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NFL Pass Indexes: Quarterback & pass defense rankings through Week 8

Using my ROPE & ROPED Indexes to rank quarterbacks and pass defenses this season.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The ROPE (Quarterbacks) and ROPED (Pass Defense) Indexes are my self-developed passing efficiency metrics, analyzing both the offense and defense. Based loosely on the passer rating formula, I have taken it further by analyzing data that looks at receiving, blocking and pass rushing to give a more rounded view of the passing offense. In total there are six metrics that are measured to give a ROPE/ROPED Index score; completion percentage, yards per attempt, yards per completion, touchdown percentage, interception percentage and adjusted sack rate. For a full breakdown of the way the ROPE and ROPED Indexes are put together, including the thresholds for achieving a ‘perfect’ game, you can find my original posts explaining them here (ROPE) and here (ROPED).

In addition, I’ve added the average fantasy values of both the quarterbacks (including rushing points), and pass defences for comparison between the metric and the relative fantasy value.

ROPE Index - Week 8

Alex Smith continues to lead the ROPE Index ranking, as he continues to not only be efficient with his completion rate and zero interceptions, but his 8.4 yards per attempt leads the league, something nobody though they’d ever say. His 67.0% rating is only 1.8% behind where last season’s MVP Matt Ryan was after week 8 in 2016.

Overall I think the most striking player to note is the huge difference between DeShaun Watson’s real world passing efficiency and his fantasy value. After his sensational game against the Seahawks and their notorious Legion of Boom, Watson is now the number one fantasy quarterback in terms of ppg with an average points score of 23.55. This compares to his pretty average ROPE Index rating of 51.9%, 18th overall.

The other guy that’s stands out as a huge discrepancy between his real world and fantasy value is Cam Newton. Newton has had an incredibly up and down season and currently ranks as my 25th best passer but is still a top 10 fantasy quarterback based on average points per game of 16.64, supported by his 255 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

The best passer who’s fantasy value is a let down is Matt Ryan. Though his real world numbers are down on his 2016 MVP campaign, they are still solid and he ranks as my 6th rated quarterback this season. Fantasy wise, Ryan is a lowly 21st with an average ppg of just 14.25, behind the likes of josh McCown and Jacoby Brissett.

If Ryan is disappointing, Ben Roethlisberger has been a total nightmare, ranking 28th in fantasy with an average ppg of 12.67. Again his efficiency as a real passer is solid at 54.4%, 11th overall, but neither Ryan or Roethlisberger are viable fantasy quarterbacks on their current form.

ROPED Index - Week 8

The top two teams remain the same with Jaguars still leading the way, narrowly ahead of the Steelers. They also rank 1 and 2 in terms of the top fantasy secondaries as well, and are the only teams to concede under 20 fantasy points per week to receivers.

The Rams gain a place to third despite being on a bye as Deshaun Watson went off on the Seahawks haunted secondary in a big way with over 400 passing yards and four touchdowns, though the LOB ultimately had the final say with 3 picks and the W.

The Eagles and Panthers both gained 6 places this week in victory, moving up to 10th and 16th respectively. The Bears and Texans both drop 7 places this week to 13th and 19th as they were both lost on the road. The Panthers fantasy production way ahead of their real play at 6th vs 16th in fantasy. The Eagles on the flip side much better in reality compared to their fantasy play at 10th vs 22nd in fantasy.

It’s no surprise to hear, but the Patriots remain a horrendous pass defense and are unplayble in fantasy, giving up nearly 40 receiving points per game on average. Start all your pass catchers if you’re up against the Patriots.