This is the perfect time during the real-life playoffs to reflect and revisit the 2018 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. 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 6 points per passing TD league which is part of the Ballers preferred scoring format. I will also use 4 point leagues in statistics as well.
1. If we include Week 17, we saw a total number of 41 different QB1s this year. To compare last year we saw a record 43 different QBs and 2015 and 2016 registered 40 each. We saw some unusual names in 2018 visit the top-12 pantheon such as Kyle Allen, journeyman Josh Johnson, the enigmatic Brock Osweiler, C.J. Beathard and somehow Case Keenum.
2. In 2017, we saw only 17 30+ point fantasy performances in 4 point leagues from Weeks 1-16. In 2018, we equaled that total in just 4 weeks! We saw an amazing 33 weeks of 30+ fantasy points, almost double from last year.
3. It wouldn’t be 2018 QB Stats if we didn’t talk about him. Prepare for some incoming Patrick Mahomes all-time stats as he posted the greatest QB fantasy season ever… His 50 TDs are tied with 2007 Tom Brady for 2nd all-time. He had the 4th highest adjusted yards per attempt ever, 8th highest TD rate, and 7th highest QB Rating.
4. To put Mahomes’ QB1 overall finish in perspective, he tied Peyton Manning‘s magical 2013 season with 14 QB1 weeks for the most in history. Last year Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Philip Rivers finished tied with 11 weeks as a top 12 option in standard scoring. Matt Ryan led with 12 such weeks in 2016 and Andrew Luck had 13 in 2014.
5. Drew Brees is marching toward a Super Bowl title as the Saints carry the best record in the league. In 6-point leagues, he had 7 QB1 performances including 4 in a row in Weeks 9-12. However, he fell off a cliff from Week 13 on finishing below 4,000 yards on the season for the first time since 2005. For those final four games, Brees was the QB24 finishing behind such luminaries as Jeff Driskel and Josh Johnson.
6. Lamar Jackson was a revelation for the Baltimore Ravens going 6-1 in his 7 starts to end the season and lead to an AFC North title. He also established a relatively safe fantasy floor never finishing below QB15 with the 11th most QB rushing yards (695) of all time. LJax was kept at bay from the absolute monster games as he averaged 1.7 fumbles per game started, the MOST EVER by a rookie QB.
7. Blake Bortles wasn’t quite the bumbling league-winner we remember in fantasy years past. Despite the Jaguars collapsing inwardly like the Death Star, Blake the Snake had 5 QB1 weeks in his first 9 starts before giving way to backup Cody Kessler. That was as many as Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees also had in that span.
8. Mitch Trubisky fought off his naysayers (including Jason Moore) turning in a sophomore campaign that reaped some major fantasy rewards. He had the highest scoring fantasy game among QBs in Week 4 against Tampa Bay going 19 for 26 for 354 passing yards, 6 TDs and adding 53 rushing yards on the ground. From Weeks 4-10, he averaged the most fantasy points per contest (28) including two #1 overall performances and another #2.
9. Hopefully, you remember way back when the wild ride we took with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the beginning of the season. Fitz was an animal finishing as the QB1, QB6, and QB8 those first 3 weeks. He had 3 straight games over 400 passing yards and 12 total TDs for the greatest fantasy start to a season ever at the QB position.
10. While the Fitzmagic eventually ran out, teammate Jameis Winston picked it right back up as the Bucs finished the season with the MOST passing yards as a team, the 6th-most QB rushing yards, and the 2nd most QB fantasy points per game trailing only the Chiefs. In fact, the Bucs QB collective posted the 5th-most fantasy points since 2006.
11. Andrew Luck returned with a vengeance after we spent all off-season debating whether he’d be able to throw a football again, especially an NFL-sized version. He had an NFL-record 8 straight games with 3 or more passing TDs from Weeks 4-12. He finished with the highest QB Rating (98.7) of his career and with a revamped offensive line, he had the lowest sack rate (2.7%) in the league.
