Fantasy Football: The TRUTH About QBs in 2017, Part 1
Every year The Fantasy Footballers take a deep dive into the TRUTH behind fantasy football finishes from the previous year. Which players were actually consistent? Who provided week-winning performances and who killed fantasy football teams everywhere? All this and more revealed!
The TRUTH Scoring
Player finish, fantasy points, and consistency percentages are based on 4 points per passing TD leagues.
Great Games are more than 25 points (top 3 on average)
Good Games are more than 17 points (top 12 on average)
Bust Games are fewer than 15 points (outside top 16 on average)
Below are the Top 12 QBs for 2017. For the rest of the pack, see Part 2.
1. Russell Wilson (347.92 points) – Consistency Rank #4
16 games — 3983/34/11 — 95/586/3 rushing
Great 31% | Good 69% | Bust 25%
Defenses: -4.8 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +3.4 at Home
Wilson finished tied with 11 weeks as a top 12 option in standard scoring. He was the top scorer among all fantasy players boosted by 5 weeks classified as “great”. His 586 rushing yards were second most among QBs. His consistency rank of 4th is somewhat misleading as Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Aaron Rodgers all were the top 3 albeit with injury plagued seasons. It will be interesting to see how Seattle’s firing of OC Darrell Bevell and the impending new hire will shift the offense in 2018.
2. Cam Newton (299.48 points) – Consistency Rank #10
16 games — 3302/22/16 — 139/754/6 rushing
Great 25% | Good 50% | Bust 44%
Defenses: -3.4 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +2.1 at Home
Newton now has finished as a top 5 QB 5 out of the last 7 years. However, Newton was frustrating to own in 2017 compared to his unbelievable 2015. His 25% “great” games certainly provided a major ceiling with 14 of his 22 passing TDs came in four games. They were the definition of boom. On the other hand, his 44% bust rate was awful. Newton’s end of year numbers were aided tremendously by his 754 rushing yards, which were the most for a QB since Russell Wilson’s 859 yards in 2014. 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.
3. Tom Brady (295.88 points) – Consistency Rank #7
16 games — 4577/32/8 — 25/28/0 rushing
Great 19% | Good 50% | Bust 25%
Defenses: +1.4 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +1.7 at Home
TB12 is returning to yet another Super Bowl after another solid fantasy season. Brady led the league in passing yards (4,577) and attempts (581) while he only had 3 “great” games all year. It was rough towards the end and in the fantasy playoffs averaging as the QB20 from Weeks 12-16. Losing Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, and Chris Hogan for a chunk of the season definitely hurt his ceiling. The monster 35+ TD campaigns might be a thing of the past but his consistency is still solid even at his age. He could still be over-drafted going into 2018 fantasy drafts.
4. Alex Smith (295.18 points) – Consistency Rank #5
15 games — 4042/26/5 — 60/355/1 rushing
Great 33% | Good 53% | Bust 27%
Defenses: -3.3 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -6.7 at Home
This was by far Smith’s best fantasy season as he combined his rushing ability with some absolute monster games. His opening week barrage against the Patriots was just the start as Smith’s “great” percentage was tops among QBs on this list. He had 540 more passing yards than his previous career high. All of this to say that Smith might no longer be the Chiefs starting QB in 2018. His future destination needs to be monitored as he’s an obvious example of expected regression.
5. Carson Wentz (281.74 points) – Consistency Rank #2
13 games — 3296/33/7 — 64/299/0 rushing
Great 23% | Good 77% | Bust 8%
Defenses: +3.7 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +2.3 at Home
If there’s one player to gush about on this list, it’s Wentz who ranked 2nd in consistency, the highest “good” percentage games and the lowest bust rate on this list. Despite playing only 13 games, he had 8 starts as a top 5 QB, the most on the year! That’s as many as Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Jared Goff…COMBINED. His 7.7% TD rate is unsustainable going into next year. He is a prime candidate to be overdrafted. Wentz’s off-season recovery will be something to monitor as this Super Bowl run from the Eagles is largely his responsibility.
6. Kirk Cousins (288.62 points) – Consistency Rank #15
16 games — 4093/27/13 — 49/179/4 rushing
Great 25% | Good 44% | Bust 44%
Defenses: -3.0 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -0.4 at Home
Cousins will be the most talked about QB this off-season. His 31 total TDs ranked 4th most among QBs in 2017 although his bust rate (44%) was 2nd worst on this list ahead of only division rival Dak Prescott. While exhibiting 4 top 5 weeks, he was barely usable averaging as many points per game (13.9) as Deshone Kizer. If he ends up in Denver, Arizona, or Cleveland, there will be fantasy implications for the pass catchers as Cousins can be banked on for 4,000+ yards and 25 TDs.
