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4 fantasy QBs overrated by traditional passer rating

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts after throwing for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Arizona 35-23. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The supply of fantasy quarterbacks seemingly grows each season. In leagues requiring only one starter, pressure to draft an elite passer is lessened by a widening acceptance of their diminished value. Why pay a million bucks for a six-bedroom house when $400,000 gets you five?

Of course, some five-bedroom homes are located in desirable neighborhoods with ample amenities, and some are not as well positioned (sorry, Dak Prescott). As with many markets, perception is reality – and NFL passer rating is given too much weight when valuing 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.

Let’s start off with four quarterbacks whose NFL passer rating overvalues their 2017 performance, and what it could mean for their 2018 fantasy outlook.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

It seems as if perception of Stafford’s performance has swung from overrated early in his career to underrated once he became established. It may be swinging back where it began.

This is not to say Stafford isn’t a quality quarterback. He’s been a top-13-graded passer in four of the last seven seasons — albeit never higher than eighth — with an average passing grade rank of 14.9. During that timeframe, he’s ranked in the top 12 for fantasy scoring six times.

This consistency is pushing him up fantasy quarterback rankings, and it doesn’t hurt he has the seventh-best passer rating last season. What has truly supported Stafford’s consistency, however, is a rock-solid reserve of passing volume.

Year Dropbacks Dropback Rank Passing Grade Rank
2017 628 2nd 13th
2016 658 6th 9th
2015 662 4th 24th
2014 665 4th 19th
2013 668 6th 8th
2012 776 1st 18th
2011 711 1st 13th

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