12. Matt Ryan overcame his 2017 demons and posted the 14th best fantasy QB season of all-time aided by a career-high 3 rushing TDs and a receiving TD. From Weeks 2-10, he averaged the same amount of fantasy points as Patrick Mahomes including 7 QB1 performances. Ryan also showed up for the fantasy playoffs tying Mahomes again as the only QB to be a QB1 each time in Weeks 14-16.
13. Derek Carr and the Raiders were pretty abysmal as a franchise this year. However, when Carr was on as a fantasy QB, you got some lights-out performances. Carr had only 3 QB1 weeks this year. All of them were top-5 finishes (Week 4, 8, and 13). That’s as many top-5 weeks as Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins.
14. Ben Roethlisberger won people fantasy championships with 4 QB1 performances in a row from Weeks 13-16. Roethlisberger had 8 top-10 weeks and paced the league with 5,129 passing yards, the most of his career.
15. Cam Newton was a fantasy force for much of the season as his 9 QB1 weeks trailed only Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Patrick Mahomes. However, he trainwrecked your playoff squad finishing poorly as the QB26 from Weeks 13-15 and sitting out Weeks 16-17 with a shoulder injury.
16. You probably completely ignored Eli Manning and the Giants lost season outside of Saquon Barkley and his amazing calves. Eli was pretty bad finishing the season with a pedestrian 21 passing TDs and fantasy’s QB27. Excluding Week 17, he had as many QB1 weeks (6) as Jared Goff, Mitch Trubisky, and one more than…Tom Brady.
17. Speaking of Brady, his overall counting numbers were not far off from his 2017 MVP campaign. However, for fantasy purposes, he threw for 1 TD or fewer in half of his games. From Weeks 8-13, he was the QB25 in fantasy points per game.
18. Jared Goff (or as he’s known around these parts…. Jyyyared GARF) was elite for much of the fantasy season climaxing with an epic Week 11 showdown with Patrick Mahomes throwing for 416 passing yards and 5 total TDs. Goff was the QB2 in total points from Weeks 2-11 and the QB1 from mid-October to Thanksgiving. However, after his Week 12 bye, Goff only averaged 11.6 fantasy points per game, which was the QB26 in that span.
19. Deshaun Watson was uber-hyped after a scintillating rookie year cut short by injury. He followed it up finishing as the QB5 overall. However, there was also a downside as Watson was sacked 62 times, the most since Jon Kitna in 2006.
20. Dak Prescott was the definition of fantasy irrelevance through the first 5 weeks of the season as the QB30(!) in fantasy points per game. Just as Amari Cooper arrived in Dallas, Prescott emphatically responded as a top-8 QB in 5 of his next 8 starts. He posted a 71% completion rate from Week 9 until the end of the season as the QB6 during that span.
21. Matthew Stafford was basically a pile of trash as a fantasy QB in 2018. If you don’t count Week 17, he had only 1 QB1 performance, a measly QB9 against San Francisco in Week 2. He wasn’t even close to being usable midway through the season including an eight week stretch from Weeks 9-16 in which he averaged less than 200 passing yards per game.
22. It took him a little to get going, but Baker Mayfield was everything the Browns envisioned to change their culture. From Weeks 7-16, he was the QB10 ahead of names such as Jared Goff, Philip Rivers, and Mitch Trubisky. He set the rookie QB record for passing TDs in a season with 27 while averaging the 3rd most passing yards per game (266.1) ever being upstaged by another fellow rookie…
23. The top honor in that category of all time goes to none other than Nick Mullens, who averaged 284.6 passing yards per game in his 8 starts. Mullens also posted the 6th best completion rate (64.23%) ever by a rookie.
25. Josh Rosen, the other rookie Josh, sadly paced the league in a number of dubious categories. Cardinals fans will understand that Rosen had the most pick-sixes (5) and had the lowest yards per attempt (5.8) for any QB with 9+ games played. The Cardinals also were the only team without a top-12 performance on the year. #bad