Last season, I introduced a stat called "True Fantasy Points (TFP)," which was my attempt to apply information about the reliability of "NFL box score" stats to fantasy football strategy. Today's post is about quarterbacks, so the specific information I'm referencing is as follows:
- Yards per attempt (Y/A) takes 396 attempts to "stabilize."
- Touchdowns per attempt (TD%) takes 1,059 attempts to stabilize.
- Interceptions per attempt (INT%) takes 1,681 attempts to stabilize.
Based on these standards, you can calculate a quarterback's "true" Y/A, TD%, and INT% by adding league-average performance over the above-listed number of attempts to each quarterback's actual Y/A, TD%, and INT% since he's been on his current team. As an example, here are the "true" stat calculations for Colin Kaepernick, who has spent his entire career with San Francisco:
- He's thrown for 8,415 yards in 1,117 attempts, or 7.50 Y/A. If we add 396 attempts of 7.41 same-team, league average Y/A, then his "true" Y/A right now is 7.53.
- He's thrown 50 touchdowns in 1,117 attempts, or a 4.48 TD%. If we add 1,059 attempts of 4.93% (i.e., the same-team league average), then his "true" TD% right now is 4.70%.
- He's thrown 21 interceptions in 1,117 attempts, or a 1.88 INT%. If we add 1,681 attempts of 2.57% (i.e., the same-team league average), then his "true" INT% right now is 2.29%.
And from there, we can use David Dodd's projection of 455 pass attempts by Kaepernick in 2015 to calculate his "true" passing stat projections:
- 7.53 Y/A over 455 attempts translates to 3,413 passing yards.
- A 4.70 TD% over 455 attempts translates to 21 touchdowns.
- A 2.29 INT% over 455 attempts translates to 10 interceptions.
In terms of standard Footballguys scoring, that stat line translates to 245.7 "true" projected passing points for Kaepernick. Comparing that to Dodd's projection of 238.2 points, there's a 7.5-point discrepancy. If we continue this mathematical exercise for all of Dodd's projected starting quarterbacks in 2015 that were on the same team in 2014, then we can get a guage of how said projections differ from those implied by TFP.
True y/a, td%, and int% for 2015
Below is a table showing "true" passing stats for the 26 starting quarterbacks that will be on the same team in 2015 as they were in 2014 (sorted by "True Y/A"). The columns with "Prev" in the label signify each quarterback's stats since he's been with his current team:
|Player||Tm||Prev Att||Prev Yds||Prev TDs||Prev INTs||True Y/A||Rk||True TD%||Rk||True INT%||Rk|
Given the offseason hype, Ryan Tannehill ranks far lower than I thought he would be. Normally, I'd chalk that result up to a young quarterback not having enough attempts to get a clear indication of his "true" passing ability (a la EJ Manuel and Blake Bortles). That's not the case, however. With 1,662 pass attempts over the past three years in Miami's offense, we've seen enough of Tannehill to get a reliable indication of his "true" Y/A, TD%, and INT%.
True Fantasy projections for 2015
As I mentioned at the outset, we can carry the above "true" stats forward into 2015 via Dodds' projections for pass attempts this upcoming season. And if we do so, the result is the table below, which is sorted by the "Diff" column, i.e., the difference between Dodds' points projection and the TFP projection:
|Name||Tm||True Yds||True TDs||True INTs||Dodds Yds||Dodds TDs||Dodds INTs||TFP||Rk||FBG||Rk||Diff||Rk|
Given the stats displayed in this table, projected TFP seems to have identified two potential outlers in your fantasy football rankings. Let's dicuss.
Surprise! You thought I was going to go with Andrew Luck!
Nope. My vote for most over-rated is Eli Manning. Presumably because Eli is poised to enjoy 16 games of Odell Beckham, Jr. and Victor Cruz, Dodds projects him to have a Y/A 0.49 higher than his "true" rate, a TD% 0.87 percentage points higher than his "true" rate, and an INT% 0.09 percentage points lower than his "true" rate. Although my instinct is to always trust Dodds, the fact that Eli has thrown over 5,600 passes in a Giants uniform -- more than enough to gauge his "true" fantasy quarterback ability -- means that I (and TFP) are skeptical of 2015 Eli matching or exceeding the performance of 2014 Eli.
On the flip side, TFP suggests that Palmer will exceed Dodds' expectations. Why? Well, TFP suggests Palmer is likely to throw for more yards, more touchdowns, and fewer interceptions than expected. Specifically, Dodds projects Palmer to throw for
- 7.21 Y/A, which is 0.20 lower than his "true" YPA as a member of the Cardinals.
- 4.40 TD%, as compared to his "true" 4.70 TD% with Arizona.
- 3.06 INT%, as compared to his "true" 2.75 INT% with Arizona.
Granted, Palmer's 36 years old and coming off of an ACL tear; only a fool wouldn't downgrade projections based on age and injury factors. That said, if his age and health concerns can be mitigated, Palmer's track record in three seasons with the Cardinals suggests he's a better fantasy quarterback than advertised.