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Dak Prescott
AP
Going Deep

2019 Expected Passing YPA

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: May 14, 2020, 4:36 am ET

YPA

Targets aren’t created equal (read this after you’re done with this column) and neither are pass attempts. In addition to pure talent, where a quarterback throws the ball -- distance down the field and distance to the sideline -- determines efficiency. Attempts downfield are far better for yards per attempt than checkdowns, and attempts to the middle of the field (red line) are better than ones near the sideline (blue line). Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) models are really good for predicting future performance, so I decided to create a Yards Per Attempt Plus/Minus model that accounts for where passes are thrown. Here are the results:

 

YPA Over Expected

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

Quarterback

YPA

Expected

+/-

Ryan Tannehill

9.7

7.7

2.0

Jimmy Garoppolo

8.4

7.0

1.4

Drew Brees

8.0

6.9

1.1

Kirk Cousins

8.1

7.1

1.0

Matthew Stafford

8.8

7.8

1.0

Derek Carr

7.9

6.9

1.0

Patrick Mahomes

8.3

7.5

0.8

Dak Prescott

8.3

7.5

0.7

 

Ryan Tannehill was insanely good last season, but a lot of it was unsustainable. A.J. Brown led all receivers in yards after the catch over expected (that’s unsustainable), and Tannehill himself had the second best red zone passing percentage (that’s also unsustainable). Negative regression is certainly coming in both yards and touchdown categories, but Tannehill has earned some credit. I think he’s at least an average starter moving forward. I’d just certainly bet against fantasy QB1 numbers again.

Jimmy Garoppolo being second in yards per attempt over expected was the biggest surprise to me. In my opinion, he’s an average to below-average quarterback, but this metric goes to show how important scheme and surrounding talent can be. I’m betting on slight negative regression for Garoppolo just because it’s nearly impossible to be 1.4 yards better than expected on average in back-to-back seasons. Garoppolo’s YPA in my 2020 projections is set at 7.8.

Drew Brees is the quarterback outlier in terms of being successful despite having a low average depth of target -- Ian Hartitz wrote about that dynamic here. His accuracy is pin-point, and he has Thomas and Kamara to slice ‘n dice underneath. Still, we should expect some slight negative regression with Brees’ yards per attempt numbers in 2020. He’ll be 41 years old, and we can’t just assume Thomas plays at record-breaking levels forever.

Kirk Cousins is an obvious negative regression candidate in all efficiency categories following the departure of Stefon Diggs, one of the most efficient receivers regardless of receiving metric. I’m projecting him for 7.4 yards per target in 2020 after averaging 8.1 yards last season.

Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr both had underrated 2019 seasons, and they did it in completely different ways. Stafford remains a total gunslinger and has the weapons to fire off shots, and Carr continues to play with his foot off the gas in Gruden’s offense. Both quarterbacks are solid bets to stay quite efficient, but I’d be way more willing to bet on Stafford remaining inside the top-10 in this YPA Plus/Minus stat in 2020.

Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott are good at the game. What else is there to say?

 

YPA Under Expected

These quarterbacks threw for fewer yards per attempt than expected, which means they are 1) dusty, or 2) positive regression candidates for the 2020 season.

Quarterback

YPA

Expected

+/-

Josh Rosen

5.3

7.4

-2.1

David Blough

5.7

7.4

-1.7

Mitchell Trubisky

6.1

7.4

-1.3

Nick Foles

6.3

7.3

-1.0

Mason Rudolph

6.2

7.2

-0.9

Dwayne Haskins

6.8

7.6

-0.8

Josh Allen

6.8

7.5

-0.8

Jeff Driskel

6.7

7.5

-0.8

Daniel Jones

6.6

7.3

-0.7

 

It’s going to be another long year for coach Nagy. The Bears have the third- and fourth-worst quarterbacks of 2019 according to this YPA Plus/Minus model and have two of the worst running backs per my Yards Per Carry Plus/Minus model. At least they have fantasy WR1 Allen Robinson to work with.

Josh Allen is a bad passer by any measure or unbiased eye, and it seems that the Bills’ front office knows it. They’ve surrounded him with an average to above-average offensive line and one of the best three-receiver sets in the NFL. I still question Allen’s future as a passer even with the strong supporting cast, but he should at least crack 7.0 yards per attempt in 2020 after settling in at 6.8 last season.

 

RookieCPOE

Dwayne Haskins was a below-average passer to all depths of the field in 2019, even when compared to the other rookie quarterbacks. With little to no offensive upgrades in Washington this offseason, Haskins will have to take things upon himself to improve his efficiency in 2020. I think we can predict small improvements in his second year, but he’ll still likely finish in the bottom half of the league in all categories.

