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Repeatability - Quarterbacks
David Dorey
July 19, 2005

Each season the cheatsheet and rankings are prepared and the greatest single indicator of a player's success is always what they accomplished the previous season. Freshest on the mind, easiest to remember and hey - it's only nine months since they've been playing. But how often do players actually repeat great fantasy performances? How much stock can we put in the previous season? If there are players who demonstrate "repeatability", who are they and how reliable are they?

All player listings to follow were created using the standard performance scoring as seen on The Huddle statistics. Points were determined awarding 1/20 per pass yard, 3 point passing TD's and 6 Point rushing TD's with 1/10 rushing yardage. While other scoring scenarios will have different rankings to some degree, the repeatability of the players remains intact.

  2000 Pts 2001 Pts 2002 Pts 2003 Pts 2004 Pts
1 D Culpepper 335 K Warner 297 D Culpepper 314 D Culpepper 269 D Culpepper 351
2 J Garcia 318 J Garcia 283 R Gannon 291 P Manning 252 P Manning 323
3 P Manning 286 P Manning 272 M Vick 283 M Hasselbeck 246 D McNabb 275
4 R Gannon 285 S McNair 260 P Manning 268 T Green 242 T Green 260
5 D McNabb 284 A Brooks 259 D Bledsoe 257 M Bulger 241 J Plummer 256
6 E Grbac 258 B Favre 257 A Brooks 254 S McNair 231 B Favre 251
 
7 M Brunell 231 R Gannon 255 S McNair 249 J Garcia 229 J Delhomme 248
8 B Favre 218 D McNabb 250 T Brady 244 A Brooks 228 A Brooks 247
9 S King 216 K Stewart 239 J Garcia 244 B Johnson 225 M Bulger 238
10 S Beuerlein 213 J Fiedler 232 T Green 239 B Favre 225 M Vick 227
11 K Collins 212 D Culpepper 216 D McNabb 222 J Kitna 222 T Brady 225
12 Testaverde 209 T Green 211 B Favre 222 T Brady 217 D Brees 223
 
13 D Bledsoe 199 M Brunell 208 K Collins 217 D McNabb 214 M Hasselbeck 210
14 K Warner 197 K Collins 205 J Plummer 202 Q Carter 206 D Carr 206
15 S McNair 188 J Plummer 205 Pennington 200 J Delhomme 185 K Collins 198
16 K Stewart 180 B Griese 197 J Kitna 195 T Maddox 184 V Testaverde 198
17 B Griese 175 D Flutie 196 D Brees 190 B Leftwich 169 J Harrington 184
18 J Kitna 167 B Johnson 196 B Johnson 188 J Harrington 169 B Leftwich 182
19 J Plummer 163 C Weinke 188 Hasselbeck 185 K Collins 165 D Bledsoe 173
20 J Fiedler 160 T Couch 174 B Griese 178 J Plummer 161 C Palmer 171
21 C Batch 158 J Kitna 170 T Maddox 175 D Bledsoe 152 B Roethlisberger 165
22 R Johnson 146 E Grbac 166 M Brunell 172 J Blake 148 C Pennington 163
23 J Blake 142 T Brady 164 T Couch 168 C Pennington 137 B Volek 159
24 T Green 139 C Chandler 162 D Carr 165 J Fiedler 137 B Griese 158
The Following season: Remained Top 6 Became 7-12 Became 13-24 Not in next Top 24

Top 6 became Avg. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Top 6 2 2 2 2 2 3
7 to 12 2 2 3 3 1 1
13 - 24 1 1 1 0 1 1
Duds 1 1 0 1 2 1
7 to 12 became Avg. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Top 6 1 1 1 2 2 1
7 to 12 1 0 0 2 3 2
13 - 24 1 3 2 0 1 0
Duds 2 2 3 2 0 3
Top 6 was: Avg. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Top 6 2 2 2 2 2 3
7 to 12 1 0 1 2 2 1
13 - 24 1 2 2 0 1 1
24+ 1 2 1 2 1 1

The Top 6 each year always has two returnees though last year was an uncharacteristic three. If you take Manning and Culpepper out of the equation, there is almost no chance that a quarterback will return to a top 6 performance the following year. Plummer is almost a given for a drop as is Green since both have much harder schedules this year. Favre - always solid but the Packers do not appear to be any better than last year and likely not as good. That leaves McNabb as the most likely candidate to remain a top 6 guy so long as Owens returns. If Terrell continues his madness, then we should see the return to the standard two returnees who always have the same name - Manning and Culpepper.

Every season, there is one and possibly two players in the 7 to 12 range that rise up into the top 6. Conventional wisdom likes Bulger though with Vick any thing is possible.

Looking backwards, it is evident that outside of Culpepper and Manning, those top QBs each season come from all over the previous rankings. Yet another reason to wait on a quarterback if you don't take the Manning or Culpepper plunge. Most notable are that those players in the 7-12 range are almost always one year wonders that sees half fall to back-up value if not become duds.

  Repeat Reliability 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
1 P Manning 3 3 4 2 2
2 D Culpepper 1 11 1 1 1
3 D McNabb 5 8 11 13 3
4 B Favre 8 6 12 10 7
5 J Garcia 2 2 9 7  
6 A Brooks   5 6 8 6
7 T Green 24 12 10 4 4
8 S McNair 15 4 7 6  
9 K Collins 11 14 13 19 15
10 J Plummer 19 15 14 20 5
11 T Brady   23 8 12 11
12 D Bledsoe 13   5 21 19
13 M Vick     3   10
14 M Bulger       5 9
15 J Kitna 18 21 16 11  
16 M Hasselbeck       3 14
17 J Delhomme       15 8
18 B Griese 17 16 20   23
19 D Brees     17   12
20 J Fiedler 20 10   24  
21 B Leftwich       17 18
22 J Harrington       18 17
23 D Carr     24   13
24 Pennington     15    
25 Hasselbeck     19    
26 C Palmer         20
24 C Pennington       23 22
28 B Roethlisberger         21
29 K Boller         24
Finishes that were 25th or deeper each year were not listed.

The table to the right shows the year end ranking for each of the listed players and is sorted in a manner to suggest the most reliable "repeaters" in fantasy drafts over the last five years. It's obvious that Manning and Culpepper are literally in a class of their own. McNabb bounces up and down a bit but always remains a worthwhile starter while Favre, Green and Brooks have all three been highly consistent without ever breaking into the top 3.

Top 12
Quarterback Repeatability
50% - 0%

Over the last five seasons, the chance that a quarterback was in the Top 12 the previous season and returned to the Top 12 the next year was 6 of 12 on average. Since you only start one quarterback in virtually every league, this is an important characteristic to remember when deciding when to take your starter. As the yearly results show - there is not a lot of difference between the 7th and 12th best player either. Other than Manning, Culpepper, McNabb and mid-tier Favre, Brooks and Green, there are no quarterbacks which demonstrate the sort of repeatability that can be relied on to make a difference.