It is no secret that having an elite quarterback is the easiest formula for success in the National Football League. In the modern, fantasy-driven era of where 4,000 yards and 40 touchdown passes is becoming the norm, it has become increasingly hard to win with a defense-first philosophy. Quarterbacks lead teams to championships by not only compiling statistics, but doing so in an efficient and effective manner.
Nowhere else is this more evident than in Denver, where Sheriff Peyton Manning had the greatest statistical season in NFL history last year, setting all-time records for Passing Yards (5,477) and passing TD’s (55). He also led the league in Completions and Attempts, was 2nd in Passer Rating, and was 3rd in Completion Percentage and Yards per Attempt (Y/PA).
What is more important than compiling fantasy stats over a 16 game season, however, is out-performing the quarterback you are facing week in and week out. According to our friends over at Cold, Hard, Football Facts, and their ground-breaking “Correlation of Victory” metrics, the rate at which teams win if their quarterback has a higher Passer Rating than the opponent is astounding. In 2012, teams that won the head-to-head Passer Rating battle won 82% of their games (209-46). It dipped slightly last season to 80.4% (205-50), or just a difference of four games. I wouldn’t give myself 80% odds to wake up the next morning of any given day.
Another important passing statistic to analyze is not total yards, but rather Yards per Attempt (Y/PA). We get a much clearer understanding of efficiency when we look at Y/PA rather than total yards. Anybody can throw for big yardage when they drop back 60 times a game (paging Matthew Stafford!) but that rarely determines the outcome of the game. Teams do tend to throw more when they are losing, which skews statistics.
Y/PA doesn’t have quite as strong of a “Correlation of Victory” as Passer Rating, atroughly 70% over the past two seasons (again statistical credit to CHFF), but is still a very good indicator of efficient quarterback play.
We are going to rank all 13 of the quarterbacks the Denver Broncos face in 2014 using the pass efficiency statistics mentioned above over the last two seasons (since PFM arrived in Denver). We will also factor in wins, because when it comes down to it, what else matters? We will also look at Peyton’s numbers at the end so you can decide for yourself how the projected opposing quarterbacks stack up.