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Assessing Quarterback Value in Superflex Leagues

A look at how the quarterback position fares against the other positions in Superflex leagues

A few weeks ago, we wrote an article on roster construction for Superflex leagues.  That article stressed the importance of investing heavily in the quarterback position.  This article will build on that thought. 

We went back through the 2016 season, taking a closer look at how the quarterback position fared against the other fantasy positions.  Well, the results were striking.  Five of the top seven performers were quarterbacks, even in Points Per Reception (PPR) scoring.  Seven passers and three running backs comprised the top ten players.  This trend continues as quarterbacks outpace the other positions. 

The table below shows the players, broken down by position.  These are tiered by their respective Points Per Game (PPG) Average with a minimum of ten games played.  The minimum is to keep outliers from skewing the numbers. 

PPG

Quarterback

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight Ends

30

       

29

       

28

       

27

A Rodgers

L Bell

   

26

D Brees
M Ryan

D Johnson

   

25

A Luck
T Brady

     

24

       

23

K Cousins

     

22

B Roethlisberger

E Elliott

   

21

D Carr
B Bortles
M Stafford
C Palmer
R Wilson
D Prescott
P Rivers
M Mariota
T Taylor

L McCoy
M Gordon

A Brown

 

20

C Newton
J Winston
A Dalton

     

19

C Kaepernick
J Flacco

D Murray

J Nelson
M Evans
O Beckham
AJ Green
J Jones

 

18

S Bradford
A Smith
R Tannehill
E Manning

D Freeman

   

17

T Siemian
C Wentz

 

M Thomas
TY Hilton

 

16

 

T Riddick

D Baldwin
D Adams

 

15

C Keenum
B Osweiler

J Howard
M Ingram
C Hyde
L Murray
T Coleman
L Blount
J Ajayi

B Cooks
L Fitzgerald
M Crabtree
S Diggs
J Landry
J Edelman
A Cooper

 

Totals

29

15

17

0

This table shows the top 68 players in points per game.  Surprisingly, there are no tight ends in this list because none averaged 15 points per game.  The first tight end would have been Jordan Reed had we carried the table out further.  He was player 72 in 2016.  Reed was also the leader at the position in 2015 and that would have been good for player 46 overall.

There are several takeaways from this chart.  The first, and most obvious, is that even the worst of the starting quarterbacks produce fantasy numbers with very good RB2 and WR2 players.  There are almost as many quarterbacks averaging 15 points per game than running backs and wide receivers added together.  This means that every owner in a Superflex league should strive to start a quarterback in the flex position.  Not only do the passers produce more fantasy points, but there is also better week-to-week consistency.  It is shocking to see bad quarterbacks score as many points each week as high draft picks at running back or wide receivers. 

Secondly, the top passers have a huge points-per-game advantage over the lesser quarterbacks.  Aaron Rodgers scored seven more points each week, on average, compared to Cam Newton.  The fantasy teams who are able to lock up two top fantasy quarterbacks could have as much as a 15-point advantage.  That is huge.

Another surprise was how poorly the wide receiver position fared.  Just one pass catcher (Antonio Brown) scored at least 20 points per game.  Five running backs performed at this level.  And, a whopping 19 quarterbacks we able to hold to this average.  When Tyrod Taylor scores the same amount of fantasy points as Brown, we must take note.  The PPR scoring did not even sway the results much in favor of the receivers.  There were more running backs than wideouts until the 17-points-per-game mark.  The running backs outproducing wide receivers was a surprise.  Yes, most think it is weighted by the three top ball carriers.  But, there were other backs who performed at a high level in 2016.  Could they regress and wide receivers improve? Sure.  But, maybe we should use this information to shape our drafts in 2017. The receivers available in the third, fourth, and fifth rounds produce similarly to the top-end guys.  This is the key.  A draft full of quarterbacks and running backs early, with wide receivers mixed in will perform better than a receiver-heavy lineup, light on running backs.

No, these results may not be entirely predictive for the 2017 season, but they are not that different from 2015 in terms of quarterback value.  As we stated in the article referenced above, it is advisable to select one quarterback in the first two rounds and another soon after.  In addition, since the position is valued highly in Superflex leagues, your fantasy bench should be filled with quarterbacks for upside.  Not only do you get to play keep away from the other owners, creating a scarcity, but you also have insurance in case your starter goes down.

Feel free to (email me) with feedback.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.