fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    
HOME ARTICLES NEWS DRAFT GUIDE REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS NFL TEAMS MESSAGE BOARDS

FANTASY FOOTBALL ARTICLES

Better Than Average - Quarterbacks
David M. Dorey
2004
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers  |  Tight Ends

When I created Consistency Rankings back in 1997, it was a useful tool to view how many times a particular player reached a fantasy point threshold in games like 100 yards rushing. But it was only one of many factors to consider when evaluating a player for the current season. What consistency never indicates is how tough the defenses were that allowed those big games.

Another measure of a player's value is how well he did against defenses relative to others in his position against those very same defenses. This new measurement is called "Better Than Average" (BTA). Consistency rankings view a player from the offensive perspective - how many times did he have a big game? BTA rankings show the same players from a defensive perspective - how many times did he do better than most other players when they faced the same defense?

There are three measurements with BTA analysis and to the right you can see how it was derived using all QB performances against the Falcons last season.

Better Than Average Sample (ATL defense)

Wk Tm QB's against ATL - 2003 FF
Pts
Rush
Yards
Rush
TD's
Pass
Yards
Pass
TDs
Top
8
Top
3
Top
1
15 IND Manning P 35     290 5      
16 TB Johnson B 33 1   346 4      
6 STL Bulger M 32 4 1 352 2      
7 NO Brooks A 31 15   352 3      
2 WAS Ramsey P 26     356 2      
9 PHI McNabb D 22 22   312 1      
5 MIN Frerotte G 20 3   239 2      
1 DAL Carter Q 19 11   268 1      
3 TB Johnson B 17 -4   192 2      
17 JAX Leftwich B 16 33   167 1      
11 NO Brooks A 15 37   228        
12 TEN McNair S 14 9   95 2      
4 CAR Delhomme J 12 -3   168 1      
14 CAR Delhomme J 12 0   153 1      
10 NYG Collins K 10     202        

1. BTA Top 8 - Shows how many times a player faced a defense last year that produced a top 8 performance allowed by that defense for that position. To the right in yellow are the Top 8 performances against the Falcons by a QB using standard performance scoring. Manning, Johnson, Bulger, Brooks, Ramsey, McNabb, Frerotte and Carter would all be credited with a Top 8 game considering only the Falcons defense. Notice that Brad Johnson just missed having two Top 8 games against the Falcons. In week 3, he had a big two touchdown game against ATL but it was only the 9th best all year.

2. BTA Top 3 - Shows how many times a player faced a defense last year that produced a top 3 performance allowed by that defense for that position. Considering only ATL, Manning, Johnson and Bulger are all credited with a Top 3 game.

3. BTA Top 1 - Shows how many times a player faced a defense last year that produced the BEST performance allowed by that defense for that position. Considering only the Atlanta defense, only Manning is credited with a Top 1 game.

These measurements are similar to big game consistency but takes directly into account the defenses that were faced all season. For example, Aaron Brooks only had 243 yards and one TD against the Cowboys (week 17) and that is not considered a big game for consistency purposes and it was the 241st best QB fantasy game last year. But only four QB's did any better against the DAL defense last year. Brook's value is lessened with only considering consistency which ignores this game but the reality was that he had a "better than average" game against a very tough secondary which should be accounted for in evaluating him.

Enough of the set-up and explanations, take a look at what really happened using the above criteria against all QB performances in 2003 considering the defenses that they faced.

