Regression

A word of caution to preseason prognosticators and fantasy players everywhere:  QBs don’t always move forward.

It has come to my attention that a lot of people are expecting huge years out of many QBs based on what they did last year.  Lots of people look at a player like Phil Rivers (4009 yards, 34 TDs) or Aaron Rodgers (4038 Yards, 28 TDs) and predict huge 4,000 yard, 30 TD seasons for them.

In fact, 4,000 yard, 30 TD seasons are apparently being tossed out like candy now.  Check out this preseason prediction for Peyton Manning:

Peyton Manning, QB

Make no mistake, Manning isn’t the same guy he was five years ago. Last season’s under-the-radar offseason knee surgery caused him to start slow against a tough schedule, his offensive line wasn’t as spry as it once was and the Colts struggled to get consistency out of their running game. Yet in what looked like it might be a “down season,” Manning won the NFL’s MVP award. He’s probably not going to toss more than 35 touchdowns in ’09, but he’s also not throwing for fewer than 25, and he’ll surely get you 4,000 yards and won’t hurt you with many negative plays. Even if the elite upside is gone because of personnel, age and circumstance, Manning is worth drafting because he’s phenomenally sound and clutch.

2009 Projection: 4,153 pass yds, 31 TD, 13 INT

Manning’s “elite upside is gone”, people.  You can only expect 4,153 yards and 31 TDs.
It got me thinking, just how difficult is it to post a 4,000 yard, 30 TD season?  Will the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Phil Rivers be doing it with regularity?
The answer, probably not.
In the last 10 years, there have only been 15 such seasons by a QB.  Guys like Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees?  They’ve each done it just once.  The only guys in the last 10 years to show up more than once?  Peyton Manning with 4 and Kurt Warner with 3 make up nearly half of the 4,000/30 seasons.
Going back 20 years, we still only have 23 such seasons.  Oddly enough, you see such luminaries as Vinnie Testaverde, Scott Mitchell, Steve Beuerlein, and Dante Culpepper on the list.
In the last 30 years, only 30 men have accomplished it. Only 6 have done it more than once.  (Moon, Favre, Marino, Manning, Warner, Fouts).
So when you see lofty projections for Rivers, Rodgers, or any other QB, bear in mind that 4,000/30 is rarified air and is not easily attained.

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