How many times over the past few seasons did we hear how Drew
Brees was completing over 74% of his passes? And how many times
did they want us to be impressed?
The correct answer is too many.
Mainly, because Brees has become ďCaptain Checkdown.Ē
Peruse the table below and youíll find Brees near the very
bottom of the chart in ďIntended air yards per passing attempt.Ē
He and former teammate Teddy Bridgewater trailed the field at
6.4 yards and 6.2 intended air yards per passing attempt.
Iím much more impressed by the work of the quarterbacks
near the top of the chart.
Ryan Tannehill mainly gets laughed at, and ignored, by fantasy
owners (ADP 155.6), but the numbers from 2018 to last season show
a much improved player. Heís still not a fantasy starter
throwing the ball just 27 times per start, but if you see his
attempts begin to rise to 30-or-more and his other percentages
remaining steady he could become a useful fantasy option during
Dak Prescott is a divisive figure in that many either love him
to hate him (Yes, as an Eagles fan Iím obliged to hate him
Ö but with respect), however, the numbers show him getting
better. Not just the 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns, but the consistent
65% or-more completion percentage, while throwing deeper passes
(from 7.5 yards to 9.3 yards) and fewer bad throws. Now he gets
to play with even more weapons in CeeDee Lamb.
Josh Allen still isnít and probably wonít ever be
an accurate passer, but he did improve his completion percentage
last season by attempting shorter passes (better decision-making
and play calling) and his obscene 25.7 bad throw percentage of
2018 dropped to 20.3%. Still bad, but better than Matthew Stafford,
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
Letís talk about the last name I mentioned - Mr. Brady
Ö the GOAT.
The GOAT didnít play well last season. Iím sure Brady
would admit it (off camera). The numbers donít lie. OK,
sometimes numbers do lie, but not in this case. His completion
percentage dropped five points and his bad throw percentage jumped
almost two points even while he was throwing slightly shorter
passes. His 2019 intended air yards per attempt (7.6 IAY/PA) ranked
him 27th of the 37 quarterbacks analyzed.
Additionally, the 2019 Brady is not a good fit for what the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers do. The Bucs throw the ball deep! In 2018 Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick ranked second (10.8) and third (10.3)
in intended air yards per passing attempt, respectively. Last
year, they were second and eighth. Meanwhile, Brady was dumping
short passes to Julian Edelman and running back James White. Tomís
never been mentioned when talking strongest arm, though it hasnít
been a problem to his game so far, but the Bucs offense with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is a deep passing game. It was 13 years
ago that Brady was throwing bombs to Randy Moss. I donít
think he could reach him anymore. Is Bruce Arians and OC Byron Leftwich going to adapt to Brady or is he going to try and fit
their system? If itís Brady changing for the team it might
be trying to put an expensive square peg in a round hole.
Speaking of MVPs, did you notice how much Lamar Jackson has improved?
His accuracy jumped almost eight percent, his bad throws were
cut and it didnít come at the cost of a more conservative
passing game. Breaking it down even further his completion percentage
was 63.3 in seven September and October games and 69.4% in November
and December. He just keeps getting better. Last season was real
and he should be the same in 2020, though if the FFToday staff
draft is any indication, as the Midas commercial says, ďyouíre
gonna pay a lot for that muffler.Ē He went No.8 overall.
The numbers also say stay away from Jared Goff. Completion percentage
down and bad passes up despite a more conservative game plan from
the sideline. If you want to see what a shorter passing game is
supposed to do for your statistics, just look at what Kyle Shanahanís
2019 offense did for Jimmy Garoppolo. Of course it helps to have
a great running game for play action and Goff will be without
security blanket Todd Gurley for the first time in his career.
Will a fake handoff to Cam Akers scare the defense as much as
Gurley did the past four season? Goff may pass 600+ times again
in 2020, but will he have the time to complete a lot of them?
One final note, Carson Wentzís statistics were significantly
worse last season and while I tend to believe it was because he
was playing with a bunch of practice squad wideouts and one good
tight end (Zach Ertz), there isnít any guarantee that it
gets a lot better in 2020. Alshon Jeffery is still hurting (Lisfranc),
speedster Marquise Goodwin opted out, DeSean Jackson is only days
away from his next leg/oblique/shoulder/neck/arm/concussion injury
and rookie receivers are just that. They have no experience at
this level and wonít get any until Week 1. By the time we
find out if Jalen Reagor, John Hightower or Quez Watkins can play,
it may be too late for you to get back into title contention with