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2013 Consistency Breakdown: Quarterbacks

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Consistency Breakdowns: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

In a perfect universe you'd want a quarterback to deliver at least 20 points per week without fail.

You might as well wish for a money tree in your backyard.

The next best thing, though, is a quarterback who is expected to land 20 points per week with gusts up to 25, 30 and beyond. No one complains about overachievers in Fantasy.

If 20 points is the minimum for a good game in Fantasy then it shouldn't be a surprise that the average Fantasy point total for the Top 12 quarterbacks this season was 21.5 points per game. The number is actually down a sliver from 2012, when the average was 21.8 Fantasy points per game. Point is, in an age where passing records are being broken and everyone crows about the passing game taking over, we're still not seeing the Top 12 quarterbacks overperform to the point where 20 Fantasy points aren't enough.

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The nightmare situation for a Fantasy owner is a quarterback who is capable of getting 20-plus-points from week to week but doesn't. The unpredictable quarterbacks always require a leap of faith to start unless they are staring a juicy matchup in the face. And while many Fantasy owners love the versatility of taking two quarterbacks on Draft Day and playing the matchups, sometimes the frustration that comes with it makes the whole process not worth it -- particularly when the wrong quarterback is picked.

Only two quarterbacks -- Peyton Manning and Drew Brees -- had more than 10 games with 20-plus Fantasy points. Peyton had 11 games with at least 30! Those are the plug-and-play quarterbacks you'll aim for on Draft Day (Aaron Rodgers will be in that group also). Everyone else you'll feel good about drafting but might not call a lock to be consistent.

Let's look at the quarterbacks who were mostly consistent and often inconsistent in Fantasy in 2013.

Consistent: Nick Foles, Eagles

Fantasy point average: 27.7 over 11 games / 20+ points: 9 of 11 games (81.8 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS DNP n/a DNP n/a 19 35 5 DNP 59 28 21 bye 29 21 39 22 20 305

Rare is the quarterback who emerges from the waiver wire and becomes a reliable Fantasy starter, but Foles did it. He wound up being a very reliable quarterback from Week 9 on and a huge part of the Fantasy playoff picture in leagues (not to mention a huge part of the Eagles' playoff push). It especially helped Foles that he had just two interceptions and two fumbles lost, numbers that will probably go up in 2014. But even so, Foles is at the helm of a convincingly good offense bolstered with a strong O-line and capable receivers. There's reason to believe he's just getting started.

Consistent: Matthew Stafford, Lions

Fantasy point average: 20.3 over 16 games / 20+ points: 10 of 16 games (62.5 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 24 21 25 17 16 31 32 28 bye 24 26 21 25 6 9 6 14 325

We'll remember Stafford for his four-game meltdown to end last season, but he can't be judged entirely by it. Calvin Johnson's knee issues were a clear factor in that output, but Johnson was also a big positive for Stafford in 10 of the 11 games he had with him before Week 14. While it's unfortunate that he'll have a new offensive coordinator this year, the reality is that Stafford will remain at the helm of an offense ripe with weapons, and it should mean more big games.

Consistent: Jay Cutler, Bears

Fantasy point average: 19.8 over 10 games / 20+ points: 6 of 10 games (60.0 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 20 23 13 20 26 24 n/a bye DNP 14 DNP DNP DNP DNP 25 15 19 198

You shouldn't be too impressed with Cutler's 19.8 average, but there are some valid reasons why he's listed as a consistent quarterback. For starters, the 60 percent rate with 20-plus Fantasy points ranked ninth among all Fantasy passers. His stretch to begin the year with 20-plus in five of six games is also a positive. But when Cutler missed parts of six games he made way for Josh McCown to post four 20-point games in what amounted to six games. If you were to combine Cutler and McCown's numbers you'd have a quarterback with 11 20-point performances in 16 games (Cutler's six, McCown's four and their combined numbers in Week 10) and the third-best passer in terms of Fantasy points behind only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. It's a big credit to Marc Trestman and his offense.

Consistent: Sam Bradford, Rams

Fantasy point average: 20.2 over 7 games / 20+ points: 4 of 7 games (57.1 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 23 32 15 10 26 22 14 DNP DNP DNP bye DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 142

The sample size is small, but Bradford really showed signs of improvement before a torn ACL robbed him of his year in Week 7. With four 20-point efforts in seven games (six he actually finished), he had as many as he posted in all of 2011 and 2012 combined! I'd like to see the Rams add more talent to their receiving corps, but Tavon Austin should be a dangerous weapon for Bradford in 2014. He's another late-round sleeper to think about.

Inconsistent: Alex Smith, Chiefs

Fantasy point average: 18.9 over 15 games / 20+ points: 8 of 15 games (53.3 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 20 25 13 28 8 7 15 25 4 bye 26 27 25 17 40 4 DNP 284

Smith is probably the only quarterback who notched over 250 Fantasy points that no one will really target in drafts. When he was on, he was really on, as he had seven games with 25-plus Fantasy points (only Peyton Manning had more). But he also had six games with 15 points or less. What should help Smith's case to establish some stability in his production is a boost to his receiving corps this offseason. Anything the Chiefs can do to improve Smith's group of receivers will go a long way in making him a more reliable Fantasy option. It would also help make up for the likely regression in rushing yards in '14 after posting a career-best 431 in his first year in Kansas City.

