FF Tips

2017 Reliability Rankings: QB

By Matt Schauf 12:03pm EDT 3/27/18


We’re just a month away now from the 2018 NFL Draft and a QB class packed with talent and intrigue.

We’ll see how many of those new guys can step into starting gigs right away. But before they actually arrive, let’s take a look back at what the 2017 passers did for our fantasy teams.

First off, the new guys will enter a league that saw QB scoring dip in 2017. The past season gave fantasy football owners:

-- our lowest QB1 point total since 2010
-- our lowest QB6 total since 2008
-- our lowest QB12 total since 2011
-- our lowest QB18 total since 2011

We’re not talking about huge drop-offs. The QB18 spot was the only place 2017’s finisher fell 2+ points per game behind his 2016 counterpart. And the dip becomes less surprising when you count that the league attempted 807 fewer passes in 2017. That came out to about 1.6 per team game vs. 2016.

We could dig further into league-wide passing trends, but that’s not really the point of this article.


The Method

DraftSharks.com has been posting Reliability Rankings at the end of each season for a while. (Check out the 2016, 2015 and 2014 editions.) Below you’ll find the start of the 2017 version, but I’m changing the method a bit.

We still tracked how each QB fared week to week, but it’s a lot easier to finish 10th at the position in a given week when 6 teams are on bye vs. when everyone’s playing. And there will also be plenty of non-bye variation. Should a QB get more recognition for his 24-point outing just because it happened to place him 4th in Week 4 when the same score would have ranked 13th the next week?

For predictive purposes, it matters more that he scored 24 points -- unless there’s something about Week 4 that makes it a more difficult time to rack up fantasy stats.

So I compiled all the QB scores from every regular-season week of 2017 and found the median to determine what qualified as a top-12 (or “starter,” in a 12-team league) week. But I also took a look at where the biggest scoring gaps arose.

(Scoring: 1 point per 20 passing yards, 4-point passing TDs, 6 points for other TDs, 1 point per 10 rushing yards, minus-1 per turnover)

-- The weekly QB1 averaged 2.7 more points per game than QB2.
-- QB2 averaged 2.8 more points than QB3.
-- QB4 beat QB5 by 1.5 points (with 1.3, 1.0 and 1.0 separating the next 3 pairs).
-- QB8 topped QB9 by 1.8 points.

QB12 also sat 0.8 points per week ahead of the next level, which marked a bigger gap than other pairs down the list but obviously didn’t match the differences among the top 12.

Over the past 5 years -- using overall points per game rather than the weekly median -- QB1 beat QB2 by 2.4 points per game. That marked the largest split by far. Next largest: 0.8 between QB4 and QB5, as well as QB6 and QB7.

So, as you climb the weekly QB rankings, each step up near the top of the board has generally proved to be worth more than similar steps outside the top 8. Especially when you factor in the growth of DFS participation and best-ball formats in recent years, I thought it worth checking which QBs delivered the most high-end performances in 2017.


How They Fared

Using the 2017 median scores for each spot, here’s how often each QB posted scores at the following levels:


Top 2 (32+ fantasy points)

1. Deshaun Watson, Texans -- 42.9% -- 3 of 7 games
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
3T. Russell Wilson, Seahawks -- 18.8% -- 3 of 16
3T. Cam Newton, Panthers -- 18.8% -- 3 of 16
5. Alex Smith, Chiefs -- 13.3% -- 2 of 15
6T. Tom Brady, Patriots -- 12.5% -- 2 of 16
6T. Dak Prescott, Cowboys -- 12.5% -- 2 of 16
8T. Carson Wentz, Eagles -- 7.7% -- 1 of 13
8T. Josh McCown, Jets -- 7.7% -- 1 of 13
10T. Case Keenum, Vikings -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
10T. Derek Carr, Raiders -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
10T. Eli Manning, Giants -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
13T. Kirk Cousins, Washington -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16
13T. Philip Rivers, Chargers -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16
13T. Andy Dalton, Bengals -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16

Top 4 (28.4+ FP)

1. Sam Bradford, Vikings -- 50.0% -- 1 of 2
2. Deshaun Watson, Texans -- 42.9% -- 3 of 7
3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks -- 37.5% -- 6 of 16
4. Alex Smith, Chiefs -- 33.3% -- 5 of 15
5T. Carson Wentz, Eagles -- 30.8% -- 4 of 13
5T. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers -- 30.8% -- 4 of 13
7T. Cam Newton, Panthers -- 25.0% -- 4 of 16
7T. Kirk Cousins, Washington -- 25.0% -- 4 of 16
7T. Dak Prescott, Cowboys -- 25.0% -- 4 of 16
10T. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
10T. Jared Goff, Rams -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
10T. Case Keenum, Vikings -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
10T. Eli Manning, Giants -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
14. Tom Brady, Patriots -- 18.8% -- 3 of 16
15. C.J. Beathard, 49ers -- 16.7% -- 1 of 6
16. Josh McCown, Jets -- 15.4% -- 2 of 13
17. Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- 14.3% -- 1 of 7
18T. Matthew Stafford, Lions -- 12.5% -- 2 of 16
18T. Philip Rivers, Chargers -- 12.5% -- 2 of 16
20. Brian Hoyer, 49ers -- 10.0% -- 1 of 10
21T. Tyrod Taylor, Bills -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
21T. Derek Carr, Raiders -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
21T. DeShone Kizer, Browns -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
24T. Blake Bortles, Jaguars -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16
24T. Andy Dalton, Bengals -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16
24T. Jacoby Brissett, Colts -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16

