Loading scores...
Going Deep

2019 Expected Passing TDs

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: May 14, 2020, 4:53 pm ET
PaTDRate

Breaking news: The closer a quarterback is to the end zone, the higher his touchdown rate is. Very shocking, I know. But a lot of the regression analysis I see with quarterbacks doesn’t account for field position, air yards, or anything else that matters with projecting passing touchdowns. That’s where this model comes into play and gives us a little better sense of who is actually due for positive or negative touchdown regression in 2020. Let’s dive in:

 

2019 Passing TDs Over Expected

These quarterbacks threw for more touchdowns than expected, which means they are 1) truly elite talents, or 2) negative regression candidates for the 2020 season.

Players

PaTDs

Expected

+/-

Lamar Jackson

36

24.9

+11.1

Drew Brees

27

17.8

+9.2

Ryan Tannehill

22

13.8

+8.2

Kirk Cousins

26

20.1

+5.9

Dak Prescott

30

25.3

+4.7

Jimmy Garoppolo

27

22.4

+4.6

Daniel Jones

24

20.1

+3.9

 

Lamar Jackson is one of the most likely quarterbacks to negatively regress in 2020. His passing touchdown percentage (9.0%) was the highest in the NFL, with the next closest quarterback at 7.7%. But Lamar is still in a good spot to be among the league leaders in passing touchdowns and passing touchdown percentage in 2020, although those numbers will likely be closer to 28 and 6.5%. The two reasons for relative optimism with Lamar as a passer are 1) he can make up for negative efficiency regression with more pass attempts, and 2) because 26 of his 36 passing touchdowns last year came inside the red zone, touchdowns that are more stable than the volatile long-distance scores. Overall, I’d set his over/under for passing touchdowns at 28.5 if I knew he was playing 16 games.

Drew Brees tossed a touchdown on 7.2% of his pass attempts in the regular season last year, the third-best rate in the NFL and the best of his Hall of Fame career. While we can expect Brees to outpace my model because he and his supporting cast are well above average talents, we can’t expect Brees to sustain this touchdown pace in 2020. Brees is more likely to average closer to 2.1 touchdowns per game instead of the 2.45 per-game rate he was at in 2019. Even with the negative regression accounted for, Brees should be near the top-five in passing touchdowns per game this upcoming season.

Ryan Tannehill played out of his damn mind in 2019, not only compared to his career averages but also compared to the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He was second in passing touchdown rate (7.7%), but my model only expected him to score on 4.8% of his attempts, the 15th best projection in the NFL. The reason for the unsustainable touchdown rate: random long touchdowns and red-zone passing. Tannehill had six touchdowns of 35+ yards despite playing half the season on a run-heavy team and somehow had a 36% touchdown rate in the red zone, the second best rate in the NFL. When those regress towards league averages, Tannehill should be closer to 1.5 passing touchdowns per game. He averaged 2.2 last year.

Statistically, Kirk Cousins was already due for negative touchdown regression, and then the Vikings traded Stefon Diggs, the most efficient deep-target receiver in the NFL. Yeah, Cousins’ career-high 5.9% touchdown rate isn’t repeating in 2020.

 

2019 Passing TDs Under Expected

These quarterbacks threw for fewer touchdowns than expected, which means they are 1) dusty, or 2) positive regression candidates for the 2020 season… Translation: “Tom Brady threw 6.0 fewer touchdowns than expected in 2019.”... Minimum 100 pass attempts to qualify.

Players

PaTDs

Expected

+/-

Andy Dalton

16

25.7

-9.7

Tom Brady

24

32.0

-8.0

Kyle Allen

17

23.5

-6.5

Philip Rivers

23

29.2

-6.2

Mitch Trubisky

17

22.9

-5.9

Baker Mayfield

22

26.8

-4.8

Ryan Fitzpatrick

19

23.5

-4.5

Jared Goff

22

26.4

-4.4

Aaron Rodgers

26

30.3

-4.3

Joe Flacco

6

10.2

-4.2

 

Andy Dalton being first on this list matters because the Bengals’ pass-catchers can expect to bounce back in the touchdown department a bit in 2020, even with a rookie starting without a normal offseason. Joe Mixon particularly stands to benefit with all of the positive regression coming to Cincy this season.

