Dynasty Quarterback Fantasy Patterns

by David Allison

Welcome to a feature that I’m going to call “Patterns Discovered Through Research” or “PDTR” for short (I really wish one of those words started with a vowel…).

What I’ve done over the last few weeks is plot every quarterback’s performance since 2005 and answered the following questions:

  • Where did they finish the season?
  • Where did they finish the next season?
  • What changed year to year?

I went into this project knowing that there would be some aberrations, years where a quarterback far outperformed the previous year with almost zero Wikipedial explanation. But over the eight seasons that I plotted, there were only a handful of such years. Every other year could be justified because of factors such as:

  • New Coach
  • New Team
  • Addition/Subtraction of a major weapon
  • Opportunity (IE being benched or moving in front of a veteran)
  • Legal Issues/Suspension
  • Large swing in win loss record

It should be noted that I didn’t include injuries. You can’t predict injuries and they tend to throw off a player’s performance for two years (The year he, OR SHE, is injured and their recovery year). Through the process, I discovered that some issues matter more than others. For example, swings in win/loss records do not have a consistent effect on a quarterback’s value. But changing teams almost always a positive effect. Overall, here are the big observations to keep in mind as you draft/decide on keepers:

  • A quarterback consistently does great things in their third year. Keep in mind that the quarterback needs consistency in their staff for this pattern to hold. That’s good news for Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, and Christian Ponder.
  • A quarterback who plays his entire rookie year does not improve in their second year.
  • There is a consistent sophomore slump. That’s bad news for Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill.
  • A quarterback will almost always show significant improvement when they switch teams. Note that they need to be named the start 100% for this to hold. That’s great news for Carson Palmer and Alex Smith.
  • A quarterback will see his performance really level off on their fifth year. If they still are providing inconsistent results, then they are not worth owning as quarterback is the one position that traditionally provides consistent results. That’s bad news for Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, and Jay Cutler.
  • A quarterback never seems to repeat rushing touchdown performances unless they’re a QB that specializes in rushing.
  • A quarterback is not generally affected by the offseason loss of a strong offensive weapon. Usually, they’re able to make due with what they have. With that said, adding a major weapon in the offseason provides inconsistent results. That’s good news for Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.
  • And the most important one; a quarterback tends to see similar results to his previous year. The offense runs through them, so unless they get injured or suspended, they’re going to have a similar year to their previous season. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s very rare for a quarterback to make any sort of jump, or fall, after they finish their fourth year.

So with those rules in mind that I give you my Quarterback rankings for the 2013 season:

  1. Drew Brees
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Cam Newton
  4. Tom Brady
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Peyton Manning
  8. Matt Ryan
  9. Tony Romo
  10. Andy Dalton
  11. Matthew Stafford
  12. Eli Manning
  13. Russell Wilson
  14. Carson Palmer
  15. Andrew Luck
  16. Philip Rivers
  17. Joe Flacco
  18. Sam Bradford
  19. Josh Freeman
  20. Christian Ponder
  21. Ben Roethlisberger
  22. Jay Cutler
  23. Ryan Tannehill
  24. Jake Locker
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