We’re talking Quarterbacks, and three of them specifically. Towards August you’ll start to see more articles about the ‘higher ranked’ players in the league. July, on the other hand, calls for names that might find one pulling their hair out while trying to decipher these guys in early mock drafts. This article is not meant to persuade anyone in any particular way. This is just an article that will produce stats, some in-depth and some not, from the 2016 season to make sure you can start to wrap your head around what these Quarterbacks actually did.
When someone gets a huge contract during the offseason, it generally puts their name in the media more than similar skilled players at their respective position. In return, the player who just made a ‘butt-load’ of money starts to rise on people’s radar. You may think to yourself a number of reasons why you should be drafting a player like Derek Carr, now having the NFL’s richest contract, over the likes of guys like Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford. The end of the season and off-season media also can trick viewers. Hearing more and more about how good one guy is when other players fly under the radar.
Derek Carr is a prime example. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Carr is being drafted in the mid sixth round. Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford are being drafted anywhere in the tenth round. Is it because of the hype Carr has gotten with the media coverage of his contract or ‘Beast Mode’ joining the team? Is it because he was the man that ESPN or NFL Network loved to cover last year, even after injury? Is it due to so many Raiders fans out there yearning for the next best quarterback and finally feel they have the one, and making sure everyone knows? The reasons could be endless, but I’m here just to compare some stats from last year.
Derek Carr started 15 games in 2016, before the gut wrenching hit for all Raiders fans. In those 15 games Carr threw over or equal to 300 yards four times (one game over 500 yards) and over or equal to three touchdowns, in five games. He also threw less or equal to 200 yards four times and less or equal to one touchdown, seven times. Quite inconsistent, never stringing together two, 300 or more yard games or two, three touchdowns or more games. He was consistent in his errant throws, by not throwing many of them all season. Never accumulating two interceptions or more in a single game.
To get a little in-depth look at Carr. The Raiders leader threw 92 passes in the redzone and completed 47.1% of them. Chucking the football over 20 yards, 61 times, ranked him 21st in the league. Yet, showed amazing accuracy in those deep balls, connecting 41% of the time and finishing the season ranked 9th in that stat. He finished the 2016 season as the ninth most productive quarterback and during the 2017 offseason lost main runner, Latavius Murray, but added the late retired Marshawn Lynch to replace him. The Raiders also signed the non-impressive, Cordarrelle Patterson, who is slated at WR4 as of right now.
Now to compare the sixth quarterback being drafted, currently, to the 14th and 16th quarterbacks being taken off the board.
Fun fact: Philip Rivers is 1 of only 10 QB’s in HISTORY to throw for 300 touchdowns. Only one on the list to not have started in the SB
— Good Clean Sports (@GoodCleanSports) June 28, 2017
Philip Rivers, currently being drafted as the second pick in the tenth round – QB14, is adding rookie wideout Mike Williams and, back from injury, favored receiver Keenan Allen. Rivers and his gunslinger throwing motion posted six games over or equal to 300 yards and four games with more or equal to three touchdowns (two games with four touchdowns). Rivers only threw for less than or equal to 200 yards, once, and threw one touchdown or less four times. What hurt Rivers and the Chargers was his reckless throws that led to six games with more or equal to two interceptions (four of which he had three interceptions and two of which he had four interceptions). Rivers finished third in the league with 102 redzone attempts but only completed 47.1%. Firing the ball over 20 yards, 79 times, but only completing 29.1% of them. As Kenny Rogers sang, “you got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em”, speaks dividends for the gambler of the NFL. Rivers finished the 2016 campaign as the sixth ranked quarterback, three spots ahead of Carr, even with his risky-type play.
Happiest guy other than Derek Carr and his teammates right now? Matthew Stafford. Will top Carr money this calendar year. — Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) June 22, 2017
The last quarterback I’ll mention in this little piece is the Lions’ starter, Matt Stafford. Losing his main touchdown weapon in Anquan Boldin, but regaining the always hopeful, and solid pass catcher when healthy, Ameer Abdullah in the backfield and OTA standout, rookie, Kenny Golladay. Stafford is being selected as the eleventh pick in the tenth round, ranking him as the 16th Quarterback being drafted. In 2016, Stafford threw over or equal to 300 yards, four times (no games over 400 yards). He found the endzone three or more times in four different games (one game with four touchdowns) but did add two extra touchdowns on the ground. Only throwing for 200 yards or less one time but had an eye-popping nine games with only one touchdown or less through the air. Something that could find your fantasy team thirsty for points nine different times. In all fairness, in two of those nine games he added his rushing touchdowns. So, actually, seven times in 2016 he totaled one touchdown or less. He ranked inside the top ten in red zone attempts, 87 ranking him seventh, and redzone completion percentage, 60.9% ranking him tenth. More similar to Carr, Stafford, threw the ball over 20 yards 64 times, but 8 spots behind Carr, completing only 32.8% of them. Stafford finished his 2016 year as the eighth ranked quarterback. With two less total touchdowns than Carr and four more interceptions, it seems his 390 more yards is what helped Stafford surpass Carr in the final rankings.
Understandably, Carr played in one less game than Rivers and Stafford. But, Rivers was handcuffed losing his top targeted receiver from 2015 and Stafford played the final three games with a dislocated finger, so for all intensive purposes we’ll say everything evens out.
Now I’m not here to say you should or shouldn’t draft Carr. I’m not here to say you should or shouldn’t wait and draft Rivers or Stafford or anyone else for that matter. I’m only here to provide you with some stats that I observed while taking these three quarterbacks into consideration. If your gut says Carr breaks out keeping his interceptions low and produces over 35 touchdowns, then get him as early as you see fit. If you think the additions of Williams and Allen will only help Rivers and you think getting him after 13 other quarterbacks have been drafted is a steal, then go get the gambler. If you think it’s finally the Lions’ year and it all starts with Stafford and you want to take him as the 16th quarterback, then do so. As I like to constantly say, make sure you draft smart not political and just follow your gut.