4 Quarterbacks That Could See a Touchdown Bounce Back in 2019
The perfect fantasy football player isn't so much human as she is robot. She has no emotional attachment to a player or team. She discounts no player for any reason but draft day price point.
She'll draft the same player who ripped out her mechanical heart last year if that player's average draft position is reasonable. May we all strive to be less human in our approach to this quirky little game.
This robot fantasy footballer would take at least a cursory look at players who might be primed for a bounce back in touchdown production after a disappointing season during which they underperformed, failing to reach career averages. Touchdowns are volatile, as the robot knows, but career touchdown rates can tell us a bit about whether the previous season was a fluke or on par with how a player produces.
Below, my good robot readers, are four quarterbacks whose touchdown rates dropped (or plummeted) in 2018, perhaps setting up for a rebound in 2019 touchdown throws. A fallen touchdown rate doesn't guarantee a bounce back of any kind, but it can point us toward guys who got unlucky with touchdown passes and may be subject to the more positive end of that touchdown volatility.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2018 touchdown rate: 4.2%
Career touchdown rate: 6.2%
Rodgers’ nightmarish 2018 campaign—in which everything that could go wrong did go wrong—ended with the Packers’ signal caller as fantasy’s fifth-highest scoring quarterback. You’d have to look for a while to find a bigger gap in TD rate than Rodgers’ 2018 numbers compared to his sterling career rate. That Rodgers had a relatively abysmal 2018 season shouldn’t come as a great shock, as Green Bay’s stale offense had run its course, the team’s head coach had mailed it in, and Rodgers was gimping around on one leg for much of the season. The Rodgers haters have never been so smitten.
Everything else was in line for Rodgers in 2018: his interception rate (0.3%) remained microscopic, his completion rate (62.5%) stayed steady, and his adjusted yards per pass attempt (8.1) was just 0.3 under his career AY/A. There’s nothing to indicate Rodgers, who enjoys “dad runner” jokes, has fallen off the proverbial cliff. The guy, after all, has posted a touchdown rate of 5.9% five times over his 10 full seasons as Green Bay’s starter.
Rodgers, had he posted his career average touchdown rate in 2018, would have thrown 37 touchdowns—good enough for QB2 on the year. Even though quarterback doesn’t matter in most fantasy formats, Rodgers at his sixth-round ADP seems like a quarterback to target if you’re bound and determined to take an elite signal caller in 2019. The bounce back is coming. But be sure to avoid Rodgers in point-per-beers-chugged leagues.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
2018 touchdown rate: 3.8%
Career touchdown rate: 4.4%
Speaking of chugging beers, Stafford's utterly disastrous 2018 campaign, featuring a humble 21 touchdown tosses, ended with his second-lowest touchdown rate since his first full season as Detroit's starter in 2011. Stafford, who used to be fun for fantasy purposes, has posted gaudy touchdown rates over his career, including a 6.4% rate in 2011. I'd like to have Stafford's 2012 season—in which he threw 21 touchdowns on 727 attempts—expunged from my brain. Alas, that technology remains under development.
Stafford's career touchdown rate of 4.4% at least hints that we might see a modest bump in touchdowns for the signal caller in an offense with a backward approach to the game. Had he hit his career average in 2018, Stafford would have posted 3.5 more touchdowns, or 14 more fantasy points. No matter how one slices this data, Stafford shapes up as nothing more than a desperate streaming option for standard fantasy formats—a weird thing to write about a guy who has averaged 273.3 passing yards in 141 career starts.
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