5 Quarterback Studs & Duds for 2020

Jun 03, 2020
5 Quarterback Studs & Duds for 2020

In 2015, I introduced Red Zone Expected Value, a metric designed to help quantify a player’s scoring expectation based on the starting field position of every play that takes place inside the red zone. The idea for the metric was to get an accurate representation of which players actually under- or over-performed in the touchdown column by looking at data beyond simple touchdown rates. The fact is that a pass from the 1-yard line doesn’t have the same scoring expectation as a run from the 19.


More Studs & Duds: RB | WR | TE


This offseason, I expanded that research to include all plays, breaking touchdown expectation down by position and type of play. Using data from the last three seasons, I calculated the touchdown rate (touchdowns per pass attempt) for every play type from various starting field positions on the field. For example, since 2017, a pass play starting between the opponent’s 20-yard line and 30-yard line resulted in a touchdown 6.5% of the time—a pass attempt from inside the 5-yard line was converted into a score 43.7% of the time.

Here are the scoring rates for all starting field positions over the last three seasons:

Passing TD Rates Based on Field Position, 2017–2019
Line of Scrimmage TD Rate
1–49 0.7%
50–41 1.6%
40–31 3.1%
30–21 6.5%
20–16 11.7%
15–11 16.8%
10–6 27.1%
5–1 43.7%

As we’ve shown before here at 4for4, touchdown rates are among the most volatile year-to-year stats. Just because touchdowns and scoring rates are inconsistent doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t predictable, though. The swings in scoring rates mean that most players' touchdown efficiency is likely to regress to the mean—either to the league average mean or to their individual mean, if there is a large enough sample.

After compiling every pass attempt for every quarterback in the league last season (minimum 200 attempts) and comparing their expected passing touchdowns to their actual passing touchdowns, we can get an idea of potential studs and duds in 2020 based on touchdown regression.

Expected Passing TDs vs Actual Passing TDs, 2019
Player Expected Passing TDs Actual Passing TDs Diff.
Lamar Jackson 20.70 36 +15.30
Ryan Tannehill 12.99 22 +9.01
Dak Prescott 22.00 30 +8.00
Drew Brees 20.09 27 +6.91
Kirk Cousins 19.17 26 +6.83
Deshaun Watson 20.34 26 +5.66
Patrick Mahomes 21.08 26 +4.92
Jameis Winston 28.52 33 +4.48
Daniel Jones 19.71 24 +4.29
Russell Wilson 26.79 31 +4.21
Matthew Stafford 15.17 19 +3.83
Mason Rudolph 10.45 13 +2.55
Josh Allen 18.89 20 +1.11
Carson Wentz 26.24 27 +0.76
Sam Darnold 18.44 19 +0.56
Jimmy Garoppolo 27.05 27 -0.05
Matt Ryan 27.20 26 -1.20
Ryan Fitzpatrick 21.21 20 -1.21
Dwayne Haskins 8.64 7 -1.64
Gardner Minshew 22.65 21 -1.65
Aaron Rodgers 27.71 26 -1.71
Case Keenum 13.59 11 -2.59
Jacoby Brissett 21.40 18 -3.40
Derek Carr 25.81 21 -4.81
Baker Mayfield 27.19 22 -5.19
Mitch Trubisky 22.39 17 -5.39
Joe Flacco 11.47 6 -5.47
Jared Goff 27.99 22 -5.99
Philip Rivers 29.18 23 -6.18
Kyler Murray 26.80 20 -6.80
Kyle Allen 24.22 17 -7.22
Tom Brady 33.71 24 -9.71
Andy Dalton 26.31 16 -10.31

Click headers to sort.

League Average Touchdown Rate - 4.5%; League Average Red Zone Touchdown Rate - 23.5%

Which 2019 Studs Might be Duds in 2020?

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