FANTASY FOOTBALL  2011 ~ "Searching for the Next Aaron Rodgers" -- an Update on the 2012 QB class, and our "College QB Scouting Formula"...

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Fantasy Football 2011

Player News for the 2012 Fantasy Football Draft

FANTASY FOOTBALL 2011 - QB

By R.C. Fischer
Release Date:
12/6/2011

"Searching for the Next Aaron Rodgers" -- an Update on the 2012 QB class, and our "College QB Scouting Formula"...

 

Yes, we will be reporting out on our 2012 QB class, using our computer formula system like we did last year. However, we are a little more prepared for it this season. Last year, we started rolling out player scouting reports for the first time in February. We were not sure what the response would be, and it wound up to be huge. This year we have started our data-input and research earlier, and plan to start reporting it out as soon as the NFL season ends. There will be no "off-season," as soon as all of us (hopefully) win all of our Fantasy Leagues, then it's time to start work on the 2012 player due-diligence...vetting out next year's crop of prospects. We're already hard at work evaluating Landry Jones, Case Keenum, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Kellen Moore, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, etc.

However, there will be a slight change in the plan for our 2012 reporting...we will be launching a new website that will contain our college scouting for the QBs. Not only, reporting on the QBs, but all the offensive skill positions. Not only, reporting on all of the offensive skill positions, but we have been hard at work, beta-testing defensive player formulas as well. This new website will focus on 2012 player evaluations from an NFL Draft perspective, but will also go in a million other directions...from providing rankings of players pre-draft, as well as projections/rankings right after the NFL Draft for those who have 2012 Dynasty League rookie drafts to look forward to. This new site will also contain data and research on previous NFL Draft classes and NFL Draft trends, and anything else we can dream up...or that the readers suggest.

There are two things I can tell you about this website:

1) We have a million ideas, and a million suggestions for this website. This site is going to be an open book in a sense...a rolling stream of discovery that we find out about on all these prospects. For the 4+ months leading up to the NFL Draft, we will be looking (visually) at 99% of these players for the first time...like presents on Christmas morning. We let our Moneyball-modeled computations lead us into a direction of buried treasure (or avoiding hidden quicksand), and then with that data we then visually scout players. What we discover, as we discover it...we will share with our clients/readers as we go. We will relay the information as if we are your private research-arm/General Manager, reporting back to you what we have found...and you can evaluate it from there. Our goal is to help all of us be one-step ahead of everyone else in football player evaluations...but also to keep it interesting and actionable.

We hope this website will be like slowly turning the page of a really interesting book, leaving an anticipation for the next page turn. As we complete the player evaluations and research, we will post it on this new website. We are also working with enhanced player search features so you won't have to skim all over looking for prior data and articles. We plan to have tons of lists, comparisons, rants, discoveries, etc. Hopefully you will enjoy the ride.

2) This will be a capitalistic endeavor. Many have written in, letting us know how much that they are enjoying the college scouting information...and how invaluable it is (thank you). We like invaluable, but we will attempt to place a value on it for 2012...we need to keep the pirate ship afloat. All of the new site details and pricing information will be released soon. We hope you will find this new website/venture valuable, and interesting.

 

Changes to the QB formula...

As Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder have stepped forward right away, and as Blaine Gabbert has stepped backwards...as our computer evaluations had foresaw...our readership and email questions have been growing. I have received a number of questions concerning the final 2011 ratings for the QB class. I would like to address that, and provide an update.

Our computer scouting equations are planned to be ever-"evolving." We use the past to learn for the future. If we see a new trend forming, or an old trend no longer holding up...we look at adjustments for the upcoming evaluation period. Our 2011 QB formulas/predictions feel pretty good to us right now, but we have gone "back to the lab" to further refine the formula...and re-test it. We have made a few slight modifications for the 2012 testing, and have also applied those back to the last decade. Some of the highlights of what we have done:

Our formula is based on modeling elite passing-QBs of today, Brady, Brees, P.Manning, etc. The formula also included Aaron Rodgers originally, but we have further studied Rodgers to see what we could learn/made him a bigger factor of the overall model...for obvious reasons. We wanted to see what result that change had, as well as a few other minor adjustments...and we are liking what we see.

When we changed the formula a bit, most players stayed exactly/pretty similar to where they had been rated before. We will release the full updated historical list on the new website in January. A few QBs made more significant moves upon applying the changes back into history, most notably -- Joe Flacco dropped off our future elite rating, and no new QB has broken onto our list. Chad Pennington and Andrew Luck (2010 season evaluation) had their ratings tumble a decent amount, but still ranked in the future elite category. Eli Manning has moved from middle-of-the-road ratings, toward knocking on the door of a future elite QB (obviously a lot of that verdict is already in)...but did not make it there quite yet.

Below is the 2011 QB class review/update. Keep in mind that because a QB is rated over another...doesn't automatically mean that the one is better than the other. Really, we are looking at -- did a player achieve over a certain score (0.850) like the other future greats? This lets us know if maybe we have another future great on our hands. The more the QBs fade from a score of 0.850 in our system...the more sure we are that they are going to bust.

