For the fourth year in a row, our 25 Statistics series recaps each position with some of the most meaningful and eye-popping statistics of the year. My goal is to start by giving the broad scope of QB scoring, work through the elite tier of QBs (with a lot of Lamar Jackson thrown in) before finding the odd and quirky 2019 stats that might help reframe and give context to a number of questionable signal-callers.
Stayed tuned as the TRUTH podcast episodes roll on to QBs this next week!
Editor’s Note: All scoring is 4-point standard QB scoring per the Ballers Consistency Charts found at JointheFoot.com.
1. When you compare QB scoring to 2018, there were a couple glaring takeaways in terms of across the league numbers. QBs were less accurate (63.4 percent vs. 65 percent in 2018), threw for 43 fewer passing TDs, 13 fewer INTs (despite Jameis’ best efforts), and 216 fewer fantasy points. In 2018, we had 20(!) different QBs who completed better than 65 percent of their passes, an NFL record. That number regressed as only 13 QBs surpassed that mark in 2019.
2. In 2019, we saw 40 different QBs as top-12 finishers in a given week. That illustrious list includes names such as A.J. McCarron, Matt Schaub, Matt Moore, and Jeff Driskel. Last year we had 41, 2017 saw a record 43 different QBs, and 2016 & 2015 had 40 each. In other words, there are a plethora of QBs capable of being started in fantasy.
3. It wouldn’t be a QB statistics soiree without going over-the-top with Lamar Jackson. We’ll get into his rushing greatness but leading the league in TD passes was not something I saw on the table as his 3.5 percent TD rate from his rookie year jumped to nine percent! Jackson’s 3,127 passing yards ranked 22nd in the league and is the lowest for a passing TD leader since 1978* when Terry Brashaw had only 2,915 passing yards. (*1982 strike-shortened season not included)
4. L-Jax would’ve been the QB12 if we didn’t count any of his rushing stats. To put Jackson’s QB1 overall finish in perspective, he tied Peyton Manning‘s 2013 season & Mahomes’ 2018 with 14 QB1 weeks for the most in history. What makes that number even more astounding is that he sat out Week 17! In five other games in 2019, he sat out almost a quarter of the snaps due to the Ravens throttling their opponent.
5. Jackson not only broke fantasy scoring but his weekly ceiling was basically unfair: he had 11 top-5 fantasy finishes. That meant that 73 percent of the time you started him, he was a week-winning type of guy. His 1,206 rushing yards will probably stand forever as the QB rushing record… unless he breaks it again next year. Jackson’s rush yards more than 13 other teams had COMBINED from the QB position.
Ok, let’s move on to the rest of the QBs..
6. Russell Wilson was an unstoppable force through the 1st nine weeks as the QB1 on total points. He averaged 25.06 fantasy points and it looked like he was going to carry teams to glory as he had done in the second half of seasons past. However, he was the QB21 from Week 10 on. Wilson was the only QB finishing inside the top-12 who actually scored substantially more fantasy points (8.32) versus top-16 defenses than bottom-16. Everyone else beat up on the poor opponents but the Seahawks instead chose to pound the rock on the ground in those games.
7. Yes, Patrick Mahomes was injured for a short stint but he was every bit as good on film compared to 2018 on a per play basis. On deep attempts of over 20+ yards, Mahomes had a league-leading 13 TDs and 122.9 QB Rating. He was 4th in “deep passing yards” despite only throwing the 12th most deep attempts. I’ll let my man Andy share one that gave context to how great and dangerous Mahomes is on every play.
8. Dak Prescott exploded with career-highs in passing yards, attempts and TDs en route to the QB2 finish. He had ten top-10 fantasy finishes boosted by his monster home game splits. Dak never scored lower than 17.7 fantasy points in a game and averaged 30.48 in Texas Stadium. Things could’ve been even better for Prescott as Cowboys pass-catchers dropped the most passes (43) in the league according to Pro Football Focus.
9. Jameis Winston‘s 30-for-30 season is one for the record books as seven of those INTs went for pick-sixes, a league record. Beyond just that feat, his 5,109 passing yards rank 8th all-time for a single season. Winston averaged 4.5 yards per attempt more on play-action passes than not, the largest discrepancy in the league.
10. Call him a goal-line back! Josh Allen had scored all NINE of his league-leading QB rushing TDs inside the red zone including five inside the five-yard line vulturing many opportunities from Devin Singletary owners. Allen was more steady than great in 2019 finishing as the QB6 in standard leagues. He also had one of the quirkiest home/road splits ever as he averaged 9.5 more fantasy points on the road.
11. Ryan Tannehill brought the Titans on the brink of a Super Bowl berth after storming in and somehow reinventing himself as the league’s most efficient passer. He led the league in yards per completion (10.9), passer rating (117.5), and finished with eight QB1 performances despite not starting until Week 7. From that moment on, Tannehill was the QB3 in total points.
12. Maybe there was something in the air in Week 7 if your name was Ryan. Ryan Fitzpatrick likely won lots of people’s fantasy titles if you had the stones to start him. From Week 7 on, Fitzmagic had six top-7 QB finishes; only Lamar Jackson had more. Fitzpatrick was a wildman looking downfield with the highest percentage of Completed Air Yards (65.8) in the league.
