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5 Year Fantasy Analysis - Quarterbacks
by David M. Dorey
July 8, 2003
 
Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kickers Defenses

  1998 Pts 1999 Pts 2000 Pts 2001 Pts 2002 Pts
1 S Young 364 K Warner 349 D Culpepper 335 K Warner 297 D Culpepper 314
2 B Favre 282 S Beuerlein 342 J Garcia 318 J Garcia 283 R Gannon 291
3 Cunningham 273 P Manning 298 P Manning 286 P Manning 272 M Vick 283
4 S McNair 256 R Gannon 296 R Gannon 285 S McNair 260 P Manning 268
5 J Plummer 243 B Johnson 279 D McNabb 284 A Brooks 259 D Bledsoe 257
6 P Manning 237 B Favre 275 E Grbac 258 B Favre 257 A Brooks 254
7 V Testaverde 233 D Flutie 256 M Brunell 231 R Gannon 255 S McNair 249
8 T Green 229 D Bledsoe 254 B Favre 218 D McNabb 250 T Brady 244
9 C Chandler 225 J Kitna 231 S King 216 K Stewart 239 J Garcia 244
10 D Bledsoe 210 E Grbac 228 S Beuerlein 213 J Fiedler 232 T Green 239
11 D Marino 208 S McNair 219 K Collins 212 D Culpepper 216 D McNabb 222
12 T Dilfer 204 J Blake 218 Testaverde 209 T Green 211 B Favre 222
13 D Flutie 199 M Brunell 214 D Bledsoe 199 M Brunell 208 K Collins 217
14 J Elway 194 B Griese 210 K Warner 197 K Collins 205 J Plummer 202
15 K Stewart 192 J George 205 S McNair 188 J Plummer 205 Pennington 200
16 M Brunell 186 T Aikman 199 K Stewart 180 B Griese 197 J Kitna 195
17 S Beuerlein 159 T Couch 189 B Griese 175 D Flutie 196 D Brees 190
18 T Banks 157 J Garcia 184 J Kitna 167 B Johnson 196 B Johnson 188
19 R Gannon 157 J Harbaugh 171 J Plummer 163 C Weinke 188 Hasselbeck 185
20 C Batch 147 C Chandler 169 J Fiedler 160 T Couch 174 B Griese 178
21 K Collins 145 T Banks 157 C Batch 158 J Kitna 170 T Maddox 175
22 T Aikman 144 K Collins 153 R Johnson 146 E Grbac 166 M Brunell 172
23 N O'Donnell 139 D Marino 153 J Blake 142 T Brady 164 T Couch 168
24 J Harbaugh 130 C Batch 151 T Green 139 C Chandler 162 D Carr 165

There is a large disparity in how quarterbacks are scored across different leagues but the main differences revolve around the point value of a passing touchdown and yardage points. Changing those will obviously change the numbers, but does surprisingly little to change player rankings within a year and nothing to their relative performance year to year within their position.

Rank 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
1 364 349 335 297 314
2 282 342 318 283 291
3 273 298 286 272 283
4 256 296 285 260 268
5 243 279 284 259 257
6 237 275 258 257 254
Top 6 1655 1839 1766 1628 1667
7 233 256 231 255 249
8 229 254 218 250 244
9 225 231 216 239 244
10 210 228 213 232 239
11 208 219 212 216 222
12 204 218 209 211 222
7 - 12 1309 1406 1299 1403 1420
13 199 214 199 208 217
14 194 210 197 205 202
15 192 205 188 205 200
16 186 199 180 197 195
17 159 189 175 196 190
18 157 184 167 196 188
19 157 171 163 188 185
20 147 169 160 174 178
21 145 157 158 170 175
22 144 153 146 166 172
23 139 153 142 164 168
24 130 151 139 162 165
13-24 1949 2155 2014 2231 2235
Total 4913 5400 5079 5262 5322

What we have seen the past five years is the top spot swapped back and forth between Daunte Culpepper and Kurt Warner. In 1998, Steve Young held the spot which pretty much was just an older version of Culpepper. The difference last year was Warner falling off the map.

Each of the past five seasons have shown a relative consistency in the number of fantasy points scored by the top six or top twelve players with little variation. Unlike kickers and defenses, there is a significant difference between owning the best and 12th best quarterback. An extra five to eight points per game can easily spell the difference between losing and winning.

The past two seasons have been remarkably similar through the top 24 players and one more season like that will cement the NFL standard of diverse passing games and the value of a running quarterback. In almost all years, there ended with a top three quarterbacks which were a clear step up from the fourth and those from the fourth to the twelfth spot were less different top to bottom. So where did these guys come from?

Ends up that they were not really hiding the prior season. This is not a position with overnight wonders. At least not outside Kurt Warner and even that no longer applies.

Each season would normally witness half of the players returning to a top twelve performance the following season but that has been steadily increasing. This is a good thing since it makes them more predictable and reliable. In the past if you drafted a quarterback that had a top six finish in the prior season, only about two of them would repeat. That has not changed. But what has changed is that the past two
The Next Year a Top 6 QB became:
Rank 98 99 00 01 Avg
Top 6 2 2 2 2 2
7 - 12 1 2 3 3 2.3
13 - 24 0 1 1 0 0.5
Duds 3 1 0 1 1.3
seasons, three of the four remaining quarterbacks in question still at least remained in the top twelve. Maybe they were not the huge difference makers you wanted, but by the same token they did not outright kill the chances of your fantasy team.

The two top six stars of the prior season that did not make it back to the top 12 at least the next season were Elvis Grbac (2000) and Warner (2001). Warner had the thumb injury to point at as well.

What is a little surprising is that those quarterbacks that fell into the 7th to 12th rankings the previous season did not fare all that well the next year. Last season saw a record four of the six at least remain in the top 12 and a high of two of them (Gannon and Culpepper) reclaim a top six finish. Donovan McNabb was also a
The Next Year a 7th to 12th QB became:
Rank 98 99 00 01 Avg
Top 6 0 1 1 2 1
7 - 12 1 0 0 2 0.8
13 - 24 1 3 2 0 1.5
Duds 4 2 3 2 3.3
lock to rise to the top six until his injury. That is consistency almost unheard of in this position.

Overall, there is a definite trend for the best fantasy quarterbacks to remain either the best or at least a viable starter for a fantasy team. The reasoning is explored further in a companion article this season - The Running Quarterback. The top pocket passers like Manning remain productive enough to bang around the top echelon and the rushing quarterbacks are scoring enough points either by pass or run to offer almost unheard of consistency in fantasy points for the quarterback position.

This is the reason why the quarterbacks appear so deep this season. Every year witnesses at least a couple of players having a big passing year, but they are now squeaking into the top dozen fantasy quarterbacks that is becoming resident with the very best pure passers and the top rushing quarterbacks. Certainly having the very best quarterback makes a difference, but only Manning and Culpepper present the lowest risk to be a top player. There are a full dozen quarterbacks that will either have a big passing year or that will have a good rushing season and pass enough to challenge the highest levels.

After Manning and Culpepper, the two top of their style of play, the others all offer a similar risk and reward. The fantasy points produced by quarterbacks do not change much year to year and progressively each season the actual names of the quarterbacks are changing less and less.

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kickers Defenses