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With a month of 2023 season data, touchdown and interception rate regression from 2022 and a sense of quarterbacks and offenses can come into focus. Reassessing through injuries and future data is paramount, but after the opening four weeks is a starting point.
First off, my historical tracking for touchdown and interception rates (and their ratios) are a little different than most site displays online. The touchdown rate is touchdowns per completion, and the interception rate is interceptions per incompletion. The regression data is very sticky over the years, plus the TD-INT Rate Ratio (which looks at the TD Rate above divided by the INT Rate above) is a strong hierarchy of quarterback play in the NFL.
WHAT IS A GOOD TD-INT RATE RATIO?
The NFL average for qualifying quarterbacks dating back to 2005 is 1.13. Consider anything in the 1.00 to 1.15 zone 'NFL average' and generally 'good enough to hold a starting job without substantial job security risk. The "good but not great" zone ventures from 1.15 to 1.30(ish). Then up to 1.50 incorporates some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Finally, above 1.50 for their career are the cyborgs like Aaron Rodgers (ridiculous 2.56), Patrick Mahomes II (2.18), Tom Brady (1.84), and Russell Wilson (1.82) over that span. The rogue 'do not forget about me' name in that zone on a much smaller sample size is Gardner Minshew at 1.99 for his qualifying seasons. Do not be surprised if Minshew gets a future opportunity and earns more starting work due to his success (previously and going forward).
On the bad side of the metric is when a quarterback ventures below 1.00. The clock can begin ticking on their job security. Below 0.70 is highly concerning, even for rookies from a projection standpoint.
C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson are on success tracks early in their first season. Stroud has a clean interception record and an average-ish 6.4% TD rate. His expected interceptions are 3.6, but luck has been on his side. Stroud has the most difficult aSOS schedule over the next month for quarterbacks, so a significant test to confirm (or deny) his optimistic start lies ahead. As for Richardson, his fantasy difference-making as a rusher is combined with a 2.27 TD-INT Rate Ratio through his first 72 passes. 2.27 is the second-best ratio for a rookie quarterback over the past 15 years, with Dak Prescott being the gold standard at 2.74. As a point of comparison, Patrick Mahomes II has a career mark of 1.96, and Tom Brady at 1.81. Richardson is on an electric fantasy (and success track for TD-INT Rate Ratio) pace. Bryce Young has notably struggled out of the gate. His 0.54 Ratio is sandwiched between Zach Wilson and Kenny Pickett of notable current starters in the NFL. As mentioned above, 0.70 is a notable rookie threshold that has produced a drove of busts and whiffs and is rarely a success story. The good news for 1.01 drafted quarterbacks is a long leash, and rookies like Jared Goff (0.60), Matthew Stafford (0.57), and Trevor Lawrence (0.48) are on the short-success list for the long term after troubling Year 1 starts. Young is on the concerning list, but could easily be a profile buy in the offseason if Year 1 continues to be a non-startable fantasy one.
SETTING THE REGRESSION TABLE
The key numbers for TD Rate regression are those with >9.5% and <5% in the category.
2022 TD REGRESSION CANDIDATES
Brock Purdy was the 'I do not believe it' name coming out of 2022. With minimal pedigree and a Kyle Shanahan offense supporting him, Purdy has plenty of skepticism in the offseason. His 11.4% TD Rate was the highest of qualifying quarterbacks last season, and this year, he has plummeted to 6.2%, roughly the NFL average. He has avoided interceptions, which has been a welcome sight after being slightly above the NFL average (7.1%) last season.
Josh Allen had a concerning Week 1 this season but has rebounded for a quality month. His 9.7% TD Rate last year was a slight regression candidate, and he sits at 8.9% this year. Allen's career rate is 8.6%, one of the top marks among active quarterbacks.
Tua Tagovailoa, like Josh Allen, sat at 9.7% last year and has repeated his effort at 9.3% through the opening month. Tagovailoa's 1.21 overall ratio this year is good but not elite, right in the Kirk Cousins zone of the NFL.
All three listed above have regressed downward thus far in 2023.
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