Inconsistent: Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Fantasy point average: 19.3 over 16 games / 20+ points: 7 of 16 games (43.8 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 16 12 29 9 26 16 25 18 25 25 22 bye 34 11 17 11 12 308

Right when you felt comfortable with Wilson he'd disappoint you. In fact, Wilson had 20-plus Fantasy points in back-to-back games only three times all last year, down from the five back-to-back 20-point efforts he had as a rookie. His rushing touchdowns went from four as a rookie to one in 2013 while his passing stats were basically the same. Sure, you could say Wilson needs Percy Harvin to help his numbers out, but the reality is that Wilson needs to simply throw more to become a better Fantasy option. The 407 pass attempts he had in 2013 ranked 22nd in the NFL. Until he's given more of a leash, he's going to be a tough player to count on from week to week. But here's a hint: If the Seahawks make another move at receiver this offseason, it might mean they're ready to give him more than the 25.4 pass attempts per game he had this past season.

Inconsistent: Andy Dalton, Bengals

Fantasy point average: 21.4 over 16 games / 20+ points: 7 of 16 games (43.8 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 19 18 17 5 8 30 32 41 6 18 17 bye 11 36 23 39 23 343

Dalton finished the season as the third-best Fantasy quarterback but ranked 18th in consistency, third-worst to Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick among the Top 12 passers. But he managed to finish ahead of everyone except Peyton Manning and Drew Brees because of five games with at least 30 Fantasy points, tied for third-best at quarterback. Also, he, Luck and Kaepernick each had three games with 18 or 19 Fantasy points, meaning they were very close to getting more 20-point games (maybe just a turnover too many). I know there will be a lot of hesitation in considering Dalton in 2014, but if the Bengals offense makes some improvements and there isn't a threat to his job as the starter, maybe Dalton should be on your radar.

Inconsistent: Andrew Luck, Colts

Fantasy point average: 20.3 over 16 games / 20+ points: 6 of 16 games (37.5 pct.)
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 TOTAL
FPTS 28 19 14 22 21 7 35 bye 30 15 18 15 10 40 19 15 17 325

Luck was pretty darn close to having nine games with 20-plus points: he was four passing yards shy of 20 in Week 2, 18 passing yards and 9 rush yards from the number in Week 11 and one measly rushing yard away from the threshold in Week 15. Oddly enough, he had the exact same amount of 20-point games and near-20-point games as a rookie. In his second season he threw 57 fewer passes for pretty much 550 fewer yards with nine fewer interceptions. It's only an incremental improvement, but if he can just get a tad closer in more games he'll be a more reliable Fantasy quarterback.

Consistency Rankings
Rank Player GP FPTS/gm 20+ Consistency Rank Player GP FPTS/gm 20+ Consistency
1 Nick Foles 11 27.7 9 81.8% 11 Philip Rivers 16 21.3 8 50.0%
2 Peyton Manning 16 32.3 13 81.3% 11 Cam Newton 16 20.6 8 50.0%
3 Drew Brees 16 26.6 12 75.0% 11 Jake Locker 6 18.0 3 50.0%
4 Josh McCown 6 26.2 4 66.7% 11 EJ Manuel 10 14.6 5 50.0%
5 Aaron Rodgers 8 24.5 5 62.5% 15 Robert Griffin III 13 17.9 6 46.2%
5 Matthew Stafford 16 20.3 10 62.5% 16 Andy Dalton 16 21.4 7 43.8%
7 Jay Cutler 10 19.8 6 60.0% 16 Russell Wilson 16 19.3 7 43.8%
8 Sam Bradford 7 20.3 4 57.1% 16 Ben Roethlisberger 16 19.1 7 43.8%
9 Tony Romo 15 20.9 8 53.3% 16 Matt Ryan 16 18.2 7 43.8%
9 Alex Smith 15 18.9 8 53.3%

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard .

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Player News
Report: Chargers sign G Michael Huey, waive Baca, Alecxih
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) The Chargers have signed guard Michael Huey of the Arena Football League, according to the UT San Diego. The team also waived offensive lineman Jeff Baca and defensive lineman Chas Alecxih.

Huey is a three-time All-AFL member, playing for the Arizona Rattlers.

Baca, 25, was brought in as insurance as an interior offensive lineman last season after the Chargers went through five starting centers.

Alecxih, twice a member of the team's practice squad, did not see any regular season action in 2014. 

 


Report: RB Jacquizz Rodgers signs with Bears
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:03 pm ET) After visiting wth the Bears on Tuesday, running back Jacquizz Rodgers has signed a one-year contract with the team, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Rodgers, formerly with the Falcons for four seasons, has totaled 1,116 yards rushing, 1,104 yards receiving and 10 total totuchdowns in his career. 


