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Fantasy Intelligence Report: QB Study

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The Fantasy Intelligence Report series of studies continues on its steady path towards finding consistency. And next up are the underappreciated quarterbacks who seem to rise and fall about as much as the stock market these days.

In this study I measured four categories once again, which you will see at the top of the key below. I chose these categories because I thought they would give fantasy owners a complete, yet balanced look at the position heading in to 2011.

All numbers in these categories were found using the Great White Shark League format. The scoring can be found here .

Note: All stats are from 2010, with the exception of Tony Romo

Let’s get to it.

KEY
2010 PA = 2010 points average
(=/>PA)% = Percentage of games where weekly points equaled to or were greater than player’s points average in 2010
OPG = Opportunities per game
DTS = Down the stretch (final four game average)
TS = Total score
HISSR = Huber intelligent stat shark ranking

Player Name

2010 PA

%CON(=/>PA)

OPG

DTS (4)

TS

HISSR

Michael Vick

28

50

39.3

23.5

140.8

1

Peyton Manning

19.4

50

44.5

18.5

132.4

2

Philip Rivers

19.2

56.2

38

16.5

129.9

3

Drew Brees

18.8

50

43.8

16.5

129.1

4

Ben Roethlisberger

19.2

50

37.9

20

127.1

5

Tim Tebow (6 games)

17.5

50

39.3

20.3

127.1

6

Carson Palmer

15.9

50

40.25

15

126.4

7

Aaron Rodgers

21.5

53.3

38

13.3

126.1

8

Tony Romo*

18.8

50

38.6

18.5

125.9

9

Eli Manning

16.8

50

36.68

17

120.5

10

Matt Schaub

17.1

43.75

39.25

20.3

120.4

11

Joe Flacco

15.7

56.2

35.7

11.8

119.4

12

No one is probably surprised to see Michael Vick at the top of this study, but here’s something to “chew” on. Of Vick’s 39.3 opportunities per game last season, 8.3 of them came via ground for an average of 56.3 rushing yards per game, or 5.6 fantasy points. In other words, even if you were to take out Vick’s rushing numbers per game he would’ve still averaged more points per game of any quarterback. Even more intriguing is the fact that if you were to take his 336 total points scored and divide it by a full 16-game schedule he would barely lose ground to Aaron Rodgers at 21 per game.

I think Philip Rivers has become my new Tony Stewart man crush. Seriously, not only was Rivers a consistent machine last season, but he scored less than double digit points just once, and did it with questionable talent at wide receiver for a large chunk of the season. Rivers also averaged 296.8 yards and almost two touchdowns through the air in six games against his AFC West mates – Denver, Kansas City and Oakland.

I can’t wait until Tim Tebow is named starter. His fantasy averages, especially down the stretch, are almost in line with the top tier quarterbacks, and he plays for a bad Denver Broncos team that will probably play from behind for much of the season. And for those who just want to hate on the lefty because his mechanics are not Peyton Manning-esque, I have to direct you to Vick’s rookie season in 2001 when he completed just 44.2 percent of his 113 passes. The very next season he was named starter, threw for 2,936 yards, ran for 777, scored a combined 24 touchdowns (eight rushing), and finished with a 54.9 completion percentage. Oh, and the Atlanta Falcons lost in the divisional round of the playoffs that year. So go ahead, and dig away at Tebow. I’ll stay at the surface and stash him on my fantasy team until Kyle Orton’s beard gets too long.

Aaron Rodgers now has enough weapons to start a small army and should have no problem keeping pace with Vick, the slippery Eagle, in 2011. Having said that, I’m a little worried about his average down the stretch during fantasy playoff time. Last season wasn’t the first time Rodgers has had trouble in the final four games. In 2009, he recorded more points than his yearly average just once between Weeks 14 and 17.

Houston Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub is like the brain teaser that I just can’t figure out. Last season, he averaged just 9.5 points per game against the Indianapolis Colts, but scored 28 against a tougher Baltimore Ravens defense. His consistency isn’t where I would like it to be for me to select him as a starter, but then again he has the third-easiest schedule ahead of him. I’m truly torn.

Joe Flacco’s midseason performance was highly encouraging. From Weeks 5-14 he scored between 17 and 21 points, well above his yearly average. On the downside though, Flacco averaged just 12.5 points per game against AFC North opponents Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. And even though he will face the 19th-toughest schedule among quarterbacks in 2011 I still consider him as a backup option, especially against the black and blue AFC North.

Player Name

2010 PA

%CON(=/>PA)

OPG

DTS (4)

TS

HISSR

Sam Bradford

13.5

50

40.68

11.3

115.4

13

Matt Ryan

16.5

43.75

40

14.8

115

14

Matt Cassel

15.3

53.3

33.9

10.5

113

15

Chad Henne

12.7

53.3

37

9.5

112.5

16

Jay Cutler

16

46.6

35.6

13.5

111.7

17

Josh Freeman

17.1

37.5

35.6

21.3

111.5

18

Matthew Stafford (2 games)

24

50

34.6

0

108.6

19

Tom Brady

18.8

37.5

34.25

17.5

108.1

20

Donovan McNabb

15.5

46.13

41.3

4.3

107.2

21

Alex Smith

13.7

45.45

35

11

105.2

22

Ryan Fitzpatrick

17

38.4

38.8

10.3

104.5

23

Mark Sanchez

13.9

37.5

35.25

10.3

96.9

24

Matt Ryan will be a fun quarterback to watch in 2011. The Atlanta Falcons have a strong rushing attack, a bona fide star at wide receiver, a large investment rookie, and one of the greatest and most consistent tight ends of all-time. To top things off,  Ryan is up against some odds in fantasy circles down the stretch. If the Falcons seal the lid on the division title early, there could be some rest and relaxation for the smart quarterback as the season winds down.

Even though he was one of the more consistent passers in 2010, Matt Cassel is not my cup of tea. He’s too unpredictable and seems vulnerable to returning to his 2009 form.  I just can’t carry a quarterback on my fantasy team who throws for as many interceptions as touchdowns like Cassel did two seasons ago.

A very dark red line will already be across Jay Cutler’s name before any of my fantasy drafts start, and it’s not because he whines about as much as a 5-year-old on a long car trip. Cutler was one of only two quarterbacks last season in the Top 16 to record eight points or less in four games or more.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter Josh Freeman finished just one game without scoring a touchdown, and only threw six interceptions all season. On the flipside, in 16 starts he never cracked the 300-yard passing mark, and finished with a points average of 16.3 per game – below his yearly average – against NFC South rivals Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans.

I’m not ready to jump on the Matthew Stafford bandwagon just yet. Yes, Stafford did score seven touchdowns in the two full starts he made last season. At the same time, he hasn’t proven yet that he can stay on the field for a full season.

There is no doubt that Tom Brady is a great NFL quarterback, but he may not be a top tier fantasy quarterback heading in to 2011. Yes, Brady did finish sixth overall with 300 fantasy points, and threw for 36 touchdowns while posting a 111 passer rating, but he was also the only quarterback in the Top 6 who recorded seven games or more with 15 points or less. In fact, the other five (Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees) combined to record just 13 games at or below 15, or 2.6 per player.

And be prepared to hear a lot of chuckles if and when Mark Sanchez gets drafted this fantasy season. Sanchez is a good leader for the New York Jets offense, but he isn’t a “sexy” fantasy quarterback. His numbers are just awful across the board.

Good luck with your quarterback rankings.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for fantasysharks.com.