The quarterbacks in Fantasy Football have traditionally been tiered proportionately between the studs, the very good, the good and the rest. In a standard scoring method, it made perfectly good sense to wait and grab a consistent quarterback in the fourth through sixth rounds. The reason this made sense was because the differences between those tiers weren’t significant enough to take a chance and grab a stud quarterback in the first three rounds because you would miss out on a top running back or wide receiver.
The Fantasy numbers proved this theory because between the 2002 and 2010 seasons, there were only three quarterbacks who earned more than 400 Fantasy points in a season. Two were in 2004 (Daunte Culpepper and Peyton Manning) and the other was Tom Brady in 2007 when he went off the charts with 450 points.
In addition to this, the quarterback’s consistency rate or Quality Success Rate (QSR) of the stud and very good quarterbacks all hovered around the 70 – 90 percent rate. In fact, only five quarterbacks exceeded a 90 percent QSR from 2002 – 2010. They included the following: Donovan McNabb (2002); Daunte Culpepper (2003); Peyton Manning (2006); Tom Brady (2007) and Michael Vick (2010).
In 2011, the world of Fantasy quarterbacks changed drastically. There were five quarterbacks who earned over 400 Fantasy points in a standard scoring format. They were Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford. Not to be outdone in total points, three of those quarterbacks also earned over a 90 percent QSR. In fact, Aaron Rodgers was the first ever quarterback to earn a perfect 100 percent QSR in the 15 games that he played.
We’re going to start with the quarterbacks and take a look at those players who were consistently good, just good and consistently bad. We’re also going to look at this position for the expected and unexpected quarterbacks within each tier in 2011, plus which quarterbacks could be a “sleeper” going into this year’s draft.
So, let’s start with the top tier of quarterbacks as ranked by Quality Success Rate (QSR).
2011 was the battle of the uber-studs at quarterback between Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Brees won the total points while Rodgers won the consistency battle due to taking Week 17 off. Are these two worth a first round pick in a normal scoring format? It depends on who you ask? If you do pick one of them that early, you better feel confident about your second running back or wide receiver.
Tom Brady regained his studliness as well in 2011 and should have no problem continuing that trend in 2012 with the addition of Brandon Lloyd to his arsenal. The lack of any proven running game in New England may cause problems for Brady’s pass protection but it’s not like he hasn’t seen this before.
Cam Newton scares me a little with his expected production and current ADP. He probably won’t be on my team as he’s being drafted in the second and third rounds of most drafts; however, if you can get him the fourth or fifth round, then I would grab him without thinking. Matthew Stafford was tied with Matt Ryan with a 75 percent QSR; however, since there was 76 point difference in total points I felt Stafford belonged in Tier One.
I expected Tony Romo and Eli Manning to be Tier Two quarterbacks and I would expect them to hover in this range in 2012. Both are solid quarterbacks but neither has proven they can be as consistent as the Tier One quarterbacks. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t great values if you can draft them between the fifth and seventh round.
Matt Ryan was not expected to improve his consistency this much in 2011. He was a Top 10 quarterback in total points in 2010 but his consistency ranked him 14th. He was tied for fifth in QSR last year and should continue this trend in 2012 as his core of receivers and tight end remain unchanged. Watch his draft time ADP and see if it is still in rounds six through eight. If it is, grab him and enjoy another great year of consistency.
Michael Vick is listed here in the Unexpected section since he was “supposed” to be a stud in 2011, but once again, injuries destroyed his consistency and Fantasy value. His 2012 value will be based on his ADP come draft time. As a fourth through sixth round pick, he has good value. However, the fact that you will need to draft a backup quarterback higher than normal to protect your “investment” makes him too risky for me.
Philip Rivers may be the second best value (outside of Matt Ryan) in this year’s upcoming draft. He is also going in the fifth through seventh rounds. In 2009 and 2010, Rivers was Top Five in consistency. His “poor” 2011 had him ranked ninth overall in both points and consistency.
If you’re neither overwhelmed nor surprised by any of these names here, you’re not alone. This is why it’s important to grab one of the above Tier One or Tier Two quarterbacks, because after those, you really start to get under-performing, injury-prone and/or inconsistent quarterbacks. Matt Schaub used to be one of the more consistent quarterbacks. However, the emergence of a running game and a good defense meant Schaub didn’t need to throw as much to win football games.
Carson Palmer is a good NFL quarterback and will help the Raiders win football games but he won’t help your Fantasy team. Jay Cutler is always in this category. Brandon Marshall may help him improve some but don’t get too excited about it. His offensive line is horrible and teams should have no trouble double-teaming Marshall when necessary.
Mark Sanchez is listed here because his Top 10 ranking in total points was unexpected. However, he still was only at a 50 percent QSR and the Jets did him no favors by bringing in Tim Tebow. Ryan Fitzpatrick is very streaky. When he’s hot, he’s great. When he’s not, his inconsistency will kill you.
I’m not going to highlight every remaining quarterback, but there are a few that I would like to recognize for various reasons.
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been ranked in the Top 10 in total points or consistency since 2009. Injuries and a poor offensive line have kept him around the 50th percentile in consistency over the past two seasons. Even if Mike Wallace signs, don’t take a chance on Big Ben.
Joe Flacco is looking for a big money contract. While he may be a decent NFL quarterback, he’s not worth being on anyone’s Fantasy team. His 38 percent QSR is terrible. Only Andy Dalton (a rookie in 2011) was as bad when playing in 16 full games.
Well, there are your Quality Game consistency rankings for the quarterbacks in 2011. If you didn’t make the playoffs and you had Matt Schaub or Michael Vick on your team and can’t understand why, I hope this helped clear things up.