Top 8 (23.6+ FP)

1T. Deshaun Watson, Texans -- 71.4% -- 5 of 7
1T. Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- 71.4% -- 5 of 7
3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks -- 56.3% -- 9 of 16
4. Carson Wentz, Eagles -- 53.8% -- 7 of 13
5. Sam Bradford, Vikings -- 50.0% -- 1 of 2
6T. Tom Brady, Patriots -- 37.5% -- 6 of 16
6T. Kirk Cousins, Washington -- 37.5% -- 6 of 16
6T. Dak Prescott, Cowboys -- 37.5% -- 6 of 16
9T. Alex Smith, Chiefs -- 33.3% -- 5 of 15
9T. Jared Goff, Rams -- 33.3% -- 5 of 15
11T. Cam Newton, Panthers -- 31.3% -- 5 of 16
11T. Philip Rivers, Chargers -- 31.3% -- 5 of 16
11T. Blake Bortles, Jaguars -- 31.3% -- 5 of 16
14T. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers -- 30.8% -- 4 of 13
14T. Josh McCown, Jets -- 30.8% -- 4 of 13
16. Matthew Stafford, Lions -- 25.0% -- 4 of 16
17T. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
17T. Case Keenum, Vikings -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
17T. Eli Manning, Giants -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
17T. DeShone Kizer, Browns -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
17T. Brian Hoyer, 49ers -- 20.0% -- 2 of 10
17T. Blaine Gabbert, Cardinals -- 20.0% -- 1 of 5
23. Drew Brees, Saints -- 18.8% -- 3 of 16
24T. Trevor Siemian, Broncos -- 18.2% -- 2 of 11
24T. Brett Hundley, Packers -- 18.2% -- 2 of 11
26T. C.J. Beathard, 49ers -- 16.7% -- 1 of 6
26T. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers -- 16.7% -- 1 of 6
26T. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers -- 16.7% -- 1 of 6
26T. Brock Osweiler, Broncos -- 16.7% -- 1 of 6
30T. Jay Cutler, Dolphins -- 14.3% -- 2 of 14
30T. Carson Palmer, Cardinals -- 14.3% -- 1 of 7
30T. Nick Foles, Eagles -- 14.3% -- 1 of 7
33. Tyrod Taylor, Bills -- 13.3% -- 2 of 15
34. Jacoby Brissett, Colts -- 12.5% -- 1 of 16
35. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears -- 8.3% -- 1 of 12
36. Derek Carr, Raiders -- 6.7% -- 1 of 15
37T. Andy Dalton, Bengals -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16
37T. Joe Flacco, Ravens -- 6.3% -- 1 of 16


Top 12 (20.6+ FP)

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- 85.7% -- 6 of 7
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks -- 75.0% -- 12 of 16
3. Deshaun Watson, Texans -- 71.4% -- 5 of 7
4. Carson Wentz, Eagles -- 69.2% -- 9 of 13
5. Philip Rivers, Chargers -- 56.3% -- 9 of 16
6. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers -- 53.8% -- 7 of 13
7T. Tom Brady, Patriots -- 50.0% -- 8 of 16
7T. Matthew Stafford, Lions -- 50% -- 8 of 16
7T. Drew Brees, Saints -- 50% -- 8 of 16
7T. Sam Bradford, Vikings -- 50% -- 1 of 2
11T. Alex Smith, Chiefs -- 46.7% -- 7 of 15
11T. Jared Goff, Rams -- 46.7% -- 7 of 15
13T. Cam Newton, Panthers -- 43.8% -- 7 of 16
13T. Kirk Cousins, Washington -- 43.8% -- 7 of 16
13T. Blake Bortles, Jaguars -- 43.8% -- 7 of 16
16T. Case Keenum, Vikings -- 40.0% -- 6 of 15
16T. DeShone Kizer, Browns -- 40.0% -- 6 of 15
18. Josh McCown, Jets -- 38.5% -- 5 of 13
19. Dak Prescott, Cowboys -- 37.5% -- 6 of 16
20T. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers -- 33.3% -- 5 of 15
20T. Tyrod Taylor, Bills -- 33.3% -- 5 of 15
20T. C.J. Beathard, 49ers -- 33.3% -- 2 of 6
20T. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers -- 33.3% -- 2 of 6
20T. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers -- 33.3% -- 2 of 6
25. Andy Dalton, Bengals -- 31.3% -- 5 of 16
26. Trevor Siemian, Broncos -- 27.3% -- 3 of 11
27T. Marcus Mariota, Titans -- 26.7% -- 4 of 15
27T. Eli Manning, Giants -- 26.7% -- 4 of 15
29T. Derek Carr, Raiders -- 20.0% -- 3 of 15
29T. Brian Hoyer, 49ers -- 20.0% -- 2 of 10
29T. Blaine Gabbert, Cardinals -- 20.0% -- 1 of 5
32T. Matt Ryan, Falcons -- 18.8% -- 3 of 16
32T. Jacoby Brissett, Colts -- 18.8% -- 3 of 16
34. Brett Hundley, Packers -- 18.2% -- 2 of 11
35. Brock Osweiler, Broncos -- 16.7% -- 1 of 6
36T. Jay Cutler, Dolphins -- 14.3% -- 2 of 14
36T. Carson Palmer, Cardinals -- 14.3% -- 1 of 7
36T. Nick Foles, Eagles -- 14.3% -- 1 of 7
39T. Joe Flacco, Ravens -- 12.5% -- 2 of 16
39T. Tom Savage, Texans -- 12.5% -- 1 of 8
41. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears -- 8.3% -- 1 of 12


