FPTS per game in 2018. Ryan finished a top-12 QB in 12 out of the 16 games he played. The reason for his above-average SD was due to the four games he was not putting up top-12 quarterback numbers. In those four games, he finished as QB18 or lower, averaging just 11.2 FPTS per game. His opponents were @PHI (when they were healthy in Week 1), @PIT (top-10 defense in passing yards allowed), DAL (allowed the eighth fewest passing touchdowns), and @BAL (allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards). Going QB6 in this year’s draft, he could be a good value for you most of the season, but I would recommend streaming another QB when Ryan has tough matchups.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): AVG FPTS: 21.3 | SD: 8.1
Ben Roethlisberger finished the 2018 season with the third-most fantasy points for his first top-10 finish since 2014. Coming into 2019, Big Ben will be without his All-Pro WR, Antonio Brown. JuJu Smith-Schuster does have the upside of being a WR1 in the Pittsburgh offense, but without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown this season, he could be in for some fantasy regression. He is currently at an ADP of 106 and QB13. If we get the Ben Roethlisberger of 2018, he could be a good addition at his current ADP, although I think it’s too early to tell with a new supporting cast in Pittsburgh.
Least Consistent Quarterbacks
Drew Brees (NO): AVG FPTS: 20.3 | SD: 10.9
Drew Brees is one of the elite QBs in the league, but last year, his average fantasy production when he plays at home compared his numbers on the road was troublesome (16.1 AVG FPTS away and 25.1 AVG FPTS at home). Statistics like this show an inconsistent level of production and confidence in starting him every week. If you roster Brees this year, I would have a backup plan for games he isn’t at the Superdome.
Josh Allen (BUF): AVG FPTS: 18.4 | SD: 11.6
In his rookie season, Josh Allen was forced into the starting quarterback role in place of Nathan Peterman. If you are curious on why he replaced him, please watch this “highlight” tape. That’s enough on Peterman.
Allen started in 11 games due to an elbow injury suffered in Week 6 against the Texans. Before the injury, he was the starter from Weeks 2-6 and was averaging just 11.4 FPTS in that five-game span. The elbow must have been feeling good when he came back in Week 12 because in the final six games of the season, he was averaging 24.2 FPTS per game and was the #1 ranked QB in FPTS over that stretch. His rocky start and great finish caused the second-highest SD.
The Bills also made some moves to help Allen out by getting WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, and drafting RB Devin Singletary and TE Dawson Knox. If Allen takes the necessary steps in his development and gels with his new weapons on offense, getting him at his current ADP would be a steal. Let’s hope Allen picks up where he left off in 2018 for fantasy owners and the ever-faithful Bills Mafia.
Mitch Trubisky (CHI): AVG FPTS: 18.8 | SD: 11.8
When you have five games at QB20 or worse and six games of being QB10 or better, your consistency rating will be low, which is exactly what happened with Mitch Trubisky last season. With a standard deviation well above the average at 11.8 (highest among the top-25 QBs), Trubisky was hard to trust in reaching his average FPTS of 18.8. I have expressed great confidence in Trubisky’s opportunity to have a breakout season under a more creative offensive-minded head coach. Trubisky will be going into his second full season under Nagy and has the playmakers and the coaching staff around him to take the next steps in his development. I do imagine he will have those games where he is in the bottom half of QBs, but not at the inconsistency he demonstrated last year.
Kevin O’Connor is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Kevin, follow him on Twitter @22kconnor.