Daniel Jones has his issues -- turnovers, awareness, arm strength -- but he has a fantastic supporting cast that should mask some of his flaws in 2020. I’m not bullish on Jones as anything more than a below-average NFL starter long-term, but I’m confident that he’ll have better pass efficiency numbers in his second season. I won’t be surprised if he’s in the 6.9-7.3 YPA range now that he has two starting-caliber tackles.

 

YPA Plus/Minus Rankings

Rank is in parenthesis... Minimum 100 passes to qualify.

Passer

YPA

Expected

+/-

Ryan Tannehill

9.7 (1)

7.7 (3)

2.0 (1)

Jimmy Garoppolo

8.4 (3)

7.0 (36)

1.4 (2)

Drew Brees

8.0 (9)

6.9 (39)

1.1 (3)

Kirk Cousins

8.1 (7)

7.1 (32)

1.0 (4)

Matthew Stafford

8.8 (2)

7.8 (2)

1.0 (5)

Derek Carr

7.9 (10)

6.9 (38)

1.0 (6)

Patrick Mahomes

8.3 (4)

7.5 (11)

0.8 (7)

Dak Prescott

8.3 (5)

7.5 (9)

0.7 (8)

Russell Wilson

8.0 (8)

7.6 (5)

0.4 (9)

Philip Rivers

7.9 (11)

7.4 (12)

0.4 (10)

Deshaun Watson

7.8 (12)

7.4 (13)

0.4 (11)

Marcus Mariota

7.5 (14)

7.2 (27)

0.3 (12)

Jameis Winston

8.2 (6)

7.9 (1)

0.3 (13)

Teddy Bridgewater

7.1 (18)

6.8 (42)

0.3 (14)

Lamar Jackson

7.8 (13)

7.6 (4)

0.2 (15)

Jared Goff

7.4 (15)

7.2 (26)

0.2 (16)

Joe Flacco

7.0 (21)

7.0 (37)

0.1 (17)

Matt Ryan

7.3 (16)

7.3 (22)

0.0 (18)

Gardner Minshew

7.0 (22)

7.0 (34)

-0.1 (19)

Baker Mayfield

7.2 (17)

7.3 (19)

-0.1 (20)

Case Keenum

7.0 (23)

7.1 (31)

-0.1 (21)

Kyler Murray

6.9 (26)

7.1 (33)

-0.2 (22)

Duck Hodges

6.6 (35)

6.8 (41)

-0.2 (23)

Kyle Allen

6.8 (27)

7.1 (30)

-0.3 (24)

Drew Lock

6.5 (37)

6.9 (40)

-0.3 (25)

Eli Manning

6.9 (24)

7.3 (23)

-0.3 (26)

Aaron Rodgers

7.1 (19)

7.4 (14)

-0.4 (27)

Tom Brady

6.6 (33)

7.0 (35)

-0.4 (28)

Sam Darnold

6.9 (25)

7.4 (15)

-0.5 (29)

Jacoby Brissett

6.6 (34)

7.2 (29)

-0.6 (30)

Ryan Fitzpatrick

7.0 (20)

7.6 (6)

-0.6 (31)

Carson Wentz

6.6 (32)

7.2 (25)

-0.6 (32)

Andy Dalton

6.7 (30)

7.3 (21)

-0.6 (33)

Daniel Jones

6.6 (36)

7.3 (24)

-0.7 (34)

Jeff Driskel

6.7 (31)

7.5 (10)

-0.8 (35)

Josh Allen

6.8 (29)

7.5 (8)

-0.8 (36)

Dwayne Haskins

6.8 (28)

7.6 (7)

-0.8 (37)

Mason Rudolph

6.2 (39)

7.2 (28)

-0.9 (38)

Nick Foles

6.3 (38)

7.3 (20)

-1.0 (39)

Mitchell Trubisky

6.1 (40)

7.4 (17)

-1.3 (40)

David Blough

5.7 (41)

7.4 (16)

-1.7 (41)

Josh Rosen

5.3 (42)

7.4 (18)

-2.1 (42)

 

Fantasy Football Content

1. 2019 Yards Per Carry Plus/Minus Rankings

2. 2019 Rushing Efficiency Rankings

3. 2019 Receiving Efficiency Rankings

4. 2019 Expected Passing TD Rankings

5. 2019 Expected Rushing TD Rankings

6. 2019 Expected Receiving TD Rankings

7. 2019 Big-Play Rushing Rankings

8. 2019 Expected Yards After The Catch Rankings

9. 2019 Deep Target Efficiency Rankings

10. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WR)

11. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TE)

12. Reviewing Late-Season Production - QBs & TEs

13. Reviewing Late-Season Production - RBs & WRs

14. NFL Depth Charts - QB, RB, WR, TE

15. Free Agency Winners and Losers

16. Stop Running It Up The Middle

17. Run From Shotgun, Not Under Center