Which QBs were the most productive in 2010?

Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 15 of the NFL in East Rutherford, New Jersey on December 19, 2010. The Eagles defeated the Giants 38-31. UPI /John Angelillo

Other positions: QB | RB | WR | TE | DT

Most fantasy owners focus on total points scored when trying to determine how a certain player performed in any given year. But that total doesn’t always tell the whole story. There are two big factors — strength of schedule and points per game — that should be taken into account when attempting to judge a player, especially when a fantasy owner is putting together his rankings.

If a QB had an unusually easy schedule in 2010, and his schedule in 2011 is much tougher, we can expect that his numbers are going to take a hit. The opposite is true if a QB projects to have a much easier schedule.

Likewise, if a player has great per game numbers, but spent a good portion of the year sidelined with one injury or another (think Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo or Michael Vick) then total fantasy points isn’t a good indicator of what that player might be capable of in 2011.

Below is a list of the Top 40 QBs in terms of adjusted fantasy points per game, which is calculated by dividing the player’s total points by the number of games he played and then adjusting the result by the average schedule bias for his team. The bias for the aforementioned Vick, Romo and Stafford will be off, since the average takes into account all 16 games, and they only appeared in 12, six and three games, respectively. Still, it gives us a pretty good idea how these players rank amongst their peers given their abbreviated seasons.

Let’s take a look…

Name PPG SOS Adj Adj PPG
Michael Vick 29.2 0.25 29.0
Aaron Rodgers 23.8 -0.07 23.8
Tom Brady 21.5 -1.20 22.7
Ben Roethlisberger 21.1 -0.47 21.5
Drew Brees 21.3 -0.07 21.4
Peyton Manning 22.0 0.89 21.1
Philip Rivers 21.7 1.08 20.7
Tony Romo 20.2 -0.13 20.3
Ryan Fitzpatrick 19.5 -0.55 20.1
Kyle Orton 20.3 0.21 20.1
Matthew Stafford 19.0 -0.65 19.6
Matt Ryan 18.8 -0.48 19.3
Jon Kitna 19.1 -0.13 19.2
Josh Freeman 18.9 -0.14 19.1
Matt Schaub 19.1 0.09 19.0
David Garrard 19.4 0.55 18.9
Eli Manning 19.1 0.36 18.8
Shaun Hill 18.1 -0.65 18.7
Carson Palmer 18.0 -0.71 18.7
Jay Cutler 17.9 -0.15 18.1
Joe Flacco 17.8 -0.08 17.9
Todd Bouman 17.9 0.55 17.4
Matt Cassel 18.0 0.72 17.2
Donovan McNabb 17.3 0.10 17.2
Rex Grossman 17.2 0.10 17.1
Alex Smith 15.5 -0.67 16.2
Mark Sanchez 15.5 -0.16 15.7
Troy Smith 15.5 0.24 15.2
Kerry Collins 15.5 0.60 14.9
Colt McCoy 14.2 -0.67 14.8
Matt Hasselbeck 14.6 -0.03 14.7
Sam Bradford 15.3 0.64 14.7
Chad Henne 14.1 -0.46 14.5
Jason Campbell 14.7 0.38 14.4
Kevin Kolb 12.5 0.25 12.2
Drew Stanton 11.6 -0.65 12.2
Brett Favre 11.6 -0.52 12.2
Vince Young 12.5 0.60 11.9
Tim Tebow 12.0 0.21 11.8
Bruce Gradkowski 11.7 0.38 11.3

A few things jump out:

— Vick was far and away the most productive QB on a per game basis, but given the number of hits he takes when he scrambles, there is considerable injury risk when drafting him.

— Ben Roethlisberger was quietly very productive and should be an excellent pick in the 6th or 7th round after Vick, Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Peyton and Rivers are already off the board. There’s a good chance that Romo will go ahead of him as well.

— If he can hold onto the starting job, Ryan Fitzpatrick should be a steal in the later rounds. He was quite productive on a per game basis and did it against a pretty tough schedule.

— Matthew Stafford only appeared in three games, but was clearly a starter-caliber fantasy QB when he did play. If fantasy owners can get 14-16 games out of Stafford (a big if, for sure) then he has a great chance to finish in the Top 10.

— David Garrard was very solid on a per game basis and should be a good backup or third QB as part of a QBBC, providing that the Jaguars don’t decide to draft a NFL-ready signal caller in April’s draft.

— Sam Bradford had a fine rookie year, but it was boosted by the third-easiest schedule in the league. He should progress in 2011, but keep an eye on his SOS for this year, because if it’s not comparable, a tougher schedule might offset any improvement he makes in his sophomore season.

— Tim Tebow’s numbers are a little misleading since he only started three games but appeared in nine as the Broncos’ goal-line QB. He averaged 27.8 points in his three starts, so if John Fox hands him the keys, he could really surprise in 2011.

Each team’s opponents for 2011 have been released, but we don’t yet know the full schedule, or even how long the season will be. Once the schedule has been finalized, I’ll release Strength of Schedule for each team, which should allow us to refine these numbers further.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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