Next in our series where we are asking for you to vote on who should be in the first class of our newly built Fantasy Hall of Fame, we’re looking at the quarterbacks. Before I bring on the nominations, I wanted to congratulate and induct the winners from the Wide Receivers vote:
- Jerry Rice - 42% of votes cast
- Terrell Owens - 17% of votes cast
- Randy Moss - 17% of votes cast
Congratulations to the wide receivers inducted into our Fantasy Football Hall of Fame:— Fake Teams (@faketeams) April 6, 2018
These three titans join their running back classmates LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk and Walter Payton in the Hall of Fame.
Now we move onto the quarterbacks, a position that, though vital in fantasy football, is generally seen as one that can be left until later rounds as the drop off from QB1 to QB10 is far less dramatic than with the skill position players.
In analyzing the historical fantasy data, it was quite clear that fantasy production from the guys under center has grown over time, with two significant periods where scoring jumped.
Firstly in the late 70’s when the ‘Mel Blount rule’ came in in 1978 which allowed receivers a free release after 5 yards from scrimmage. Average QB points per game was 9.0 in 1978, which rose to 10.6 in 1979 and 12.1 in 1980 and never again dipped below 10.5 points in a season. A second jump came around the turn of this decade, where PPG had average 12.8 between 1998 and 2009 before jumping to 14.0 in 2010 and 14.9 in 2011 and then has been over 15 points ever since. What is also interesting is that 2016 and 2017 have seen a downturn in average fantasy QB scoring to the point where last season’s average scoring (15.1) was 1.5 PPG lower than it was at its peak in 2015 (16.6). Whether that’s a continuing trend or just driven by injuries to some premier fantasy passers (Rodgers, Luck and even DeShaun Watson) is one we’ll have to wait and see.
Onto the quarterback nominees. We’re looking for the top three again from a group of eight passers.
Note: All fantasy numbers quoted are derived by converting historical regular season data from NFL.com into fantasy points, using standard scoring measures.
Indianapolis Colts 1998-2011, Denver Broncos 2012-2015
First up we have the all-time leader in fantasy points. Over the course of his career, Manning totaled 4,690 fantasy points, 280 more than the next highest scorer (Brett Favre). Manning tops almost every fantasy category (not rushing points obviously) and had 3 of his 4 best fantasy season after recovering from his career-threatening neck injury.
Over the course of his 17 seasons, Manning had 15 seasons as a top-10 fantasy quarterback, including twelve straight years from 1999-2010. He finished first in scoring twice, firstly in 2006 with the Colts and again in his record breaking 2013 season with the Broncos. That 2013 season of 421.98 points is the greatest of all-time by a quarterback and he is the only quarterback to score over 400 points in a season.
In terms of points per game, Manning ranks 6th all-time with 17.9 (3rd all-time in retired players). If we look at quality starts, which I’ve defined as games with at least 17.5 fantasy points, Manning also leads the way with 139 over the course of his career at a rate of 53.1% (6th all-time), as well as having the most 20 point games (100) and sixth most 30 point games (14).
Atlanta Falcons 1991, Green Bay Packers 1992-2007, New York Jets 2008, Minnesota Vikings 2009-2010
Next up we have the second all-time fantasy point scoring quarterback (4,410 points) and the iron man himself, Brett Favre. Favre played 20 seasons in the league and finished as a top-10 qb on 10 occasions, with 8 straight top-10 seasons from 1992-1999, and leading the league during two of his three MVP seasons in 1995 and 1996. Favre had 18 seasons between his first and last fatasy top-10 season, the longest stretch of any player in NFL history.
His 14.8 points per game are relatively average but his consistency over such a long period is what makes him a fantasy hall of fame contender. Favre had 121 quality starts (2nd all-time), though his rate of 40.6% is only good enough for 19th all-time). Favre also has 77 20-point games (5th all-time) and 6 30-point games (15th).
Denver Broncos 1983-1998
John Elway has the sixth most fantasy points of all-time by a quarterback (3,340 points) and was a model of consistency throughout his career. Elway finished with 12 top-10 seasons, and those came over a thirteen year period between 1985 and 1997, but was never the highest scoring quarterback in any season (he was second twice in 1987 and 1993).
