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The Recent Trend Of Top QB Good Health

I'm a card carrying member of the "wait on the quarterback" club, but even I have noticed the change that's taken place at the top of the quarterback crop in recent years. It used to be that taking a QB early in a fantasy football draft was a bad idea because quarterbacks got hurt so often. But with recent rule changes - or maybe a recent string of good luck - the top quarterbacks are no longer getting hurt at high rates.

From 1998 to 2007, a quarterback that was picked in the top 50 overall in average draft position (ADP) had a 37 percent chance of ending up a bust. There were 72 quarterbacks in that period taken in the top 50 of ADP. Of those, 27 didn't finish in the top 12 at QB in fantasy points by the end of the season (which I define as a bust since you could have perhaps found a better QB on the waiver wire). Of those 27, 23 were due in some part to an injury and the other four lost their job due to poor performance.

Historically quarterbacks are busts at very high rates - the highest of any of the main fantasy positions (QB, RB, TE, WR):

POS ADP Total VBD Avg. VBD Players Bust Bust Percentage
Qb Top 5 -62.9 -12.58 5 2 .40
QB Top 15 1,531 46.39 33 7 .21
QB Top 25 2,373 44.78 53 12 .23
QB Top 50 1,649 15.85 104 35 .34
QB Top 75 1,531 9.34 164 61 .37
WR Top 5 0 0.00 0 0 .00
WR Top 15 1,930 68.92 28 2 .07
WR Top 25 4,361 55.20 79 10 .13
WR Top 50 7,158 31.26 229 62 .27
WR Top 75 8,073 21.36 378 134 .35
RB Top 5 4,884 113.57 43 4 .09
RB Top 15 11,687 90.59 129 19 .15
RB Top 25 15,656 81.54 192 32 .17
RB Top 50 19,910 66.59 299 62 .21
RB Top 75 21,433 53.32 402 107 .27
TE Top 15 0 0.00 0 0 .00
TE Top 50 839 41.95 20 4 .20
TE Top 75 1,198 19.97 60 19 .32
K Top 125 -274 -4.81 57 35 .61

But look what's happened since 2008. Quarterbacks that are the consensus best in the league - at least according to ADP - are staying healthy and productive. Since 2008, just  19 percent  of quarterbacks (6 of 31) taken in the top 50 of ADP have turned into busts. And Just four were busts due to injury (which may be harder to forecast).

Is this just a fluke of a smaller sample size? Is it just that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have been very healthy (other than the two missed seasons from Brady and Manning). Have the recent rule changes making it harder to hit a QB had a big impact?

Here's the impressive list:

Season Player

ADP Final Position Rank
2008 Tom Brady QB 5.94 60 knee injury
2008 Peyton Manning QB 11.98 6
2008 Tony Romo QB 15.3 9
2008 Drew Brees QB 21.25 1
2008 Carson Palmer QB 33.88 41 elbow injury
2008 Ben Roethlisberger QB 37.2 18 poor performance
2009 Drew Brees QB 11.2 7
2009 Tom Brady QB 13.66 14
2009 Peyton Manning QB 19.03 4
2009 Aaron Rodgers QB 26.57 1
2009 Philip Rivers QB 31.88 7
2009 Kurt Warner QB 40.96 13 concussion
2009 Tony Romo QB 42.16 6
2010 Aaron Rodgers QB 9.55 2
2010 Drew Brees QB 11.84 6
2010 Peyton Manning QB 21.74 4
2010 Tom Brady QB 34.44 9
2010 Tony Romo QB 40.83 30 broken collarbone
2010 Philip Rivers QB 41.48 5
2010 Matt Schaub QB 45.38 10
2011 Michael Vick QB 8.19 11
2011 Aaron Rodgers QB 10.36 1
2011 Drew Brees QB 22.41 2
2011 Tom Brady QB 30.94 3
2011 Philip Rivers QB 35.3 9
2012 Aaron Rodgers QB 4 2
2012 Tom Brady QB 8 3
2012 Drew Brees QB 12 1
2012 Matthew Stafford QB 14 11
2012 Cam Newton QB 16 4


Does this change your thinking about quarterback?  I still think the depth at the position means you should wait on a quarterback. And 2013 may feature the deepest quarterback group ever, so I'm not afraid to wait on a QB until crazy late (I took Jay Cutler as my first QB in the 11th round in a 16-team league last month).

However, this data may indicate that if you are in a two-QB league - or a league with a QB in the flex - it may not be a bad idea to invest in two top-tier QBs. After all, the recent trend shows they hold value.

Comments

By: boondocksaint62
On: 8/16/2013 1:58:00 PM
Man I'm struggling with this and you just made it worse haha ! I'm in a 10. Team keeper I kept d Martin, I don't have a 3rd pick for keeping him . I could've kept Brady but that would've cost me a 1st ! I have the 2nd over all pick, my plan was to go QB late like you but your data just threw a wrench into Thai thinking ?
 

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