Texans WR Cecil Shorts excited about role in offense
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(4:44 pm ET) Wide receiver Cecil Shorts is looking forward to a new start with the Texans, reports the team's official website.

“I’m just excited to get there and try and catch a lot of balls and help this team win,” Shorts III said in an interview with Texans Radio on Tuesday. “To pair up with (WR) D-Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) who had a great season last year and some other guys that played well as well. I’m just happy to get there and get things going.” 

After spending his first four seasons with the Jaguars, Shorts is excited about the Texans' offense and the direction the team is headed in going into 2015.

“It feels good,” Shorts III said of joining the Texans. “This organization is definitely a franchise that’s very consistent with winning the last some-odd years. I think it was a great year last year being Bill O’Brien’s first year coming in going 9-7 and right in the playoff hunt and they’re just a franchise going in the right direction.”

The 27-year-old has racked up 176 receptions for 2,343 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career.


Broncos WR Cody Latimer ready to step up in year two
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(4:35 pm ET) Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer is ready to take on a bigger role in year two with the team, reports the team's offical website.

"I feel like I’m ready, especially coming in a new offense, everybody gets a clean slate so we’re all starting from Day 1, and it’ll be exciting," he said. "I get to work with Peyton coming up soon, so he’ll be able to get me more into the offense and getting my learning curve, taking it to the next level."

Latimer is preparing to work with Peyton and Eli Manning at their yearly workout session next week.

"It’s my first time there, so it should be fun. I know we’re going to be working, studying, probably watching film and running routes," Latimer said. "It’s a good connection. It’s an early head start, in other words, to something that should be great. So that’s what I’m looking forward to, getting our timing connection and probably learning off of him and maybe learning something of the offense and things like that."

Latimer is cognizant of the fact that the team expects big things from him this upcoming season.

"I know it’s a big opportunity and I’ve got to make that leap for myself and our organization. They expect big things out of me; they drafted me in the second round, they expect me to produce so I feel like I’ve got to own up to that and make it happen.”


Cowboys LB coach: Sean Lee 'super excited' to play weakside LB
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:34 pm ET) If the Cowboys bring back linebacker Rolando McClain, then it is assumed linebacker Sean Lee will be moved to the weakside, per The Dallas Morning News. Lee missed the 2014 season due to a torn ACL.

“If it says ‘linebacker’ behind the position, I think he’s going to be okay,” Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said of Lee. “I think that, like I said, we’ll tie all these guys together and see how they fit. And we’ll find the best position for them…. Sean’s uniqueness in his ability, like a few other guys that we’ve had, he’s able to play all positions. He can really play all positions. That’s what makes him a valuable asset to our defense. He will certainly be good once we get him there and get him going. He’s really super excited and so am I.”


Colts sign WR Vincent Brown
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) The Colts have signed wide receiver Vincent Brown, the team announced Tuesday.

Brown appeared in seven games with the Raiders last season, catching 12 passes for 118 yards. His best season came in 2013, when he made 12 starts and played all 16 games with the Chargers and racked up 472 yards and one touchdown on 41 receptions.


Panthers sign LB Jason Trusnik to one-year deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) The Panthers have signed linebacker Jason Trusnik to a one-year deal, the team announced.

"Jason is an experienced player who adds more competition to the linebacker position and has also been a special teams ace," coach Ron Rivera said. "I expect him to come in and be a leader. Even though he is new to us, he's got veteran savvy to him."

Trusnik made six starts while playing all 16 games with the Dolphins in 2014, racking up 48 tackles and intercepting one pass.

"First, I want to earn respect from my new teammates and coaches," Trusnik said. "It's a new team and I have to earn that. I want to continue to be the leader that I've been in the past and make plays, whether that be on special teams or on defense."


Cardinals sign QB Chandler Harnish to one-year deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:26 pm ET) The Cardinals have signed quarterback Chandler Harnish to a one-year deal, AZCardinals.com reports. He has yet to play in a game during his three-year career.

Report: Raiders release DL Antonio Smith
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The Raiders have released defensive lineman Antonio Smith, ESPN reports.

Smith started all 16 games for the Raiders in 2014 but recorded just 20 tackles and three sacks. He was slated to count $4 million against the cap, and the team will carry no dead cap space after terminating his contract.


Chiefs have no plans to cut ties with ILB Derrick Johnson
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:18 pm ET) The Chiefs have just $2.8 million of cap space with the NFL draft less than one month away, and while the team needs to find a way to make more room beneath the camp, the Chiefs will not part ways with inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, the Kansas City Star reports.

"Derrick is obviously one of the greatest inside linebackers to ever play for the club and there are some pretty good ones, if you go back in time," team chairman Clark Hunt said. "In terms of the modern era of the Chiefs, it’s hard to think about the club without thinking about Derrick at inside linebacker. He’s a great leader, he’s a tremendous person, represents the club well on and off the field. We’re looking forward to having him back this year, hopefully good as new. You mentioned that his contract is up this year. There will be a point in time where we address that. But it just hasn’t been germane to this point."

Johnson missed last season due to a torn Achilles tendon and has a cap number of $5.2 million this season.


 
 
 
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