Elway was one of the best rushing quarterbacks of all-time and is the sixth highest scoring rusher, with 592 rushing points at 2.6 points per game. His total points per game come in at 14.58, which ranks him 50th all-time.
Elway has 81 quality starts to his name, good enough for 8th all-time, though his quality start rate of 35.4% is outside the top-25 performers. He also has 60 20-point games (8th) and 5 30-point games (22nd).
Miami Dolphins 1983-1999
Dan Marino is your fifth all-time scoring quarterback, with 3,655 points over the course of his 17-year career. Marino had 11 top-10 seasons and set a new record for single season fantasy scoring during his record-breaking second season in 1984 where he scored 360.66 fantasy points, a mark that stood for 20 years. He also finished as the top-scoring quarterback in the 1986 season with 319.54 points.
Marino’s 15.23 points per game average is only good enough for 39th all time, though his 89 quality starts and 65 20-point games are good enough for sixth all-time.
San Francisco 49ers 1979-1992, Kansas City Chiefs 1993-1994
Compared to some of his colleagues above, Joe Montana has a much smaller sample size of games, with just 166 qualifying games. His fantasy points total of 2,664 sees him rank 13th all time and his points per game mark of 16.05 is 31st all time. Montana finished with 9 top-10 seasons in his career, but was ranked first three times in four years (1982, 83 & 85).
Montana finished with 65 quality starts in his career, tied for 15th, with 52 20-point games (12th) and 7 30-point games (13th).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1985-1986, San Francisco 49ers 1987-1999
Next up is the player with the most seasons as the top rated quarterback in fantasy football, despite being only 12th in all-time fantasy points with 2,697. Steve Young finished with eight seasons as a top-10 fantasy quarterback, and they came all in a row between 1991 and 1998, finishing first four times (1992-94, 1998). Young is also the 6th all time in points per game with 18.86, and first all-time among retired players.
Young’s prolific scoring was aided by his abilities as a runner. The 711 points at 4.97 per game he accrued as a runner is 3rd all time among quarterbacks.
Young had 83 of his 143 games where he had a quality start, and his rate of 58.0% ranks 3rd all time behind only Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. Young also had 65 20-point games (45.5%) and 17 30-point games (11.9%), both of which are the second highest rate in NFL history.
Philadelphia Eagles 1985-1995, Minnesota Vikings 1997-1999, Dallas Cowboys 2000, Baltimore Ravens 2001
Despite only having the 18th most quarterback fantasy points, Randall Cunningham had an incredible 6 year fantasy run between 1987 and 1992 where he finished as one of the top two fantasy quarterbacks five times, including being first in 1987, 1988 and 1990. Cunningham also had two further seasons where he finished second in fantasy scoring in 1992 and then again 6 years later in 1998, when he rolled back the years during a special season with the Vikings where he led them to a 15-1 season. Cunningham is 15th all time in points per game with 17.65, 4th among retired players. He was also another of the elite rushing quarterbacks, Cunningham is second only to Michael Vick in rushing points with 715 at 5.22 points per game.
Cunningham’s 71 quality starts came at a rate of 51.8%, good enough for 9th all time. He also had 52 20-point games (38.0%) and 7 30-point games.
Minnesota Vikings 1999-2005, Miami Dolphins 2006, Oakland Raiders 2007, Detroit Lions 2008-2009
The final nomination is possibly a little surprising but I like to throw in at least one player in each category who’s star burnt bright and hot opposed to being consistent over a longer period. Daunte Culpepper is outside the top-40 in all-time fantasy points (1,827), and yet his fantasy deeds over just 102 games are up there with his more illustrious colleagues above. Culpepper is 12th all time in fantasy points per game with 17.92, and he ranks 8th in rushing points by a quarterback with 520 points.
Culpepper only had four seasons as a top-10 quarterback, but all of them were as one of the top two, finishing as the top-rated quarterback three times in 2000, 2003 and 2004. His 2004 season is the 6th highest all-time (387.64), and was the first person to overtake Dan Marino’s scoring record set twenty years before.
In just 102 games, Culpepper had 54 quality starts at a rate of 52.9% (7th all time), and also 39 20-point games (38.2%) and 12 30-point games (11.8%)
Who do you want in the Quarterback class of 2018?
This poll is closed