Should Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) matter in Fantasy Football?
If other fantasy sports incorporate an average / percentage based statistic, why shouldn't there be one for Fantasy Football?
Fantasy Baseball includes batting average, K/9, WHIP, ERA and Fantasy Basketball uses PPG, FT %, FG%.
Before we decide if QBR is a stat worth including in Fantasy Football we should first find out how is QBR calculated.
Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) is an ESPN created metric that measures the degree that the Quarterback contributed to the points scored by his respective team. QBR weighs plays based on how they affect the probability of the team winning. To calculate QBR a quantified "win probability" function is applied which examines each play and determines the expected value of the points scored. QBR takes into account events like; throws while under pressure, the distance of the pass, first downs converted, remaining time on the clock, sack evasion, rushing yards and comebacks versus maintaining leads. The results of the win probability function is then used to compute a "clutch index". The QBR has a range from 0 to 100, where 50 is considered average. This seems to be the only part of the QBR metric that is straight forward. ESPN has not released the exact formula that they use to calculate QBR. The methodology spans 10,000 lines of code to compute, which means it's either terribly convoluted or they need more efficient computer programmers.
Confused yet? Basically, it's easier to file your taxes long form by hand with all of the instructions written in Braille. Considering the amount of mystery surrounding the metric and difficulty for a fantasy football layman to compute we can safely dismiss QBR as a reliable metric to include in fantasy football scoring.
So, if not QBR, how about using the NFL Passer Rating?
The NFL Passer Rating is the "official NFL measure of passing performance". The NFL Passer Rating is calculated using pass attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions. Passer Rating ranges from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 158.3. So not only is the NFL Passer Rating a much easier metric to calculate it also leaves nothing left to subjective tinkering.
What parts of NFL Passer Rating are already accounted for in Fantasy Football?
Well, passing yards, Touchdowns and interceptions are already incorporated into nearly all standard and custom league scoring settings. So that leaves us with Pass Attempts and Completions. Should we reward the Quarterback for throwing the football? We don't reward receivers for targets or running backs for touches so it's illogical to reward fantasy points to Quarterbacks for simply throwing the ball.
But rewarding fantasy points for Completions is an intriguing concept. If anything if could be rewarding to the traditional pocket passer in a modern day NFL where the amount of run-option Quarterbacks seems to be on the rise.
To award fantasy points to the league leader in pass attempts and therefore likely the leader in completions changes the dynamic of the Quarterback position. Sure, the Bell Cow and the WR1 benefit from the volume bit awarding points per completion could become lucrative. At a full point per completion we could see the average point production more than double. Even at a half point or a quarter point per completion we can see the amount points scored rise enough to upset the balance of power. It's not unreasonable for the top WR in PPR to share the same standing room with the top Quarterbacks in the league, but the 15th best Quarterback shouldn't be outscoring the top position players in the league. Any bonus points for completions won't contribute to a level playing field and disrupt the parity we are aiming for.
So how to create more variance between the good Quarterbacks and the mediocre ones that play poorly yet still mange to have good fantasy point production? We can incorporate a completion percentage bonus. It seems fair that the Quarterback should be rewarded for high efficiency in the passing game. It might not be a great idea to award bonus fantasy points based on completion percentages because there is no distinction between the Quarterback who completes 25 out of 50 pass attempts and the Quarterback who completes 15 out of 30 or even the Quarterback who completes 10 out of 20 pass attempts. Going strictly by percentages doesn't work and neither does awarding a point per completion.
Looks like our only other option is to up the ante on the fantasy points awarded for each touchdown thrown. Raising the points per touchdown thrown from 4 to 6 seems like a great solution at first glance, however when we consider the frequency that a Quarterback throws 4+ touchdowns in one game it can be an instant "win". I tend to shy away from any scoring settings that allow for one player to single-handedly carry your team for victory.
The overall goal is to bring parity to the Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Running Back, Tight End and Team Defense (D/ST). Notice I left out Kickers? That's another story for another day in another blog post.
So we return to completion percentage paradox once again. What if we award fractional points for completions and penalize inaccurate Quarterbacks with the same amount of incomplete passes? It definately adds more action to the scoring aspect as every completion, spike or throw-away now count that much more.
How would an implementation of fantasy points awarded for Completions / Incompletions affect the current Fantasy Quarterback rankings?
Looks like the change helps the traditional pocket passer in most cases as Big Ben, Drew Brees and (le sigh) Kirk Cousins jump spots on the Average Fantasy Points per game ranking. Nothing too upsetting fantasy points wise, if we ran the same calculations with half or +/- 1 point per completion we could see as high as an extra 100 fantasy points being tacked onto the season totals which could totally overpower the Quarterback position.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter,