QBs unlikely to repeat their top-12 fantasy seasons

There's more consistency at the top of the QB leaderboards than at some positions, but as Michael Moore notes, some guys WILL fall off.

| 11 months ago
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

QBs unlikely to repeat their top-12 fantasy seasons

Continuing with our research on how often top fantasy football players repeat their performance, we turn our attention to quarterbacks. Just as we did with running backs and wide receivers, we will evaluate the top fantasy quarterbacks from the past five years and track how often they repeat their performance. Because this pool is much smaller and, more often than not, you can only start one quarterback in a league, we will only consider the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks.

Top-12 Average 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
60% 50% 67% 67% 58% 58%

According to our research, top fantasy running backs and wide receivers repeated a top-20 performance 51 percent and 55 percent of the time, respectively. Top quarterbacks, however, repeated their performance 60 percent of the time. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that NFL teams pay so much money for quarterbacks, since they’ve shown a propensity to repeat their excellent performances more often than running backs and receivers. The same could be said for your fantasy teams. If there’s a quarterback who registered a top-12 fantasy season the year before, he will most likely prove to be a great value, even in the later rounds.

However, this still means 40 percent of top fantasy quarterbacks won’t repeat their great statistical seasons from the year before. Who might that be in 2016? Below are a few candidates, not including Tom Brady (suspension) or Ryan Fitzpatrick (free agent).

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (2015 positional ranking: fifth)

Compared to running backs and receivers, older quarterbacks are not nearly as problematic. Several of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks are in their late 30s, including Palmer. But unlike other older quarterbacks (Tom Brady or Drew Brees), Palmer’s top fantasy ranking was a rarity for him. While Brady and Brees have had multiple top-12 fantasy finishes in the later part of their careers, 2015 was Palmer’s first since 2007, and one of only four over his entire career. He achieved that ranking by throwing for career highs in yards (4,671) and touchdowns (35) in his age-35 season, which, while impressive, shows that 2015 was more of an outlier than the norm.

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Michael Moore has written for PFF Fantasy since 2013, focusing primarily on dynasty content. He’s also hosted the PFF Fantasy Slant Podcast since 2014.

  • Danimal

    The interesting thing about Palmer is that he has 3 very good recievers to throw too and a few solid pass catching backs in Johnson and Ellington. Looking at where the fantasy community is valuing his receivers, based on ADP and rankings, it seems like the expectation is that they all preform well with the potential for a big season from one of them. Im wondering if we should be less optimistic about the WRs based on last seasons outlier from Palmer or if his QB1 status is secure because of his supporting cast and coaching?

    • Joe Doe

      Seems to me like he has almost a Kurt Warner “Greatest Show on Turf” type of supporting cast. Their defense isn’t bad at getting off the field either. His achilles heel may be playing Seattle and Los Angeles’ D twice a year.

  • Joe Doe

    It will be interesting to see how Stafford fairs this year, Calvin Johnson aside. On one hand, he put up impressive numbers after the offensive simplification of Jim Bob Cooter, one the other, teams do well with new coaches until there is a good amount of tape out on them. Case in point is Dan Quinn’s roller coaster season (all up in the beginning, all down in the end, with one last little rise to return to the starting platform).

  • Bill Doerr

    PFFs reasoning as to why Palmer wont replicate 2015 is beyond retarded. Palmer is an Elite top 5 QB , He is the NFLs most winningest QB over the last 3 seasons & everyone knows if you protect Palmer he can and will shred any defense in the NFL & Palmer has an Elite top offensive line in front of him with the NFLs best n most loaded WR unit, an Elite top RB Core two of which excel as receivers and are loaded with 3 excellent receiving TEs with an Elite top 5 defense backing him up. Palmer will easily replicate 2015 , He wasn’t ranked Pro Football Focus’s best #1 ranked QB For nothing.

    • Mat

      And PFF has been the champion of Palmer’s elite-ness as a passer!

  • Ray LaForty

    Derek Carr WK1, Matt Stafford on the bench, Drop Carr then start streaming. RBs and WRs are to valuable in the first 10 rounds. Stream Baby Stream your QBs