Consistent Greatness 2016: Quarterbacks

James Simpson


A trait many desire, but few achieve. Whether it’s in your personal life (eating healthily, working out regularly, having a social life) or at work (maintaining desire and performance), consistency can be the key to being the best person you can be. For me, having the opportunity to consistently edit articles at Dynasty League Football keeps me on my toes. Absorbing all sorts of ideas, analysis and information has brought out the best in my thoughts and gets me thinking of where I view things differently from others, as well as how best to present that.

However, ‘consistency’ itself isn’t always necessarily connected with positivity. If you consistently treat others badly or ignore your health, you’re not going to be in a good place. So consistency alone isn’t what we should strive for, instead we should focus on maintaining a high level of performance – rather than the standard definition of ‘staying the same’.

As we turn our attention to consistency in the world of fantasy football, the same thing applies. Yes, I want my players to be reliable and give me a level of performance from week to week, but obviously; I’d prefer to have players who give me a better chance of a great performance every week. This is where ‘consistent greatness’ comes in – where I look at players who have most regularly hit the levels of a ‘great’ weekly performance over the past few years.

While these past performances are not determinants of the future, they do have both an investigative function and give us an idea of how players have performed every week versus their yearly performances (which is, in my opinion, very important). I the believe the majority of leagues award wins and losses weekly, so this remains crucial.


Why do I love quarterbacks? Because they score the most points. I know they are replaceable – trust me, I know (I’m a quarterback streamer in all forms of redraft football). But why wouldn’t I want to have the best player on my team at the position that scores the most points? Ultimately, if the value isn’t there to acquire a top quarterback, I won’t give up top assets at another position for one. But building a dynasty means building the best overall team to compete year in, year out, and I want the top scorers at every position. How many teams rode Cam Newton to the playoffs last year? Or Andrew Luck before that? Or in Peyton Manning’s absurd 55 touchdown year in 2013?

Give me all the quarterbacks.

The Method

In order to practice what I’ve preached, I’ve tried to remain as close to last year’s work as possible. Once again, I looked at every regular season fantasy week for the last three years to first: determine the average score required to hit the top 12 (QB1) and top 24 (QB1/2) and second: calculate how many times each player reached either of these targets (as well as simply ‘QB2’ weeks). Importantly, I established a points baseline for what it takes to be a top 12 or top 24 player, as opposed to counting a top 24 week as any time a player scores in the top 24. Particularly high or low scoring weeks across the position would affect these results. For example, in week eight of 2013, Geno Smith was the QB24 with 8.8 points, whereas in week two of last year, Andrew Luck was the QB24 with 18.9 points. There can be huge weekly fluctuations. By looking at a certain number of points to determine performance, we can be more consistent. This year’s baselines:

QB1 – 22.5

QB2 – 14.6

Having calculated these, I took every quarterback in the DLF ADP data (excluding rookies) and worked out how many times they hit each of the baselines in the last three years. I then compared that to the number of games they have played to work out the percentage of games they hit each. The data is presented below in a number of categories.

The Key

  • GP – Games played
  • QB1/2 – Weeks the player scored 14.6 points or more
  • QB1 – Weeks the player scored 22.5 points or more
  • QB2 – Weeks the player scored between 14.6 and 22.4 points
  • % – Percentage of weeks the player placed in each category versus games played


  • I used PPR scoring from the FFToday stats page
  • Playoff games are not included
  • Jimmy Garoppolo has not recorded a week in the top 24, and was removed

The Results

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Top QB1/2%

top qb12

  • It’s the first table, and we have our first surprise. Jameis Winston sticks out on this list, having hit the top 24 benchmark in every single game in his rookie year. In fact, his lowest score on the season was 15.4. A QB13 finish with top 24 points every week is a great start to his fantasy career
  • Ryan Tannehill is right up there in top 24 weeks. Impressive, but more on him later
  • Andrew Luck is definitely still top dog in dynasty for me, and I expect him to bounce back in a big way next year
  • Overshadowing Winston’s consistent 2016 was Russell Wilson with his outstanding year, but Wilson also didn’t score fewer than 16.8 points in any game in 2015, providing a great floor
  • Trusty Philip Rivers may be getting ‘old’, but considering the way Carson Palmer and Drew Brees have played well into their late thirties, I’m still happy with him being my QB1

Bottom QB1/2%

bottom qb12

  • I don’t like Brock Osweiler as a dynasty asset. He simply didn’t prove anything to me last year. I do believe the offense will be much improved in Houston and he can be serviceable, but I don’t expect long-term value. Note that the ‘games played’ number was also unfair to him in this data, and he did hit the top 24 in six of his eight games in 2015
  • I wasn’t expecting to see Tom Brady on the list, but remember when many people started to say he’d ‘lost it’? He did actually have a couple of rough patches early in both 2013 and 2014, but he destroyed last year, averaging 27.4 points over his first 14 games
  • Joe Flacco may show up in the bottom nine in this list, but look at the players around him and consider how cheap he is at QB26 in ADP data. I’m targeting him right now and am not afraid to buy the Ravens offense in bulk

