This is the perfect time during the real-life playoffs to reflect and revisit the 2017 fantasy season. In our “25 Statistics” series, we will look into each position and grab 25 of the most meaningful and fantasy relevant statistics that ultimately reveal a bigger narrative of a player’s season. These are in no particular order or rank, simply stats for stats sake my friends. Stay tuned as we reveal a position each week over the next month.
QBs articles are especially “my baby” around here as I weekly write a Decoding the Top 12 QBs column, a Midseason QB Review as well as an offseason series entitled “Who Can Be a QB1?” Speaking of the off-season… stay tuned for player profile articles, season report card recaps as well as pre-season QB Rankings from Andy, Mike, and Jason on the podcast and the Ultimate Draft Kit.
Note: For statistics sake, standard leagues for QBs refer to 4 points per passing TD league which a majority of fantasy owners play in. I will also use 6 point leagues in statistics as well.
25 Statistics: QBs in 2017
1) Talk about a bit of a conundrum…. while total QB points (8,527) were the second-highest they’ve been over the last 10 years, the total number of WR points in PPR leagues (16,027) was its third-lowest in the last 10 years. What led to this giant discrepancy? High-end RBs gobbled up their targets for TDs despite teams running the most 3+ WR sets (72.9%) on passing attempts over the last 10 years per Scott Barrett of PFF.
2) Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Philip Rivers finished tied with 11 weeks as a top 12 option in standard scoring. To compare, Matt Ryan had 12 such weeks in 2016, Andrew Luck had 13 in 2014, and Peyton Manning‘s magical 2013 season had 14 for the most in the past 5 years.
3) Things started out positively for the 2016 league MVP, Matt Ryan, in Week 1 as he registered a top 10 fantasy week that must’ve pleased owners. That was his best of the season besides a Week 17 performance to allow Atlanta to sneak into the playoffs. Ryan had league-leading 12 QB1 weeks in 2016 and only 4 in 2017.
4) You already know how good he was all year, but Carson Wentz finished the year as the QB5 despite missing the final 3 weeks of the season. Over the last 10 years, the only other QBs to finish in the top 12 in fewer than 14 games were fellow Eagles’ gunslingers Nick Foles (QB12 in 2013), Michael Vick (QB1 in 2010, QB11 in 2011) and current broadcaster extraordinaire Tony Romo (QB11 in 2008)
5) Ok, I can’t stop gushing about Wentz. He had 8 starts as a top 5 QB, the most on the year despite only playing 13 games! That’s as many as Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Jared Goff…COMBINED.
6) Ever the under-appreciated fantasy asset, Philip Rivers was as consistent as they get in 2017 with 11 top 12 weeks as mentioned earlier. Although his year-end numbers show he finished only as the QB8, Rivers posted 9 games with a QB Rating over 100, his most since 2008 when he had 10.
7) Deshone Kizer’s rookie season was a rollercoaster as he started off Week 1 as a top 10 QB, benched midway through and failing to register his first NFL win as the Browns unfortunately finished 0-16. However, Kizer had 7 QB1 weeks, as many as much more heralded names Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, and Matthew Stafford.
8) Despite playing all 16 games, Drew Brees‘ 23 TDs were his fewest since 2002, when he was just in his second year in the league. Brees finished as the QB11 in 6-point per passing TD leagues, the lowest finish of his career when playing 15+ games.
10) Josh McCown averaged 21.7 fantasy points from Weeks 6 to 13, third best behind only Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz during that stretch. Now if McCown could somehow finish a season without surrendering his body to the flames…
11) Over the last 5 weeks of the fantasy season (Weeks 12-16), Blake Bortles was the QB1. He was a championship winner for the second year in arow despite “Bortling” for most of the year including an 8 week stretch without a top 12 performance.
12) With 304.66 fantasy points in 6 point per TD leagues, Dak Prescott barely finished as a QB1 for the season at 12th overall. That is the lowest top 12 total since Mark Sanchez finished as the QB10 in 2011.
13) The majority of the 2017 season was abysmal for Joe Flacco in terms of fantasy production. He failed to produce a QB1 week for the first 12 weeks. However, he finished strong as the QB5 from Week 13 to Week 16. In other words, if you abandoned Tom Brady and started Flacco for the fantasy playoffs you’d have been in better shape.
14) Cam Newton‘s 754 rushing yards are the most for a QB since Russell Wilson’s 859 yards in 2014. His 139 rushing attempts were as many as other mobile QBs Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston… COMBINED. His ground game (yards + TDs) added 111.4 fantasy points to his year-end total, the difference between his QB2 overall finish and Eli Manning‘s QB23 campaign.
15) How could we not talk about Deshaun Watson? If you take out his Week 1 line in which he came in for a ineffective Tom Savage, Watson averaged 27.19 fantasy points during his next 6 weeks before his unfortunate ACL. To put that in perspective, Aaron Rodgers‘ 2011 season (26.5 fpg) was the highest average in a season minimum 6 starts.
16) There were 3 teams that failed to have 4 top 12 weeks at the QB position: Marcus Mariota had 3 for the Titans, Derek Carr had 3 for the Raiders, and Mitchell Trubisky & the Bears brought up the rear with only 2 QB1 performances.
17) Backups matter! There were 4 instances of QBs who came in relief for either an injured or ineffective QB and still finished as a QB1: Kevin Hogan in Week 5, Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 6, Tyrod Taylor in Week 11 and Brock Osweiler in Week 15.
18) Fantasy owners should know there’s Good Eli… and Bad Eli. Eli Manning‘s 10 “bad starts” were the most in the league. He essentially tripled his number of top 12 performances to those outside of the top 19.
19) Sam Bradford started Week 1. Sam Bradford finished as the QB3 in Week 1. Sam Bradford got injured and basically didn’t play the rest of 2017. Sam Bradford still had more top 3 performances than Drew Brees.
20) In 2017, for QBs with a minimum 7 starts, Carson Wentz was the only QB to register only one “bad” start, in which he finished outside the top 19 QBs for a given week. To compare, Aaron Rodgers (2016) and Russell Wilson (2015) led the way with ZERO bad starts.
21) Ben Roethlisberger was an atrocious fantasy QB at the beginning of the season. Through Week 9, Big Ben was the QB24, averaging 12.7 fantasy points in standard leagues. From Week 10 on, he averaged 22.7 fantasy points, the MOST for QBs in the second-half of the year.
22) Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott were two of the ultimate boom-bust QBs this year. Cousins had 7 QB1 weeks including 4 top 3 performances while also registering 5 “bad” starts. Prescott started out hot with QB1 weeks in 7 of his first 8 starts. He fell off a cliff in the second-half with the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott with 5 of his last 8 starts being 20th or worse.
23) Andy Dalton was probably a forgotten man by many (not the #BillsMafia) in 2017. He still had 6 QB1 weeks on the season including 3 top 5 weeks, also known as more than Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Philip Rivers… COMBINED.
24) The AFC North & NFC East tied with 30 QB1 performances collectively in standard scoring formats. The AFC South was by far the worst registering only 19 such finishes. AFC South QBs finished in the top 12 only 29.6% of the time.
25) In standard leagues, we saw a record 43 different QBs, including one-time wonders CJ Beathard, Kevin Hogan, Brock Osweiler, David Fales and T.J. Yates contribute a top 12 week. In 2015 and 2016, we saw 40.
Stay tuned for 25 Statistics on the other positions!