The same thing can be said about Kyle Allen and the Panthers’ pass-catchers. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t an exciting passer, but he’s certainly better than Allen, especially with OC Joe Brady designing the offense. D.J. Moore should score more than four receiving touchdowns in 2020, even with Robby Anderson involved.

Tom Brady was an average quarterback in 2019, but his supporting cast is infinitely better this year. In fact, Jameis Winston led all quarterbacks in my expected passing touchdowns model (see full rankings below) because of Bruce Arians’ vertical offense and the stud Tampa receivers. If Brady adjusts his playing style to take all of the deep shots that Jameis was taking last season, Brady should be near the top-five in passing touchdowns in 2020.

Baker Mayfield was bad in 2019. It’s that simple, but there are reasons for optimism in 2020. The offensive line added two quality tackles, Freddie Kitchens is no longer the head coach, and Odell Beckham should be more explosive post-hernia surgery. Pairing all of these things with the statistical positive regression makes Baker a no-brainer bounce-back candidate this season. He's a fine QB2 in fantasy drafts and is a sneaky bet to finish inside the top-10 in passing touchdowns.

With Aaron Rodgers aging and having zero supporting cast beyond Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, there’s no reason to believe the former MVP will post anything but semi-average numbers in 2020, especially if Green Bay plans on running more this season. Rodgers is due for some positive touchdown regression, however, so he will still probably finish between 6th and 12th in passing touchdowns despite everything around him collapsing.

 

2019 Expected Passing TDs

Minimum 100 pass attempts to qualify.

Rank

Players

PaTDs

Expected

+/-

1

Jameis Winston

33

33.9

-0.9

2

Russell Wilson

31

33.1

-2.1

3

Tom Brady

24

32.0

-8.0

4

Aaron Rodgers

26

30.3

-4.3

5

Philip Rivers

23

29.2

-6.2

6

Matt Ryan

26

28.1

-2.1

7

Carson Wentz

27

27.5

-0.5

8

Baker Mayfield

22

26.8

-4.8

9

Jared Goff

22

26.4

-4.4

10

Andy Dalton

16

25.7

-9.7

11

Dak Prescott

30

25.3

+4.7

12

Deshaun Watson

25

25.2

-0.2

13

Lamar Jackson

36

24.9

+11.1

14

Derek Carr

21

23.9

-2.9

15

Patrick Mahomes

26

23.6

+2.4

16

Kyle Allen

17

23.5

-6.5

17

Ryan Fitzpatrick

19

23.5

-4.5

18

Kyler Murray

20

23.3

-3.3

19

Mitchell Trubisky

17

22.9

-5.9

20

Josh Allen

20

22.6

-2.6

21

Jimmy Garoppolo

27

22.4

+4.6

22

Gardner Minshew

21

22.1

-1.1

23

Daniel Jones

24

20.1

+3.9

24

Kirk Cousins

26

20.1

+5.9

25

Jacoby Brissett

18

20.0

-2.0

26

Sam Darnold

19

19.6

-0.6

27

Drew Brees

27

17.8

+9.2

28

Matthew Stafford

19

17.2

+1.8

29

Ryan Tannehill

22

13.8

+8.2

30

Case Keenum

11

11.5

-0.5

31

Mason Rudolph

13

10.7

+2.3

32

Joe Flacco

6

10.2

-4.2

33

Dwayne Haskins

7

9.4

-2.4

34

Teddy Bridgewater

9

8.9

+0.1

35

Drew Lock

7

7.6

-0.6

36

David Blough

4

6.5

-2.5

37

Duck Hodges

5

5.7

-0.7

38

Eli Manning

6

5.1

+0.9

39

Marcus Mariota

7

4.6

+2.4

40

Jeff Driskel

4

4.2

-0.2

41

Josh Rosen

1

4.0

-3.0

42

Nick Foles

3

3.4

-0.4

 

2019 Expected Passing TD Percentage

Minimum 100 pass attempts to qualify.

