The Truth (Can you handle it?)

Last season's QBs adjusted for strength of schedule

By Jefferson Johnson    

If you've seen my QB rankings and projections, you might think I have a screw loose. Andrew Luck deep into the teens and Colin Kaepernick at No. 1? To rank those guys in those spots, to go against the fantasy expert community, it takes onions the size of... Well, it takes onions the size of onions. (I’m not really talking about onions.)

In fantasy football, it's “go big or go home. Second place is the first loser. Second place sucks.” If you want to win championships, you've got to buck the trend, and when you think you know something that no one else knows, fantasy football expert community be damned, you've got to capitalize.

To the right of this text is the biggest secret in fantasy football. It's a completely original chart that contains completely original data. You won't find it anywhere else, and it's critically important.

The chart to the right contains last year's average points per game for quarterbacks, ADJUSTED FOR STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE. This chart tells the true story of how a quarterback played last season, and it's the driving force behind most of my rankings.

Notice that Colin Kaepernick is No. 1. And if you would, I'd also ask you to notice the wide margin by which he is No. 1. And if you will, please also notice his average yards per pass (a measure many people believe is the most important measure of real quarterback play). Kaepernick averaged 8.8 yards per pass attempt in those final 10 games. That is a humongous number. In fact, the difference between Kaepernick and the second-rated guy in yards per pass attempt is the same difference between the second rated guy and the 11th rated guy! In other words, Kaepernick was the No. 1 quarterback, not only in fantasy scoring (adjusted for strength of schedule), but he was also No. 1 in real-world football metrics such as yards per pass attempt, and he was the first in both by a mile.

On the flip side, look at what happens to Andrew Luck if you subtract the fact that he played one of the easiest schedules in the league: He falls all the way to the No. 14th rated QB. Further, if you look at only his last eight regular season games and his playoff game (nine games total), his PPG adjusted for SOS falls to -.74, or the equivalent of the 17th rated QB, just barely above Sam Bradford and Alex Smith. (And that's with the 5th most passing attempts in the NFL and five rushing touchdowns, two numbers that are unlikely to repeat themselves, Read why here.)

Other Notes

• Sam Bradford played the second toughest schedule in the league on an injury-riddled team. He might be primed to rebound.

• Tom Brady played the third toughest schedule in the league, and he still managed to be elite. Read why losing his TEs shouldn't be a problem.

• Russell Wilson played very well as a rookie against the fourth toughest schedule in the league. Further, if you just look at his last 10 regular season games and his two playoff games (12 games total), he had a +6.07 PPG adjusted for SOS, which would be 4th best in the league. Don't sleep on Russell.

• Don't look for Josh Freeman to bounce back any time soon. There's a reason the Bucs drafted a QB early, and now we know what it is: Freeman put up sub-par numbers against the weakest schedule in football.

• Red Flag: Cam Newton played the second easiest schedule in 2012.

• Red Flag: Matt Ryan played the third easiest schedule in 2012.

ENJOY YOUR AUCTION, and enjoy the trophy you win as a result of the chart on the right.

(*Note: Kaep only had seven regular season starts, so I added in his three playoff games to have a bigger sample size. There's no credible reason I can think of NOT to add in the playoff games; they're real games against premium competition with a lot at stake. What could possibly give a better indication of future performance than that? There are those that would eliminate Kaep's monster game against Green Bay, calling it an "outlier." However, it makes no sense (as in zero), to eliminate one guy's best game, but NOT eliminate anyone else's best game, and then call it a fair comparison. Even if you adjust the monster game against the Packers down to match Kaep's other highest point total, he would have finished in the Top 5, but I prefer NOT to cherry pick numbers.)

Check out our QB projections here.