Quarterback Power Ratings: Ranks 1 through 10
Compare to my opinion one month ago.
Before I get started, let me tell you a little bit about these statistical predictions. I looked at each player's past performances, giving highest priority to the last two seasons. I also took into consideration recent personnel changes where it felt appropriate. Furthermore, I feel like I took a step further than many other predictions by factoring in turnovers (including fumbles) and created a rating for injury history. The formula works like this; take the number of games a player played over a given number of seasons and then divide that number by the total number of games possible. To make it more accurate, whenever a player missed more than 5 games in a single season, I took the decimal output value and raised it to the 1/2 power, which increased the decimal value. If it happened more than once it would be raised to the 1/3 and so forth. Additionally, I only considered relevant seasons in the player's recent history. Mike Vick's seasons before his incarceration have little reflective value of his current physical state. Without further ado, here is the list.
1. Aaron Rodgers: (4,500 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 300 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns, and 11 turnovers) 22.25 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
This prediction is very realistic, but Rodgers has so much more potential than this. Rodgers beats out the rest of the elite pocket-passers because of the extra rushing yards and touchdowns that he tends to rack up throughout the season. There is really no reason to pass on him around 5th in the draft. His injury history is ever so slightly concerning, but his injury rating is only 96.88%, meaning that he should play nearly 97% of the Packer's snaps this season. Don't try to get cute here by drafting another quarterback ahead of him, he is too much of a machine.
2. Tom Brady: (4,700 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 75 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, and 14 turnovers) 20.22 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
I don't have any quarterbacks projected over 5,000 passing yards, because there have been so few 5,000 yard passers in NFL history. I am moving Tom Brady to the second position because he is in a stable position. I think the drop in yardage will come from Welker not reaching 1,500 receiving yards for a second straight year, and maybe 100 fewer yards from his tight ends. His touchdowns will go down, too, at the expense of Welker and Gronkowski. All of that still leaves him as the second best QB in fantasy football, and he probably should be a 8th or 9th overall pick in fantasy drafts, but I think he will go earlier.
3. Cam Newton: (4,000 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, 650 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, and 17 turnovers) 19.94 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
A few weeks ago I was absolutely frightened of drafting Cam Newton in fantasy leagues, but I'm really starting to warm up to the idea. There are no compelling reasons not to draft this kid, and these predictions are reducing his numbers in every statistical category compared to last season. I don't think Newton is a first round pick, but 11th or 12th seem to be perfectly reasonable for a player with seemingly endless up-side. I worry a little about him getting injured this season, since he runs so much, but his 20 points per game will really make you smile.
4. Matthew Stafford: (4,400 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, 80 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 17 turnovers) 19.25 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
Stafford has struggled with injuries in the past, but he broke out during his first 16-game campaign. The whole Lions offense is still maturing, which is why I have Stafford ahead of Brees despite a slight predicted advantage for Brees. Stafford will always be good if he is on the field with Megatron, and Titus Young should have a nice season as well. There has been plenty of praise for Young since he returned from exile, so Stafford should have a great season again. I would draft Stafford in the mid to late second round, because of worries about injury.
5. Drew Brees: (4,750 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, 40 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 18 turnovers) 19.75 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
Brees rounds out the top-5 as a significant bust candidate. If the bounty scandal had never happened, and if Brees weren't holding out for a new contract, I would have Brees as my #2 guy, right behind Rodgers. Instead, Brees is looking like he could have a 2012 season like Rivers had in 2011. The numbers aren't terrible, but they are significantly worse than expected. I think all of Robert Meachem's yards and touchdowns will just disappear this season, rather than being replaced by another player. I would draft Brees at the tail end of the second round.
6. Matt Ryan: (4,200 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns, 75 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 13 turnovers) 17.47 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
I never, in my wildest dreams, imagined that Matt Ryan would be at the sixth position on this list. There are two things that really help Matt Ryan here. The first is his extremely low turnover number, which is consistent with his values over the last few seasons. The second is the maturation of Julio Jones, which solidifies Ryan's passing yards and touchdowns value. I don't think it is a stretch to say that Matt Ryan will be the best value pick amongst established quarterbacks, so feel free to grab him in the late-third, early-fourth round and build your team around him.
7. Tony Romo: (4,200 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 48 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, and 14 turnovers) 16.74 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
This rating is really a toss-up between Romo and Philip Rivers. I'm leaning towards Romo because his situation is much more defined. The Cowboys have the same basic receiving corps that they had last season, and fantasy owners can hope that Romo doesn't break any more ribs this season. I really like Romo as a starting quarterback in fantasy leagues, and he has been pretty consistent in seasons where he hasn't missed many games. You pretty much know what you're getting with Romo. He should finish in the top-10, but almost certainly not in the top-5.
8. Philip Rivers: (4,600 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns, 50 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, and 20 turnovers) 16.75 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
Rivers easily has the potential to be a top-10 quarterback, and Ryan Mathews is going to be his best friend. Rivers often has plenty of passing yards, but he doesn't run enough and turns the ball over far too often to be an elite fantasy quarterback. The Chargers receiving corps is in flux, so there is no real way to get a great read on his numbers for the upcoming season. These values should be pretty close to correct, although I might imagine them creeping a touch higher or lower, depending on how he gels with the rest of the offense.
9. Michael Vick: (3,900 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 600 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, and 15 turnovers) 17.75 points per game in standard NFL scoring leagues.
Vick would be 6th overall if I could promise he would be healthy and would be 16th overall if I factored in his injury rating (just over 78%). This means that he should score you about 18 points all 12 games that he plays this season. You can interpret that however you want, but the fact of the matter is that Michael Vick only has value as a runner, but his body is finally showing his age. Make sure you take a good back up if you are playing Vick as a starter.
10. Peyton Manning: No Prediction
Why make a prediction for something if I have absolutely no point of reference? Manning has never played outside of Indianapolis, but if he is healthy then he should have a top-10 season. You don't have to pay any attention to this ranking, and you can completely discard it if you want. Just make sure you get another quarterback that you don't mind starting if you grab Peyton Manning.
A lot of great quarterbacks were left off this list. The next 5 quarterbacks fall within 1 ppg of Tony Romo's prediction, but fail to make this exclusive list for various reasons. The goal of predicting stats is not to get the numbers just right, it is to get the order of the players correct. Keep that in mind when you look at other predictions.