Rank

Players

PaTD %

Expected

+/-

1

Russell Wilson

6.0%

6.4%

-0.4%

2

Lamar Jackson

9.0%

6.2%

+2.8%

3

Matthew Stafford

6.6%

6.0%

+0.6%

4

Jameis Winston

5.3%

5.4%

-0.1%

5

Aaron Rodgers

4.6%

5.3%

-0.7%

6

Tom Brady

3.9%

5.2%

-1.3%

7

Deshaun Watson

5.1%

5.1%

0.0%

8

Philip Rivers

3.9%

5.0%

-1.1%

9

Baker Mayfield

4.1%

5.0%

-0.9%

10

Andy Dalton

3.0%

4.9%

-1.9%

11

Patrick Mahomes

5.4%

4.9%

+0.5%

12

Josh Allen

4.3%

4.9%

-0.6%

13

Drew Lock

4.5%

4.9%

-0.4%

14

Kyle Allen

3.5%

4.8%

-1.3%

15

Ryan Tannehill

7.7%

4.8%

+2.9%

16

Derek Carr

4.1%

4.7%

-0.6%

17

Ryan Fitzpatrick

3.8%

4.7%

-0.9%

18

Jimmy Garoppolo

5.7%

4.7%

+1.0%

19

Gardner Minshew

4.5%

4.7%

-0.2%

20

Drew Brees

7.2%

4.7%

+2.5%

21

Case Keenum

4.5%

4.7%

-0.2%

22

Dwayne Haskins

3.5%

4.7%

-1.2%

23

Matt Ryan

4.2%

4.6%

-0.4%

24

Kirk Cousins

5.9%

4.6%

+1.3%

25

Carson Wentz

4.5%

4.5%

0.0%

26

Mitchell Trubisky

3.3%

4.5%

-1.2%

27

Jacoby Brissett

4.0%

4.5%

-0.5%

28

Sam Darnold

4.3%

4.5%

-0.2%

29

Teddy Bridgewater

4.6%

4.5%

+0.1%

30

Daniel Jones

5.3%

4.4%

+0.9%

31

Dak Prescott

5.1%

4.3%

+0.8%

32

Kyler Murray

3.7%

4.3%

-0.6%

33

Jared Goff

3.5%

4.2%

-0.7%

34

Jeff Driskel

3.8%

4.0%

-0.2%

35

Joe Flacco

2.3%

3.9%

-1.6%

36

Mason Rudolph

4.6%

3.8%

+0.8%

37

David Blough

2.3%

3.7%

-1.4%

38

Josh Rosen

0.9%

3.7%

-2.8%

39

Duck Hodges

3.1%

3.6%

-0.5%

40

Eli Manning

4.1%

3.5%

+0.6%

41

Marcus Mariota

4.4%

2.9%

+1.5%

42

Nick Foles

2.6%

2.9%

-0.3%

 

Because this model is largely based on field position, Patrick Mahomes’ projection is going to be far lower than what it should be -- it has him 11th in expected touchdown rate. Mahomes’ arm talent and ability to throw outside of structure paired with the speed of his receivers make him a great bet to lead the NFL in deep touchdowns year after year, something my model bets against. But I’m more than comfortable fading my model with Mahomes because I have eyeballs and understand why Mahomes isn’t like every other quarterback in the league right now, and because of that he has the highest touchdown rate in my personal 2020 projections, followed by Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees

 

PaTD Regression

 

 

Fantasy Football Content

1. 2019 Yards Per Carry Plus/Minus Rankings

2. 2019 Rushing Efficiency Rankings

3. 2019 Receiving Efficiency Rankings

4. 2019 Expected Rushing TD Rankings

5. 2019 Expected Receiving TD Rankings

6. 2019 Big-Play Rushing Rankings

7. 2019 Expected Yards After The Catch Rankings

8. 2019 Deep Target Efficiency Rankings

9. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WR)

10. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TE)

11. Reviewing Late-Season Production - QBs & TEs

12. Reviewing Late-Season Production - RBs & WRs

13. NFL Depth Charts - QB, RB, WR, TE

14. Free Agency Winners and Losers

15. Stop Running It Up The Middle