Perception is reality in fantasy football, as it is in most markets. Traditional NFL passer rating often figures too prominently in many fans’ perception of quarterbacks. It is an imperfect statistic that we can – and do – improve upon.
PFF passer rating eliminates dropped passes, throwaways and spiked balls, while it factors in air yards – resulting in a more finely tuned metric. Using this measure, in conjunction with our player grades, can attribute actual performance more effectively than the antiquated NFL passer rating.
Leveraging advanced metrics and grades helps to differentiate a large group of similarly priced fantasy quarterbacks. When compared to NFL passer rating, it’s a clearer window into whose reputation is incorrectly skewed. It has provided more hits than misses in the past, and if nothing else, is a jumping off point for closer inspection.
Last week we examined four quarterbacks who are overrated by NFL passer rating, and dove into their fantasy outlook with the help of PFF metrics and grades. Below are four who appear underrated.
For one of fantasy’s most consistent producers, perception of Ryan has swung violently during the last few offseasons. After five straight campaigns fluctuating narrowly between the seventh- and 11th-highest-scoring quarterback, he bottomed out to the QB18 in 2015. Left for dead by many drafters in 2016, Ryan was available into the 13th round as the 18th passer picked. Of course, almost all of his rate stats were at or near career norms in 2015 – except for an uncharacteristically low touchdown percentage. Ryan bounced back to rank as the third-highest-scoring fantasy quarterback, driven by an unsustainably high touchdown rate. You know what happened next.
Last offseason, Ryan was going off the board early in the fourth round, as the third quarterback picked – an incredible nine-round leap. The “you know what you get with Ryan” fantasy trope was comically broken, as 2017 marked the third consecutive offseason in which his positional ADP exactly matched his previous year’s fantasy finish but had little predictive value.