Running Away With a QB1

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Nick Wass - Associated Press

As a fantasy player, I’ve often found myself streaming the Quarterback position. I don’t mind that technique, and I’ve had success doing it. What’s even better is finding fantasy gold at the QB position, especially in late rounds. With fantasy scoring the way it is, mobile Quarterbacks are finding there way into the top-12 conversation at the position far more often! We all saw what Lamar Jackson did in 2019, but a Quarterback doesn’t have to rush for 1,200 yards to be a top-12 QB. At what point does a rushing Quarterback do enough with his legs, that it can outweigh mediocre passing capabilities? Let’s do some digging!

Setting the Threshold for a Top-12 QB

Over the last few years, NFL offenses have grown in ways nobody expected. Fantasy football Quarterbacks have developed with these offenses, and Quarterbacks now must do more to crack into the top-12 at the position.

On average, over the last six years, a Quarterback must score around 270 fantasy points in 4pt passing touchdown leagues to finish in the top-12. This is the threshold I’m using for a Quarterback to be a top-12 QB.

The Data

To keep things simple, I looked at all QBs from 2000 to 2019. I analyzed the number of rushing yards a QB had, and how many fantasy points the QB had in that season. I then calculated the percentage of QBs that had greater than 270 fantasy points at various rushing totals. Here’s a straightforward view of the data. While it’s a simple graph, I believe it truly shows the information we’re searching for.

You’ll notice I added an extra data point at 470 rushing yards. 470 rushing yards represents the threshold where 2 out of every 3 QBs will finish with 270+ fantasy points. If you can find a Quarterback that’s going to rush for 470 yards, there’s an excellent chance he’ll end the season as a top-12 fantasy QB!

Who’s it Going to be?

In 2019, only 3 Quarterbacks paced for 470+ rushing yards over a 16-game pace - Lamar Jackson (QB1), Josh Allen (QB6), and Kyler Murray (QB7). All 3 of these Quarterbacks have a high chance of reaching 470 rushing yards in 2020 as well! Two Quarterbacks were close to the threshold – Deshaun Watson (441-yard pace) and Gardner Minshew (440-yard pace). Both Quarterbacks could reach 470 rushing yards in 2020, and most people would not be too surprised.

The 2020 rookie Quarterbacks do not have a lot of rushing upside, but Joe Burrow reaching 400+ rushing yards is a possibility. He accumulated 368 ground yards in 15 games his senior year, and his mobility is a bit underrated.

Most of these rushing Quarterbacks are being drafted in the first 8 rounds, while Burrow and Minshew are going in the 12th and 15th rounds. I’m walking out of my research far more interested in Gardner Minshew. I’ve moved Minshew 3 spots up my board, to QB19 overall in 2020. If he uses his legs, he could run away with a top-12 QB finish!