Notes:

-- Matt Ryan and Dak Prescott fell hard from their 2016 levels. Ryan finished 11 of 16 weeks among the top 12 QBs in 2016 before delivering just 3 top-12 level outings last year. Prescott didn’t drop quite so far but went from the same 11/16 to just 6/16 in 2017.

-- Prescott surfaced for a top-4 week at the Giants in December on the strength of a few long catch-and-run TDs. That came amid an 8-game stretch that saw him average 13.3 points across the other 7 outings and fall short of 18 points in each.

-- Marcus Mariota was the only other QB above 50% in 2016 (53.3%, 8 of 15) who fell below 50% last year.

-- Drew Brees posted top-12 level scoring in half of his games despite the drastic switch in New Orleans’ play breakdown that sliced 137 pass attempts off his season total vs. 2016. But he gave us none of the top-shelf Brees weeks we’ve come to expect. The veteran didn’t hit 27 fantasy points at all last season in this scoring system. The near-comeback in the Divisional playoffs marked just the 2nd time Brees eclipsed 2 TD passes all year.

-- Sam Bradford and Case Keenum combined for 7 top-12 level weeks in 2017, same as new Vikings starter Kirk Cousins achieved for Washington.

-- All 3 of Jared Goff’s top-4 weeks and 1 of his 2 other top-8 outings came after the Week 9 bye.

-- Blake Bortles delivered 5 straight top-12 level scores from Week 12 through Week 16, including 4 of his 5 top-8 level outings for the year.

-- After a quiet start to the season, Ben Roethlisberger went back to his familiar home-road splits over the 2nd half. Of his 5 top-12 level weeks, 3 reached top-2 level. All 3 of those -- plus another top-12 -- came at home. All 5 of those weeks came consecutively, from Week 11 through Week 15.

Seven other QBs joined Roethlisberger in spending most of their top-12 level weeks amid the position’s top-4 range:

-- Eli Manning: 75% (3 of 4)
-- Alex Smith: 71.4% (5 of 7)
-- Dak Prescott: 66.7% (4 of 6)
-- Roethlisberger: 60.0% (3 of 5)
-- Deshaun Watson: 60.0% (3 of 5)
-- Cam Newton: 57.1% (4 of 7)
-- Kirk Cousins: 57.1% (4 of 7)
-- Jameis Winston: 57.1% (4 of 7)

Winston -- at QB17 in FFPC best-ball drafting so far, QB18 in MFL10s and QB19 on PlayDraft -- looks like a good value in early drafting for 2018.

Share This!

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments:

comments powered by Disqus

Related Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Podcast: NFC East Preview 6-13-18

Want to know who you should target -- or avoid -- from the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles and Redskins? We've got the answers as we kick off our team-by-team previews in the NFC East ...

1:06pm EDT 6/13/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: ADP Check 5-31-18

Some rookie RBs have made huge leaps up the ADP board. QBs are moving down. And values sit all over the place. Let's take a look at the most important changes in recent drafting ...

2:05pm EDT 5/31/18 Read More
Drew Brees' 2018 Fantasy Football Outlook

Low passing volume led to a disappointing 10th-place fantasy finish for Drew Brees last year. Can he bounce back into the upper-end of the QB1 echelon in 2018?

11:05am EDT 5/15/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Dynasty Rankings Update 5-10-18

Youth suddenly dominates the dynasty RB rankings, and the QBs look impossible to sort out. Let's run through the biggest changes following the NFL Draft and look for some buy/sell candidates.

1:05pm EDT 5/10/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: ADP Check 4-5-18

April just started, but best-ball drafts have been running for more than 2 months. Let's seek out the value plays, potential busts and winning strategies.

12:04pm EDT 4/5/18 Read More
Fantasy Football Podcast: Free Agent Frenzy 3-14-18

The podcast crew is back to break down all the early action of NFL free agency.

4:03pm EDT 3/14/18 Read More
Re-Ranking the 2017 Rookie Class

Before we dive into the incoming 2018 rookie class, let's take a look back and re-rank the impressive 2017 crop.

3:02pm EST 2/19/18 Read More

Read More Articles

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Download on Google Play