7. Matthew Stafford (273.64 points) – Consistency Rank #12
16 games — 4446/29/10 — 29/98/0 rushing
Great 13% | Good 44% | Bust 38%
Defenses: -3.2 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +5.0 at Home
Stafford was extremely streaky in 2017 with clear splits between his home and away games. From Weeks 8-11, he registered 4 top 12 performances in a row and was the QB2 during that span. However, he killed your team after and in the fantasy playoffs averaging 13.9 fantasy points per contest as the QB20 from Weeks 12-16. Stafford is always a viable option as a late round QB and his value should be exactly where his consistency rating ended: QB12. Stay tuned as Patriots DC Matt Patricia is expected to be named the Detroit head coach and the offensive staff hired will matter towards Stafford’s fantasy value
8. Philip Rivers (270.40 points) – Consistency Rank #6
16 games — 4515/28/10 — 18/-2/0 rushing
Great 13% | Good 56% | Bust 25%
Defenses: +3.7 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -0.70 at Home
Philip Rivers was as consistent as they get in 2017 with 11 top 12 weeks and a superb 56% “good” rate. 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. The guy was consistent as Keenan Allen returned and the two went on a tear from Week 12 on as Rivers was the QB3 with 5 out of his final 6 weeks as a top 12 guy. This offense should remain relatively stable in 2018 as Rivers is totally draftable at his top 10 ADP.
9. Drew Brees (262.56 points) – Consistency Rank #13
16 games — 4334/23/8 — 33/12/2 rushing
Great 0% | Good 50% | Bust 44%
Defenses: -1.1 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -0.6 at Home
This was Brees’ most disappointing fantasy season with only 23 TDs, his fewest since 2002, when he was just in his second year in the league. This was the lowest finish of his career when playing 15+ games. With ZERO “great” games, he did not provide any top of top-tier “splash” games. While still throwing for 4,300+ yards and setting the all-time completion percentage mark (72%), the Saints continued making a major shift towards emphasizing the ground game with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
10. Ben Roethlisberger (260.74 points) – Consistency Rank #8
15 games — 4251/28/14 — 28/47/0 rushing
Great 20% | Good 47% | Bust 33%
Defenses: -1.1 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -0.60 at Home
I think we forget how rough of a start it was for Roethlisberger. Through Week 9, Big Ben was the QB24, averaging 12.7 fantasy points per game. From Week 10 on, he averaged 22.7 fantasy points, the MOST for QBs in the second-half of the year. If you were able to pick him up off the waiver wire, he certainly could’ve helped you towards a fantasy championship. Big Ben and the Steelers offense is up in the air with Le’Veon Bell‘s impending free-agency and Todd Haley’s exodus from handling the play-calling duties.
11. Dak Prescott (260.66 points) – Consistency Rank #18
16 games — 3324/22/13 — 57/357/6 rushing
Great 25% | Good 44% | Bust 50%
Defenses: -6.2 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -3.0 at Home
Prescott started out the year hot with 6 straight QB1 weeks to start out the year. However, he plummeted the rest of the year busting 8 of his final 10 weeks. In other words, if you continued to start Prescott after midseason, he most certainly sunk your fantasy squad. He especially struggled against top defenses scoring on average 6.2 less than against bottom 16 defenses. Dak should be undervalued in 2018 drafts as a late round option and should get a boost with an entire season of Zeke Elliott.
12. Jared Goff (256.26 points) – Consistency Rank #11
15 games — 3804/28/7 — 28/51/1 rushing
Great 20% | Good 47% | Bust 40%
Defenses: -9.0 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +0.70 at Home
What a quantum leap King Goffrey and the Rams took in 2017! His 28 TDs were tied for 5th best among QBs. His 3 top 3 performances showed that he’s capable of winning you a week. However, Goff’s splits against top 16 defenses is something that needs to be taken seriously when thinking about drafting him in 2018. He was more of a streaming option against bad defenses than a weekly top QB with only 6 total weeks finishing inside the top 12 on the year.
Editors Note: For the rest of the quarterback TRUTH see Part 2, and read up about the TRUTH on other positions.