Top QB1%

top qb1

  • Luck’s fantastic numbers are still intact
  • Matthew Stafford is probably flying a little under the radar as the QB17 in the ADP data. Last year, he had a career high in completion percentage and his highest touchdown total since 2011. Perhaps he has learned that simply staring down Calvin Johnson on every play wasn’t the best way to go
  • Palmer has been such a stud in Arizona. From week one to 14 last year, he scored at least 20 points in each game
  • Tyrod Taylor – is this high QB1% a sign of things to come? Or has he peaked?

Bottom QB1%

bottom qb1

  • Looking at Blake Bortles here may give the impression that he hasn’t had the ‘big’ weeks consistently, but just one of those QB1 weeks came in his rookie year – the rest in 2015. With nine of 16 games being QB1 weeks, he was at 56.25% for the season (‘elite’)
  • Alex Smith doesn’t do dud weeks, but he doesn’t do stud weeks either. He hasn’t gone over 30 points since week 15, 2013 (the Jamaal Charles show)
  • Jay Cutler just lingers between good enough and benchable. He has never thrown over 30 touchdowns in a season

Top QB2%

top qb2

Bottom QB2%

bottom qb2

  • Andy Dalton has been fairly unpredictable – his 2014 was extremely erratic with a few single-digit games, but he sprinkles in enough game-winning weeks to be a solid play
  • As many of the names on this list show, having a low QB2% isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it means they are probably scoring as a QB1. Players like Derek Carr and Robert Griffin III, however, who haven’t had as many big weeks, don’t show up so well

Superstar Weeks

Superstar weeks are my way of separating the great from the good. Over the past three years, the average number of points required to be the top scoring quarterback in any given week was 38.1. I took this number and the QB1 requirement (22.5) and split them in half to get 30.3. This is what I would call a ‘superstar week’ – one that should secure a win for your team in most head-to-head matchups.

top ss

  • The obvious names lead the way. Drew Brees was on top of the same list last year
  • Kirk Cousins is an impressive inclusion, considering he has previously been in-and-out of the starting role
  • After a weak rookie season, Blake Bortles really blew up last year. With his weapons, he always has a shot at a huge game
  • Marcus Mariota sneaks in with a couple of huge games. I expect there to be many, many more

Conclusion (Why do I do this?)

Taking part in multiple leagues is perhaps the best way to gauge how often a player performs well for you. If you keep checking your box scores across leagues and the same star is propelling you to wins, you will most likely conclude he is a consistent performer for you. However, I personally find it difficult to keep track of multiple leagues and prefer instead to play in only a few to maintain a focus and give them the time they deserve (even with only a few, I sometimes struggle).

Therefore, I don’t have shares of every player in the league and I’ll only have multiple shares of one or two players. I know how my teams perform from week to week, but the individual ups and downs are less noticeable. Doing this study allows me to see where players are performing better or worse than expected on a weekly basis (compared to their yearly finish).

You can interpret the data any way you choose to. I don’t argue that it is predictive, neither do I argue that it reflects which quarterbacks have played the best football over the last three years. It is simply another tool to determine how best to build your team and strategy to gain success. I hope you can utilise it to determine some players to buy or sell.

Previous Years

Who stood out to you? What did you gain from studying the data? All feedback is welcome. The full data set is below.

Andrew Luck26392462123136921026
Cam Newton27462452183942911226
Aaron Rodgers32412254122934831024
Russell Wilson2748214419404083817
Jameis Winston22168508501610016
Marcus Mariota2212650217867217
Derek Carr2532113411342269413
Ben Roethlisberger34442045163636821023
Blake Bortles2430103315502583620
Drew Brees37472757183845961328
Tom Brady3848255212253777919
Philip Rivers3448234817354083817
Ryan Tannehill274817352756449248
Matt Ryan314818382654449224
Andy Dalton2845194217383680920
Kirk Cousins272711419332074622
Matthew Stafford284824501531398148
Eli Manning3548173521443879613
Carson Palmer363818471539338725
Teddy Bridgewater23296211241186213
Tyrod Taylor26157475331280213
Tony Romo363414411441288213
Joe Flacco314217401638337912
Brock Osweiler25121854265018
Jay Cutler334117411639338037
Robert Griffin III2622732836156829
Colin Kaepernick244114341639307337
Alex Smith324614302350378012
Ryan Fitzpatrick333916411538317938


james simpson