5 Quarterbacks Who Had Outlier Touchdown Seasons in 2022 - Fantasy Football Studs & Duds

Jun 16, 2023
5 Quarterbacks Who Had Outlier Touchdown Seasons in 2022

Over the past several offseasons, I’ve used touchdown expectation to pinpoint players that are due for reversion to the mean in the touchdown column and, consequently, in fantasy scoring. Calculating expected touchdowns improves on metrics such as touchdown rate or red zone opportunities by giving an accurate representation of how much players should have scored based on field position and play type. Red zone data, for instance, is inherently flawed—a pass from the 1-yard line doesn’t have the same scoring expectation as one from the 19 but those plays are often grouped together.

More 2022 Touchdown Outliers: RB | WR | TE

Using data from the last three seasons, I calculated the touchdown rate (touchdowns per pass attempt) for every play from every starting field position on the field. For example, since 2020, a pass play that started between the opponent’s 20-yard line and 30-yard line resulted in a touchdown 5.9% of the time—a pass attempt from inside the 5-yard line was converted into a score 44.8% 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, 2020–2022
Line of Scrimmage TD Rate
1–49 0.5%
50–41 1.9%
40–31 2.6%
30–21 5.9%
20–16 9.9%
15–11 16.5%
10–6 27.6%
5–1 44.8%

As we’ve shown 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 revert to the mean—either to the league average or to their individual mean if there is a large enough sample.

This methodology has proven to be actionable. Since 2019, 18 qualified quarterbacks (200+ attempts in consecutive seasons) have thrown three or more touchdowns below expectation. Those quarterbacks have an average of 3.8 more touchdowns the following year and averaged 5.4 touchdowns over expectation. Only two players in that group repeated with a touchdown total below expectation.

Similarly, the 23 quarterbacks that have thrown at least three scores above expectation in that span saw their next-year touchdown total drop by an average of 3.1 with 4.9 touchdowns below expectation, on average.

Some of the most recent successes from this analysis have been young quarterbacks making a big leap in fantasy scoring including Kyler Murray (2020 - QB2), Joe Burrow (2021 - QB7), and Trevor Lawrence (2022 - QB8).

After compiling every pass attempt for each quarterback in the league last season and comparing their expected passing touchdowns to their actual passing touchdowns, we can get an idea of potential surprise studs and disappointing duds in 2022 based on touchdown regression.

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