Looking Back at QB Value in Fantasy Football
Success in Fantasy Football is based on several factors. First, you need to understand the rules of your particular league. Second, you need to understand how deep or scarce talent is at the position in question. Heading into the 2021 Fantasy Football season, there is likely to be more turnover at the QB position than ever before. Since Fantasy Football is a weekly game, understanding the consistency and upside potential of the QB position is vital to our success. Let’s take a look at QB value in Fantasy Football based on what happened the last 2 years and what might happen going forward.
Methodology is Important
Dak Prescott finished as QB32, despite only playing in five games in 2020. Dak managed to outscore a few guys that played in 10 games. But since Fantasy Football is a weekly game, why do we spend so much time looking at year end numbers anyway? Consistency and Big Week ability are the two factors we should be judging on a weekly basis to discover the value of any QB.
Two statistical tools have been developed that give us a look at how a player did on a weekly basis for Fantasy Football. A complete game for a QB is defined as taking 40 snaps. A “Consistent Game” is considered to be 20 points or more with 6 points for a TD passing or rushing. The weekly value of a player is determined by the Best Ten Rating which is a statistical tool that combines consistency with big game ability. We want players that can win weeks for us often in Fantasy Football since Fantasy Football is a weekly game!
An additional statistical tool has been added for 2021 after five years of research. This is the Position Scarcity Rating and incorporates the strength of the Best Ten tool with the rules in your league. Let’s look at one example to see how important your league rules are to the value of a player at any particular position. Patrick Mahomes is the top rated QB according to the weekly value tool Best Ten with a rating of 405. His Position Scarcity Value in a 1QB league is 67 in a 12-team league which is equal to the Position Scarcity Value of TE3, WR2 (2 WR starters), WR6 (3WR starters), or RB6. Mahomes’ value in 2QB or Superflex leagues would be 119 which is better than any TE or WR (2 WR starters) or equal to WR1 (3 WR starters) or RB2.
Why Best 10?
The absolute WORST statistical tool used by analysts today is year end statistics. All this does is show who stayed healthy during the previous season. Even when comparing players of equal health it doesn’t tell us much about what that player did to our Fantasy Football team’s success on any given week. Let’s consider the following example to show you what I mean.
Player X- Scored 300 Points in 2020
Player Z- Scored 280 Points in 2020
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Which player was more valuable to your Fantasy team in 2020?
If your answer was, “You didn’t give me enough data,” then you are on your way to having an understanding that it is HOW a player scored the points each week that matters! Now let me add some data and then you can decide which guy you want.
Player X Scored from game 1-16: 50, 50, 50, 50, 40, 35, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1
Player Z Scored from game 1-6: DNP, DNP, DNP, DNP, 20, 20, 20, 20, 25, 25, 25, 25, 25, 25, 25, 25
Yes, this is an extreme comparison but similar comparisons can be made that occur every season. Comparing the Top 12 QBs in year end points last season the best rated player scored 20 or more points in 93.3% of his games played while the least consistent QB among the Top 12 only scored 20 or more points 64.5% of his games. Unless you are playing Best Ball leagues you want better consistency than scoring 20 or more points in 64.5% of your games at QB!
Best Ten All Stars
The beauty of Best Ten is that it eliminates the need to figure out how partial seasons compare to other players that had full seasons. Because it used a statistical factor to account for rookies and injured players who have fewer games to compare in the two year sample it does a good job of forecasting a player’s weekly value to your team. Two years is used as a data sample to remove that “Everything Went Right” or “Everything Went Wrong” year. Any longer than two seasons is hard to compare because in football three years is a lifetime! Let’s take a look at the Best Ten All Stars from the last two seasons combined.
Patrick Mahomes 405
Russell Wilson 405
Dak Prescott 402
Lamar Jackson 396
Josh Allen 388
Aaron Rodgers 378
DeShaun Watson 377
Justin Herbert 366
Tom Brady 365
Kyler Murray 362
Ryan Tannehill 357
Matt Ryan 338
The Top 9 QBs are within 10% from 1st through 9th which shows how deep the position is at the top. This is important data because in a 1 QB Redraft league it shows that you can wait for QB if you wish. But after the top 11 the drop off becomes very large.
Matthew Stafford 320 QB15
Ben Roethlisberger 295 QB20
Daniel Jones 282 QB25
Drew Lock 271 QB30
The Best Ten Rating can be considered how many points a player will score in their best 10 games in any given season. If you get stuck with two QBs outside of the Top 15 as your starters in a Superflex league you are giving up 15-20 points a game minimum at the QB position!
Just a Snap Shot of What Happened
Even the best look at past performances, whether it’s in Fantasy Football or Horse Racing, just tells us what happened and we need to forecast what will happen in the future. In horse racing strategy decisions, expected pace of the race, racing style and race track conditions have to be taken into account. When it comes to Fantasy Football we need to look at what changes happened positive or negative on the offense and the defense. Why the defense when we are concerned with points scored by the offense? A QB who has been forced to throw the ball 50 times a game when his own team’s defense was lousy might see a big reduction in passing attempts if the defense gets better. Thankfully when it comes to the Best Ten Rating, the numbers have shown that well over 90% of the players who are of Fantasy Football importance have their Best Ten score for any given year finish within 10% of their Best Ten Rating from the year before. If we don’t have a strong opinion how how a player might improve or regress in the year ahead we still have a solid base number to make decisions based on already. But the more accurate assumptions we can make for the future the better Best Ten will perform as a tool.
Fantasy Football is a weekly game that needs weekly tools to make accurate predictions for future outcomes. Simply looking at who scored the most points at the end of the season or who had the most points per game is only the first step towards deciding how valuable a player will be to your team. Consistency and Big Play ability are the two most important factors when deciding which players to start on any given week. Best Ten is the best tool I have found that combines those two abilities into one easy to compute number. Applying statistical tools to equate partial seasons to a Best Ten number helps us rate rookies, injured players or other players who only started a handful of games over the past 2 seasons. In future articles we will look at the other positions and the brand new Position Scarcity Rating which will allow us to compare the value of one position against another using your unique league rules to develop the best guide.
Repeat after me, “Fantasy Football is a Weekly game and I need weekly statistical tools!”