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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 39: Ranking QBs By Dropback

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At Pro Football Focus, I just published a look at fantasy points per dropback for quarterbacks, using it to predict players who might rise or fall in 2013.

There are all sorts of factors that influence a player’s total opportunities and efficiency, one of which is randomness. In projecting any player, we want randomness to rear its ugly head as little as possible. That’s why it’s important to examine pre-2012 stats when projecting players in 2013. If we see wild swings in either opportunities or efficiency that don’t necessarily seem warranted, that’s a reason to pause and dig a little deeper.

Projecting Opportunities for Quarterbacks

Below, I charted the dropbacks per game for some prominent quarterbacks in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The passers are sorted based upon the relationship between their dropbacks in the previous two seasons; those who saw the largest jumps are at the top, and those whose workloads decreased the most are at the bottom.

Quarterback 2012 Dropbacks 2011 Dropbacks 2012/2011
Tony Romo 43.3 35.4 1.22
Matt Schaub 35.8 31.3 1.14
Carson Palmer 39.7 35.0 1.13
Christian Ponder 34.7 31.1 1.12
Matt Ryan 41.4 37.9 1.09
Matthew Stafford 48.5 44.4 1.09
Michael Vick 41.8 38.5 1.09
Andy Dalton 37.1 35.3 1.05
Aaron Rodgers 39.9 38.7 1.03
Tom Brady 41.8 41.0 1.02
Drew Brees 43.7 43.4 1.01
Ben Roethlisberger 37.8 37.7 1.00
Joe Flacco 35.7 36.4 0.98
Jay Cutler 33.1 34.5 0.96
Sam Bradford 37.8 39.9 0.95
Philip Rivers 36.7 38.8 0.95
Josh Freeman 37.7 40.5 0.93
Cam Newton 34.7 37.8 0.92
Eli Manning 35.3 39.2 0.90
Mark Sanchez 33.1 37.5 0.88

When inspecting the numbers, we should be looking at the extremes and trying to determine potential causes for dramatic shifts in opportunity. Sometimes, there’s a good reason for such a shift. Other times there’s not. We want to determine if the shifts were primarily due to randomness, and likely to regress toward the mean, or due to more repeatable circumstances.

Head to PFF for the full article.

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