Matt Ryan among the most undervalued fantasy QBs

There are some discrepancies between passer rating and PFF's metrics that could leave some QBs underrated. Pat Thorman digs in to look for fantasy gold.

| 5 months ago
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Matt Ryan among the most undervalued fantasy QBs

Comparing where quarterbacks landed on the NFL’s traditional passer rating list against PFF’s superior version of the antiquated metric has helped to reveal cracks in commonly held narratives. In the past, it has pointed us toward Eli Manning prior to his breakout 2014 season, and away from Nick Foles after a fluky 2013. At the very least, it’s a solid jumping-off point to dive deeper into passers who don’t typically get a lot of attention.

PFF’s Quarterback Rating factors in dropped passes, throwaways, spikes and the work a receiver does after the catch. Completing a high percentage of passes with a minuscule 6.8-yard average depth of target (aDOT) can artificially juice a quarterback’s NFL passer rating (cough, Alex Smith). PFF’s QBR, along with other signature statistics, helps paint a truer picture of performance.

Other than, randomly, Brandon Weeden – who experienced a brief out-of-body experience in 2015 – Matt Ryan had the widest positive gap (10 spots) between his rankings on the NFL’s and PFF’s quarterback rating list among 46 passers who took at least 100 snaps. This doesn’t jibe with what was widely considered a trainwreck season. Let’s take a closer look at Ryan and a couple other passers whose PFF QBR conflicted with the traditional measure.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Not only did Ryan’s PFF QBR rank 10 places higher than his NFL passer rating, but his passing-game grade placed seventh out of 37 qualifiers and was his highest mark since 2012. Ryan’s yards-per-attempt average of 7.5 was in line with a career 7.2 mark and was 12th-best of 42 passers with at least 100 attempts. Where he really fell off, and what kept him out of fantasy QB1 territory for the first time since 2009, was his touchdown rate (3.4). It sunk his career mark to 4.5, and he can thank a mostly pathetic supporting cast.

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Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

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