Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bad Quarterback League: Awards Ceremony

It was a decent season for me in "real" fantasy football. Abandoning the Ravens defense after the tragic and simultaneous loss of Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, stomaching the up-and-down lurches of Reggie Bush, tolerating the merely mediocre consistency of Ray Rice and Jimmy Graham, and riding the surprising success of Robert Griffin III right into the playoffs, I lost the championship game but still managed a respectable second-place finish in our eight-team league.

But riding the unsurprising failure of the Kansas City Chiefs offense to a similar second-place finish in the Bad Quarterback League was almost as rewarding, not to mention much more hilarious. With the NFL's regular season finished, most of our bad quarterbacks' seasons are too, and it's high time to award the most distinguished teams by draft performance, weekly wins, and overall score.

For a recap on how we set up our BQBL league, see the introductory post; for a reminder on how scoring works, we used Grantland standard scoring.

Draft Performance

To evaluate draft performance, I developed a metric called "Draft Strength". In brief, Draft Strength measures the difference between where a team was drafted in our draft and where a team ranked by total points at the end of the season, i.e. where the team should have been drafted if we all had perfect information and complete foresight at the beginning of the season.

A positive Draft Strength means that a team was a "steal" (drafted in a late spot but scored well), while a negative Draft Strength means that a team was a "bust" (drafted early but didn't produce). A Draft Strength near zero means the team was taken near where it "should have" been. Each of the sixteen teams we drafted has its own Draft Strength, and each player has a Draft Strength that's simply a sum of their two teams' scores.

It's a useful metric because it rewards having found the "hidden talent" late in the draft that wasn't necessarily available early on. For example, a team that was picked first overall and scored the best would have a Draft Strength of 0, but a team that was picked tenth overall and scored fifth-best would have a Draft Strength of 5.

Top performers by Draft Strength were the Kansas City Chiefs (drafted 9th but scored 2nd; DS = 7), the Tennessee Titans (drafted 13th but scored 7th; DS = 6), and the Jacksonville Jaguars (drafted 7th but scored 4th; DS = 3). The highest-scoring undrafted team was the Chicago Bears (scored 5th). The worst Draft Strength went to the Washington Redskins (drafted 16th but scored 30th; DS = -14). Our top scorers by player were

1. Josh Howe, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DS = 2
2(t). Alex Harkey, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, DS = 0
2(t). Matt Pavlovich, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, DS = 0

Weekly Wins

Each week, every player's two teams' scores were added together to give a player's weekly score. Weekly Wins measures how many weeks each player had that week's highest score. While a single three-hundred point performance might have catapulted a team and a player into the season victory, the number of Weekly Wins awards consistently bad quarterback play every single game.

Top teams contributing to Weekly Wins were the Arizona Cardinals (highest score 4 weeks), the Miami Dolphins (highest score 2 weeks), and the St. Louis Rams (highest score 2 weeks). Undrafted teams that won the highest score in a week were the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Diego Chargers. Winning the most weeks in our draft were

1(t). Josh Howe, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4 weeks
1(t). Alex Harkey, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, 4 weeks
3. Matt Pavlovich, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, 3 weeks

Total Score

The grand prize in the BQBL was the Total Score, the sum of every interception, fumble, sub-100-yard passing game, and mid-game benching across the season. No averaging for consistency or correcting for draft position here, Total Score takes into account every poor decision and blown play from the entire season.

Highest-scoring individual teams were the Arizona Cardinals (666 points), the Kansas City Chiefs (551 points), and the New York Jets (516 points). The highest-scoring undrafted team was the Chicago Bears (349 points), and the lowest-scoring drafted team was the Washington Redskins (31 points). Our final standings were

1. Alex Harkey, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, 883 points
2. Matt Pavlovich, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, 773 points
3. Josh Laber, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks, 674 points

4. Josh Howe, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 664 points
5. Tom Dursch, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans, 564 points
6. Alan Berger, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals, 524 points
7. Andrew van Devender, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts, 480 points
8. Zach Baer, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, 256 points


Lots of players in our draft went with questionable young quarterbacks: of the sixteen teams selected, five (Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins) started the season playing rookie quarterbacks and four more (Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans) started with sophomores. Some of the young QBs panned out, others proved to be actually good quarterbacks. But by far the standout performers this season were the Cardinals, Chiefs, and Jets, teams plagued with both injury and quarterback controversy between middling-to-bad veterans and unknown backups.

Perhaps that observation will inform the strategy for next year; I had a lot of fun tweaking the system and running the behind-the-scenes math, almost as much fun as I did rooting for Brady Quinn to commit turnovers. Thanks to everyone for playing, and I hope to do it again!

If you're interested, take a look at our final scorecard, and check back tomorrow for an analysis and breakdown of the scoring system.