 

The 2011 QB Class in Review

The modified formula applied to the 2011 QB class, here is our top-10 right now with the new formula:

1) 1.050 = Ricky Stanzi...Stanzi still stands at the top, which is highly controversial, and we'll see how this turns out. Obviously, Stanzi success would be a grand-slam for our research.

2) 1.022 = Andrew Luck...Even though he wasn't in the 2011 NFL Draft, we just had to know! Pre-2011 formula changes, Luck circa-2010 was the highest scoring QB in our system. He has dropped a bit in the adjustments...still a high-probable NFL elite score that we have on him just based on 2010. Based on the current 2011 season, well...you'll have to find out in January 2012!

3) 1.015 = Christian Ponder (circa-2009)...2009 is pre-elbow/shoulder injury. You will see Ponder's 2010 season evaluation below, with the injury issues. Again, we left it up for you to decide. As an NFL exec, I would be scared off by these serious (to a QB) injuries. However, we found it interesting how good Ponder was pre-injury. Definitely, worth noting...but not sure worth a 1st-Round NFL Draft pick for the risk...but we're not doctors.

4) 0.889 = Andy Dalton...When we first reported Dalton as a probable great, possibly future elite QB prospect in Feb 2011, it was not very "vogue." By Draft-Day 2011, it was very chic'...now it is almost a forgone conclusion that he is really good, with debate on whether he is a future great.

Those four QBs (above) contained the only elite grades of the 2011 bunch. So, actually, three with passing grades for 2011...since Luck wasn't eligible. Perhaps, only two passing grade QBs for 2011, since Ponder's score was from the 2009 season. Every QB we are about to list below, our computer model says will not be an elite NFL QB...and keep in mind, this is evaluating them as "passers." What you evaluate/value running ability as, is your call...we look at them as a passer first/only. Basing that on the theory that bad passers/good runners, find their way out of the NFL quickly. However, we might have to reconsider that stance (paging Tim Tebow)...and we have been looking at it.

5) 0.785 = Greg McElroy...wound up as a late-round pick of the Jets. Looked decent in the preseason.

6) 0.749 = Pat Devlin...the one-time 1st-2nd Round projected NFL Draft pick, fell to undrafted because of character issues. We are missing Wonderlic data on Devlin, that we assumed neutral...if that data was positive, he still would fall short. If that data is negative, he would crash out the top-10. He is one to watch, but seems a million miles away at this point.

7) 0.746 = Cam Newton...the very controversial call. Many will, and have, pointed to this as a flaw/miss for our system analysis. However, we are absolutely not convinced of Newton as a future elite passing-QB. When people hyperventilate over that statement, we would just point out...take the hysteria of the first two 400+ yard games away, take the running TDs away (we are evaluating passing skills)....in the past 8-10 games, Cam Newton is a very inefficient, average QB (statistically). Time will tell if Newton defies our projection long-term, but we aren't sold on him based on his 2011...there is more hysteria, than fact on the Newton story right now (to us).

8) 0.741 = T.J. Yates...Yates is knocking on the door of a passing/elite score, but ultimately fell short. You can see already, that Yates appears to be a competent QB...and already better than the much higher drafted Blaine Gabbert.

9) 0.694 = Christian Ponder (circa-2010)...his 2010 was injury riddled, so it's likely not fair to evaluate 2010 given 2009 was so spectacular. It's your call.

10) 0.649 = Ryan Mallett...faded in the NFL Draft, and we see some of those reasons in our formula. He looked good in spots in the preseason, but not so good in others. He is one that "looks the part,"...tall, big-arm, etc. All that really means very little in our analysis. We favor actual performance output metrics, along with the needed measureables.

Other Notables:

0.439 = Blaine Gabbert...you have to keep in mind, when we said Gabbert was a bust in Feb' 2011...there was nary a soul that agreed with that. Actually, Gabbert was a #1 overall projected pick by just about every NFL Draft analyst during Jan-March 2011 pre-Draft. We're as proud of this negative call, as the right call (at this point) on Dalton. There are two big "wins" in player evaluation...finding greatness, or avoiding a disaster.

-0.096 = Jake Locker...the jury is still out. We feel pretty confident, but we'll see. Saying Locker was a bust, was almost as heretical as saying Gabbert was in early 2011...keep that in mind before you buy the media hype here.

-0.130 = Terrelle Pryor...is there any doubt on this rating?

-0.149 = Colin Kaepernick...if you had seen any of him in the preseason, you know we are right.

 

Looking forward to 2012:

All the data is not in yet, there is still college games to be played...but things are rounding into shape. We an already see one major QB name headed for a bust rating, and one QB shocker...a QB that may draw ratings above Andrew Luck.

All things to come in 2012. We hope you will join us. More details forthcoming.

 

By R.C. Fischer
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