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2020 QB Reliability Ratings

By Matt Schauf 10:02pm EST 2/17/21

Quarterbacks scored a lot of freakin’ fantasy points last season.

You didn’t need to open this article to learn that, and that’s not all I plan to say on the subject. But it seems a worthwhile starting point.

A 400-point fantasy QB used to be a unicorn. Tom Brady rode a then-record 50 TD passes beyond that benchmark back in 2007. The next 3 seasons produced zero 400-point QBs. The 2 seasons before that Brady campaign also delivered 0, after 2004 gave us Peyton Manning’s 49-TD line plus Daunte Culpepper’s league-leading 429.5 fantasy points.

(Obviously, all these point totals will differ by league scoring. But you get the idea.)

Recent years have seen the NFL continue to mold rules to favor offenses and QBs, and we have come to see 400-point fantasy lines annually. This past season delivered the most ever, though: 6 quarterbacks roared past 400 fantasy points. Only 1 other year has given us more than 3.

That came back in 2011, when Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford all exceeded 400 points. We had 0 such performances the 3 seasons prior. The season after produced one 400+ QB. In fact, the 8 years between 2011 and 2020 totaled just 13 such fantasy lines -- 1.6 per season.

The point surge of 2020 extended beyond those top 6 scorers as well. The top overall scoring spot trailed 2019’s numbers. But every other position down the QB rankings beat its 2019 counterpart.

Does that make 2020 a harbinger of an upward trend in QB scoring? Or was it a high point in a graph bound to bounce up and down?

We obviously can’t know that answer for sure until ensuing seasons play out. But let’s look at other recent numbers.

I took every week of QB scoring over the past 5 years and found the median points per game for each position in the QB fantasy rankings each season. The chart above shows the top 12 from each year. As you can see, the blue dot for 2020 falls short of the lead at QB1 but leads every other spot.

The rest of the dots proved more mixed, however. That means 2020 didn’t just represent the next step in a clear upward scoring trend.

It might be that, of course. Every draft class promises to bring more QBs with at least some mobility, which we know enhances both fantasy floor and upside. So we’ll see where that scoring goes. And we’ll, of course, look further into that as we move toward 2021 projections time.

Top Performers of 2020

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