The Rushing Quarterback, The Fantasy Football Purist’s Worst Nightmare
May 30, 2013 in Fantasy Football Projections
By Guest Writer Mark Albano:
Fantasy Football is flawed. I feel as though every Fantasy player can admit this. Lack of a substantial positive defensive influence in the final outcome of the score, not giving decimal points for every yard gained by a player, the fact that you can’t cut certain players, better teams sitting players at the end of the season thereby hurting your playoff chances, and so on.
But what are we to expect?
I mean it is a game that is meant to take statistics from all different positions and standardize their worth, and so by no means will it ever be perfect.
That said, recently one of Fantasy’s holes has grown larger and larger, because of one position that has become popularized in the NFL:
As I’m sure you know already, the goal in Fantasy Football is all about getting Points. Points rule everything around me.
And in Fantasy rushing gets you those points. 6 for a rushing TD compared to 4 for a passing one. 1 point for every 10 yards rushed, while you must get 25 yards passing in order to get 1 point.
In regular football if you run 10 yards or throw 10 yards, or run for a TD or throw for a TD, they both get you the same results. Not in Fantasy.
So what does this mean for your draft?
Well it definitely means your first RB is more valuable than your first WR, and so could your second RB. It also means that you might be looking for a RB before you even draft your QB. The leader of the team in the NFL can take a backseat to your RB in Fantasy. But lastly, it means you can wait a couple of rounds get an amazing RB and WR and then pick up a mediocre rushing quarterback, and still be a serious contender for that league.
While the point distribution was most likely meant to equalize the amount of yards the average RB and WR get, rushing quarterbacks arguably get the most inflation from this system as they were not as prominent when Fantasy was first popularized as they are today.
Just how much does this rush first system skew our worth we put in Fantasy players?
Let me walk you through a comparison of the 2012 seasons for New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and the QB for the Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III. Brees, 34, is a pass first QB who has been in the league since 2001, and during that time has won a Super Bowl Championship, been to 7 Pro Bowls, won 2 NFC MVPs, and is destined to be a Hall-of-Famer.
RGIII on the other hand, is a rushing quarterback who was a rookie in 2012, and while he has some serious potential, winning the NFL Rookie Of The Year Award as well as going to the Pro Bowl, by no means does he yet have the pedigree or talent that Brees does.
In 2012, Brees threw for 5177 yards, or 207.08 points if every 25 yards equals 1 point, which is rounded down to 207. RGIII passed for 3200 yards, which equals 128 points. So Brees is so far ahead of RGIII by 79 points.
Brees also threw for 43 TD – 19 Int. In Fantasy a throwing touchdown is worth 4, so he got 172 points from TDs, but an interception loses you 2 points, meaning he lost 38 points, making his grand total passing numbers at a very strong 341, or 21.3 points a game.
RGIII on the other hand had a passing TD-Int. ratio of 20-5, or 80-10 in Fantasy, accumulating to 70. Added with his yards total and he word get a player 198 points for the season from passing alone, which is 12.4 points per game and 167 points behind Brees.
Now let’s factor in rushing stats. 10 yards of rushing equals 1 point in Fantasy. Brees rushed for 5 yards, 0 points, and 1 TD, 6 points, so 6 points from rushing. Overall he has 347 points in 2012 and 21.7 points per game.
Now for RGIII, the rushing quarterback; he rushed for 815 yards, 81 points, and scored 7 TD’s, 42 points, with 2 fumbles lost, -4 points. This brings his rushing points total to 119 and his grand total for the season to 317, or 19.8 per game.
Meaning that despite Brees totaling for 1167 yards more and scoring 17 more touchdowns than the Redskin rookie, he still only has 30 more points for the whole season than Griffin, or a mere 1.875 points per game more.
So a future Hall of Fame veteran who is responsible for 102 more actual football points, 17 TDs x 6, is only marginally better than a rookie because he doesn’t run with the ball as often.
Look at these tables for comparisons, focus on the totals box:
|2012 Stats||Drew Brees||Tom Brady||Cam Newton||Aaron Rodgers||Robert Griffin III|
|Passing TDs – Int.||43-19||34-8||19-12||39-8||20-5|
|Rushing TDs – Fumbles Lost||1-0||4-0||8-1||2-0||7-2|
|Total TDs – Turnovers||44-19||38-8||27-13||41-8||27-7|
|Fantasy Points||Drew Brees||Tom Brady||Cam Newton||Aaaron Rodgers||Robert Griffin III|
|Passing Yards Points||207||193||154||172||128|
|Passing TDs – Int. Points||172-38||136-16||76-24||156-16||80-10|
|Passing Total Points||341||313||206||312||198|
|Passing Points Per Game||21.3||19.6||12.9||19.5||12.4|
|Rushing Yards Points||0||3||74||25||81|
|Rushing TD’s – Fumbles Lost Points||6-0||24-0||48-2||12-0||42-4|
|Rushing Total Points||6||27||120||37||119|
|Rushing Points Per Game||0.4||1.7||7.5||2.3||7.4|
|Total Yards Points||207||196||228||197||209|
|Total TDs- Turnovers Points||178-38||160-16||124-26||168-16||122-14|
|Points per Game||21.7||21.3||20.4||21.8||19.8|
*Note: These numbers do not account for the 40 yard passing or running bonuses in the traditional Fantasy scoring system. See the complete scoring system here.
Despite having 249 yards less, 11 TD’s less, and 5 more turnovers for the season, Carolina Panthers Cam Newton is only 14 points for the season, 0.9 points per game, behind New England Patriots Tom Brady.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, despite accumulating 628 yards and 3 TDs less than Drew Brees, still finished ahead by 3 points for the season with 349, though it should be noted that he did have an impressive 11 less turnovers for the season.
The point is that for a game that bases itself solely on a player’s statistics, it doesn’t make sense that statistics like number of yards or TD’s that are equal on the football field aren’t equal in Fantasy Football.
And while yes, I do understand that it is harder to run a lot of yards than to throw a lot of yards that does not mean that Fantasy awards points for a harder play in other situations, the 40-yard bonus points being excluded.
There are no 3-seconds-left, 55-yarder, clutch stats for kickers, there are no momentum-ending-sack points for defenders, no one-handed-TD-grab bonuses for receivers, so why then is there this disparity between rushing and passing?
I can’t think of any good reasons. It doesn’t make sense and it completely changes the worth of players as we transfer them from NFL to Fantasy.
That being said, full disclosure, it is a loophole I 100% plan to take advantage of during this fantasy season.
Cam Newton is going to bring me that trophy!
Follow Mark Albano on Twitter: @MarkAlbano11