Team-By-Team Fantasy Trios – 2013

Tyler Loechner takes us through the best and worst fantasy football trios—and everything in between—from the 2013 season.

| 3 years ago

Team-By-Team Fantasy Trios – 2013

460xI looked back at the 2013 season on a team-by-team basis and compared each team’s leading quarterback, running back, and wide receiver’s fantasy success to their actual team’s offensive success according to the PFF grades. I did this same study following the 2012 and 2010 seasons, and this year’s results were no less interesting.

Just like those two seasons, the average margin of error between the PFF rankings and average fantasy points scored by each trio this season was zero.

For example, Dallas’ combination of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and DeMarco Murray were the fifth-highest scoring fantasy trio on the same team in 2013. The Dallas Cowboys had the fifth-best offensive PFF grade for 2012.

Trios from the Broncos (first), Eagles (second), Bengals (fourth), and Raiders (29th) also lined up with their offensive ranking according to PFF grades.

It’s not all perfect — the Vikings had the 25th best-fantasy trio but ninth rated PFF offense — but as previously noted the average margin of error was zero.

Fifteen quarterbacks, nine running backs, and eight wide receivers led their respective teams in fantasy points in 2013. Quarterbacks have been scoring more and more in recent years. In 2012 and 2010, 13 and 11 quarterbacks led their teams in fantasy points, respectively.

Team leaders in 2013 averaged 278 fantasy points. The second tier averaged 219 fantasy points, and the third tier averaged 172.

Let’s take a look at the findings. Keep in mind that Week 17 was included in the point totals.


Snaps and points per snap

A team’s highest scoring fantasy player averaged 965 snaps in 2013. The second highest scorer averaged 834 snaps, while the third highest scorer averaged 615 snaps.

These figures are similar to 2012, when leaders averaged 914 snaps, the second tier averaged 880, and the third tier averaged 635.

As nearly half of the first tier is made up of quarterbacks, it makes sense that its snap count average is significantly higher than the other two tiers. A total of 17 quarterbacks took over 1,000 snaps in 2013. By comparison, 13 wide receivers reached that milestone, and no running backs did.

But they were not team leaders simply because they took more snaps. The average team leader scored .03 more fantasy points per snap than the second tier.

  First Tier Second Tier Third Tier
Snaps 965 834 615
Pts. 278 219 172
PPS 0.29 0.26 0.28

While the number of snaps taken is not the differentiator between the first and second tiers, it clearly plays a role for the third tier. As you can see, third tier players were, on average, more effective with their time than second tier players. We saw the same thing happen last season, with the first tier leading the way with 0.31 PPS while the third tier outdid the second (0.26 versus 0.25).

Why is that? My explanation last year was that the third tier is simply home to more injury victims, and I believe that to be true again this season. Whether it be Aaron Rodgers (third tier for the Packers) or Shane Vereen (third-tier for the Patriots), the third tier naturally houses more injured superstars than the first or second.


Best Fantasy Trio

  First Snaps Pts. Second Snaps Pts. Third Snaps Pts. Avg. FP rank PPF rank Difference
DEN Peyton Manning 1181 432 Demaryius Thomas 1131 319 Knowshon Moreno 724 296 349 1 1 0

Petyon Manning could have stopped playing after Week 8 and he still would have scored more points on the season than Eli Manning, Robert Griffin III, and Joe Flacco.

As a trio, Manning, Demaryius Thomas, and Knowshon Moreno averaged 349 points. Jamaal Charles and Drew Brees were the only other individuals to score more than 349 points this season.

You don’t need me to tell you that the 2013 Broncos had an amazing offense. We all saw it coming during the offseason and it became an incontrovertible fact halfway through the first game.

In truth, there’s not much to say here that hasn’t been said, but it needs to be noted that Manning did not singlehandedly carry this group; each member of Denver’s trio did his part.

Manning was the highest scorer in the first tier, Thomas was the highest scorer in the second tier, and Moreno was the highest scorer in the third tier. Each scored at least 100 more fantasy points than the average of their respective tiers.


Worst Fantasy Trio

First Snaps Pts. Second Snaps Pts. Third Snaps Pts. Avg. FP rank PPF rank Difference
SL Zac Stacy 582 185 Tavon Austin 434 126 Sam Bradford 463 123 145 32 20 12

This Rams trio was comparatively worse than St. Louis’ PFF offensive grade in large part due to injury and lack of playing time. Bradford’s season was cut short before the midway point, and Zac Stacy didn’t see significant playing time until Week 6.

Additionally, two of St. Louis’ three leaders — Stacy and Tavon Austin — were rookies. The jury is still out on Austin, who played in 13 games but just 50% of St. Louis’ snaps. Is he a limited player, or did the Rams just not do enough to get him the ball in space? I’d like to believe the latter.