13. For the 2nd year in a row, Aaron Rodgers led the NFL in INT % with just 0.7 percent of his attempts falling into the arms of opposing defenses, which is slightly worse than his insane 0.3 percent in 2018. Despite six top-12 performances, Rodgers barely got over 4,000 passing yards and threw for three or more passing TDs only three times on the year.
14. Despite finishing as the QB21 due to only playing in 11 games, Drew Brees and the rest of his QB compadres (Teddy Bridgewater & cheat code Taysom Hill) had the 5th most combined fantasy points at the position. Teddy B did his thing when called upon including being the QB9 from Weeks 7 to 11.
15. When Daniel Jones went big, he absolutely went bananas in 2019. He had four top-2 performances including three 4+ TD games as a rookie. In NFL history, only Fran Tarkenton & Deshaun Watson have done that as a rookie. Jones had many 4+ pass TD games this year as Michael Vick & Troy Aikman had in their entire careers.
16. Rookie Gardner Minshew went a respectable 6-6 in the midst of a lost season in Jacksonville. The rookie had the 5th most rushing yards by a QB and actually outscored Baker Mayfield in fantasy points despite only “starting” 12 games. The Savage Garden had five QB1 weeks including a #2 overall finish in Week 17.
17. Speaking of Baker, there was only one stretch of four games where Baker was a top-12 QB, from Weeks 9-12. To put that statistic into perspective, Marcus Mariota was also a top-12 through the first month of the season. Baker had more passes batted at the line than anyone else and when the Browns got in close, he was #terrible. He went from leading the league in red-zone efficiency in 2018 to being tied for the “lead” in red-zone interceptions & having the worst completion percentage (41.6 percent) among qualified starters. Woof.
18. Every team except for the Redskins and the Steelers had a stretch where their QB was a top-12 guy for at least a four-week stretch. Let’s pause for a moment and tell a tale of how bad the QB play in Pittsburgh was in 2019. They were the only team without a top-12 performance, although Mason Rudolph got oh-so-close in Week 4 versus Cincinnati as QB13. The Steelers QBs went from leading the league in total pass attempts (687) and scoring the 3rd most fantasy points in 2018 (thanks to Big Ben) to throwing the 7th fewest passes and averaging the fewest fantasy points in the league. That probably sunk any Juju Smith-Schuster projection you had coming into the year.
19. Deshaun Watson‘s QB4 finish feels like a forgotten season behind the video game numbers Jackson put up. However, Watson became the 3rd QB ever to throw for 3,800 passing yards and rush for 400 yards and seven rushing TDs in a single season joining Cam Newton & Daunte Culpepper. Watson had seven top-5 QB fantasy performances, behind only Jackson’s 11.
20. He will likely go overlooked this year due to the Cardinals’ struggles and Lamar Jackson’s stupid good season. But Kyler Murray became only the 2nd rookie QB in NFL history with 3,700 passing yards, 20 passing TDs, and 500 rushing yards joining Cam Newton. From Weeks 1-11, Murray was legit coming in as the QB5. However, after the Week 12 bye, he was the QB23 from Week 13 to the end of the season.
21. There have been only eight seasons in NFL history where a QB threw for 4,500+ yards and collected 25 or fewer passing TDs. Two of those seasons happened in 2019. Jared Goff (22) and Philip Rivers (23) both were unlucky from a volume perspective posting TD rates under four percent. Rivers attempted the 4th most “deep passes” of 20+ yards in the league but completed only 27-of-79 of those attempts. Nine of those attempts went for INTs, which led the league.
22. Derek Carr gets crapped on a lot by the fantasy community but when it came to third down, he was elite in 2019. He threw for the most passing yards, most passing TDs, and had the highest QB rating in the league on that money down. Kudos to you Mr. Carr.
23. Andy Dalton, despite losing his job to Ryan Finley of all people, had four top-10 fantasy performances on the season. That is as many as Kyler Murray and one fewer than Aaron Rodgers. He also had as many third-down rushing TDs (2) as Lamar Jackson on the season.
24. The Eagles somehow stumbled into the playoffs in a weak year for the NFC East. Carson Wentz led the league with 12 TD passes inside the 5-yard line, which is just two less than Patrick Mahomes had last year in his 50-TD campaign. In fact, 77 percent of Wentz’s TDs came in the red-zone, the highest mark in the league.
25. Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen had his moment in the sun for a short while as Carolina won five of his first six starts. It turned into a dumpster fire after that losing his six next starts in a row. He also somehow led the league in yards lost through sacks (397) despite “starting” only 12 games.
Let’s just end with how historically bad the Arizona Cardinals were against opposing QBs. Their 419.2 fantasy points allowed were the 2nd most over the last five years behind only the 2015 New Orleans Saints. But that end of season total is answered prayer to Cardinals fans as they were pacing to be among the worst EVER. Before looking somewhat competent against Devlin Hodges, Baker Mayfield, and Russell Wilson in Weeks 14-16, they were on pace to allow 5,197 passing yards, the 2nd most all-time.