Top 8 performances allowed by defenses faced in 2003 Top 8 % # Gms Gms
Played
Top 3 performances allowed by defenses faced in 2003 Top 3 % # Gms Gms
Played
STL Mark Bulger 80% 12 15 MIN Daunte Culpepper 50% 7 14
MIN Daunte Culpepper 79% 11 14 IND Peyton Manning 44% 7 16
TEN Steve McNair 71% 10 14 KC Trent Green 38% 6 16
NE Tom Brady 69% 11 16 SF Jeff Garcia 38% 5 13
IND Peyton Manning 69% 11 16 NE Tom Brady 31% 5 16
SF Jeff Garcia 69% 9 13 TB Brad Johnson 31% 5 16
CIN Jon Kitna 63% 10 16 ATL Doug Johnson 30% 3 10
ATL Michael Vick 60% 3 5 TEN Steve McNair 29% 4 14
SD Doug Flutie 57% 4 7 SD Doug Flutie 29% 2 7
NO Aaron Brooks 56% 9 16 CIN Jon Kitna 25% 4 16
KC Trent Green 56% 9 16 SEA Matt Hasselbeck 25% 4 16
SEA Matt Hasselbeck 56% 9 16 NYG Kerry Collins 23% 3 13
TB Brad Johnson 56% 9 16 STL Mark Bulger 20% 3 15
DEN Jake Plummer 55% 6 11 ATL Michael Vick 20% 1 5
WAS Patrick Ramsey 55% 6 11 NYJ Chad Pennington 20% 2 10
MIA Jay Fiedler 50% 6 12 PHI Donovan McNabb 19% 3 16
PIT Tommy Maddox 50% 8 16 GB Brett Favre 19% 3 16
PHI Donovan McNabb 50% 8 16 DEN Jake Plummer 18% 2 11
NYJ Chad Pennington 50% 5 10 WAS Patrick Ramsey 18% 2 11
JAX Byron Leftwich 47% 7 15 SD Drew Brees 18% 2 11
NYG Kerry Collins 46% 6 13 MIA Jay Fiedler 17% 2 12
SD Drew Brees 45% 5 11 ARI Jeff Blake 15% 2 13
DAL Quincy Carter 44% 7 16 OAK Rich Gannon 14% 1 7
GB Brett Favre 44% 7 16 NYJ Vinnie Testaverde 14% 1 7
OAK Rich Gannon 43% 3 7 BUF Drew Bledsoe 13% 2 16
ARI Josh McCown 43% 3 7 CAR Jake Delhomme 13% 2 16
NYJ Vinnie Testaverde 43% 3 7 CLE Tim Couch 10% 1 10
HOU David Carr 42% 5 12 HOU David Carr 8% 1 12
ATL Doug Johnson 40% 4 10 NO Aaron Brooks 6% 1 16
ARI Jeff Blake 38% 5 13 PIT Tommy Maddox 6% 1 16
BUF Drew Bledsoe 38% 6 16 DAL Quincy Carter 6% 1 16
CAR Jake Delhomme 38% 6 16 DET Joey Harrington 6% 1 16
DET Joey Harrington 31% 5 16 JAX Byron Leftwich 0% 0 15
CLE Tim Couch 30% 3 10 ARI Josh McCown 0% 0 7

Some of the notable facts that came from this was that Marc Bulger did very well on a weekly basis against the defenses he faced - he led all QB with 12 games that were in the Top 8 allowed by opposing defenses. However, he only had 3 games that were in the top three proving the STL offense was potent, but he rarely had truly big games. Daunte Culpepper was highly ranked in Top 8 with the second best percentage (79%) but he was astounding by turning in half of the games he played as in the top three allowed by the defense in 2003.

Jeff Garcia may have worn out his welcome in San Francisco, but he still ranked highly with 69% of his games falling in the top 8 allowed by opponents. His high rating comes primarily from his rushing yardage and scores.

While Brett Favre had 10 games last year which were either 300 yards or two touchdowns, considering the defenses he was facing brought him down to only 7 games that were in the Top 8 and only 3 times did he turn in a Top 3 game. He had the easier schedule, obviously.

The final BTA review is for QB's that scored the highest fantasy points allowed by defenses last year.

The best performance allowed by defenses faced in 2003 Top 1 % Top 1 Gms Gms
Played
IND Peyton Manning 25% 4 16
SF Jeff Garcia 23% 3 13
MIN Daunte Culpepper 21% 3 14
ATL Michael Vick 20% 1 5
KC Trent Green 19% 3 16
TEN Steve McNair 14% 2 14
SD Doug Flutie 14% 1 7
DEN Jake Plummer 9% 1 11
SD Drew Brees 9% 1 11
MIA Jay Fiedler 8% 1 12
ARI Jeff Blake 8% 1 13
NE Tom Brady 6% 1 16
CIN Jon Kitna 6% 1 16
NO Aaron Brooks 6% 1 16
SEA Matt Hasselbeck 6% 1 16
PHI Donovan McNabb 6% 1 16
DAL Quincy Carter 6% 1 16
GB Brett Favre 6% 1 16
CAR Jake Delhomme 6% 1 16

Peyton Manning led all QB's in stomping opposing defenses with four games that were the most allowed by that defense all season. Manning was already solid with 69% of his games producing top 8 performances and one in every four of his games proved to be the best possible against his opponent.

Trent Green's relative inconsistency shows up here as well. He only had 56% of his games end up as Top 8, but three times he scored the most fantasy points allowed by a defense last year. Green sprinkled some very big weekends among some very average ones.

Almost any player can have the freak high game, so those with more than one game that was the best are the only ones significant. That leaves Manning, Garcia (go figure), Culpepper, VIck, Green and McNair as the top big point QB's.

Again, this is only one tool to use in evaluating a quarterback's potential but should be considered since it clearly shows how well quarterbacks did against the schedule they faced. If you are targeting a specific quarterback this season, it is worthwhile to see how he stacked up against defenses last season and now... you can.