To be fair, Stacy was quite good. From Week 6 on, he was the ninth best running back in fantasy football, ahead of guys like Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Alfred Morris, and DeMarco Murray. Plus, only Eddie Lacy had more carries than Stacy over the final 12 weeks.

There is definitely hope for this group, and it would be surprising to see them ranked dead last again next season.


Other Musings

Time for some random thoughts from this research:

1)   Andy Dalton scored more fantasy points this season than A.J. Green. What?

2)   Danny Woodhead outscored Ryan Mathews. This is a points-per-reception list, but it’s still impressive considering Mathews had the fifth-most rushes among all running backs this season.

3)   Shane Vereen played just eight games this season, but he still ended as the best fantasy football running back in New England. Big things are in store for Vereen.

4)   The Eagles trio of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Nick Foles is seriously underrated.

5)   Andre Brown of the New York Giants scored 96 fantasy points this season. He was the only one of the 96 players on the list to have fewer than 100 points.

6)   Ryan Tannehill scored as many fantasy points as Tom Brady. Well, technically Brady scored one more point, but when you round to the nearest whole number, it’s a tie.

7)   Harry Douglas had more fantasy points than Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Smith, Steve Johnson, and Torrey Smith.

8)   So did Kendall Wright.

9)   Keenan Allen (971 snaps) averaged 356 more snaps, or about one-third of the season, than every other player in the third tier.

10) Drew Brees scored 374 fantasy points in 2013, the sixth best fantasy performance by a QB since 2008. Peyton Manning’s season overshadows this fact.


  First Snaps Pts. Second Snaps Pts. Third Snaps Pts.
ARZ Carson Palmer 1105 245 Larry Fitzgerald 1020 238 Andre Ellington 414 165
ATL Matt Ryan 1088 273 Harry Douglas 947 203 Steven Jackson 426 148
BLT Joe Flacco 1173 230 Torrey Smith 1143 201 Ray Rice 730 179
BUF Fred Jackson 677 233 EJ Manuel 706 145 Steve Johnson 713 130
CAR Cam Newon 1025 312 DeAngelo Williams 475 166 Steve Smith 779 163
CHI Matt Forte 940 338 Brandon Marshall 1000 302 Jay Cutler 643 180
CIN Andy Dalton 1140 314 A.J. Green 1078 306 Giovani Bernard 627 225
CLV Josh Gordon 934 314 Jason Campbell 521 127 Chris Ogbonnaya 328 117
DAL Dez Bryant 959 295 Tony Romo 944 272 DeMarco Murray 690 259
DEN Peyton Manning 1181 432 Demaryius Thomas 1131 319 Knowshon Moreno 724 296
DET Calvin Johnson 913 304 Matthew Stafford 1156 302 Reggie Bush 625 245
GB Jordy Nelson 1102 264 Eddie Lacy 689 244 Aaron Rodgers 592 175
HST Andre Johnson 1011 280 Ben Tate 491 147 Matt Schaub 624 121
IND Andrew Luck 1068 298 T.Y. Hilton 776 221 Donald Brown 379 150
JAX Maurice Jones-Drew 664 184 Chad Henne 921 175 Cecil Shorts 778 162
KC Jamaal Charles 870 379 Alex Smith 1006 266 Dwayne Bowe 863 154
MIA Ryan Tannehill 1035 264 Brian Hartline 922 202 Lamar Miller 633 125
MIN Adrian Peterson 684 236 Greg Jennings 753 172 Christian Ponder 520 124
NE Tom Brady 1218 264 Julian Edelman 1038 248 Shane Vereen 297 134
NO Drew Brees 1138 374 Pierre Thomas 578 213 Marques Colston 763 199
NYG Eli Manning 1002 201 Victor Cruz 798 196 Andre Brown 369 96
NYJ Geno Smith 1007 223 Bilal Powell 633 137 Jeremy Kerley 581 114
OAK Rashad Jennings 567 175 Rod Streater 773 173 Terrelle Pryor 611 158
PHI LeSean McCoy 890 332 DeSean Jackson 1010 269 Nick Foles 715 262
PIT Antonio Brown 968 303 Ben Roethlisberger 1067 285 Le’Veon Bell 691 219
SL Zac Stacy 582 185 Tavon Austin 434 126 Sam Bradford 463 123
SD Philip Rivers 1128 303 Danny Woodhead 504 227 Keenan Allen 971 224
SF Colin Kaepernick 999 280 Anquan Boldin 831 246 Frank Gore 761 195
SEA Russell Wilson 1006 289 Marshawn Lynch 737 276 Golden Tate 790 186
TB Vincent Jackson 998 242 Mike Glennon 864 175 Bobby Rainey 275 102
TEN Chris Johnson 810 243 Kendall Wright 818 213 Ryan Fitzpatrick 687 183
WAS Pierre Garcon 1005 279 Robert Griffin III 924 229 Alfred Morris 611 184

Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

Comments are closed.