QB Production Vs. WR Production
By Jeff Haseley
May 27th, 2010

What is the correlation between a quarterback and his wide receivers? How good of a measuring stick of a wide receiver's worth is the effectiveness of his QB? Which WRs heading into the 2010 season have more of a chance to produce due to the QB he has throwing to him? Which ones might see less production? I took some time to look at the success of WRs on teams with a Top 10 fantasy QB over the last five years and this is what I found.

The below information is from the last five years and is based on the standard Footballguys scoring system:

  • QB: 1 point per 20 yards passing, 4 points per TD pass, 6 points per TD (rushing, receiving)
  • RB/WRTE/: 1 point per 10 yards rushing/receiving. 6 points per TD
  • Non PPR

Let's first take a look at the QBs who qualify

Twenty-two different teams in the last five years have had a QB with a Top 10 fantasy ranking. Thirteen of the 22 teams have had a QB accomplish the feat more than once.

Times ranked in the Top 10 in the last five years

  • 5 - IND, NE
  • 4 - GB, NO, SD, DAL
  • 3 - CIN
  • 2 - PIT, NYG, ARI, DEN, PHI, SEA
  • 1 - MIN, HOU, MIA, CLE, STL, ATL, DET, KC, OAK

The 10 teams who have not had a Top 10 QB in the last five years include: BUF, NYJ, WAS, BAL, SF, TB, CHI, JAC, TEN, CAR

Broken down by division - Surprisingly, the results were quite balanced throughout the league.

  • AFC East - 6
  • AFC North - 6
  • AFC South - 6
  • AFC West - 8
  • NFC East - 8
  • NFC North - 6
  • NFC South - 5
  • NFC West - 5

One would think that if a QB has success, so also should at least one WR on his team. This appears to be the case, because only four times over the last five years did a Top 10 QB not have a WR in the Top 30. In other words 92% of the time when a QB reaches the Top 10, he also has at least one WR in the Top 30. The four teams that didn't have a Top 30 WR were the 2008 Dolphins, led by Chad Pennington, the 2006 Chargers led by Philip Rivers, the 2006 Falcons led by Michael Vick and the 2006 Patriots led by Tom Brady. It seems obvious that the main reason for this is because this study doesn't factor in the TE position. In fact, in each of the four cases where a Top 10 QB did not have a WR in the Top 30, they all had a TE in the Top 10.

2005 QB
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Carson Palmer
CIN
Chad Ochocinco
TJ Houshmandzadeh
Tom Brady
NE
Deion Branch
Peyton Manning
IND
Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
Matt Hasselbeck
SEA
Joe Jurevicius
Eli Manning
NYG
Plaxico Burress
Drew Bledsoe
DAL
Terry Glenn
Keyshawn Johnson
Drew Brees
SD
Keenan McCardell
Trent Green
KC
Eddie Kennison
Kerry Collins
OAK
Randy Moss
Jerry Porter
Jake Plummer
DEN
Rod Smith
2006 QB
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Peyton Manning
IND
Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne
Drew Brees
NO
Marques Colston
Marc Bulger
STL
Torry Holt
Isaac Bruce
Carson Palmer
CIN
Chad Ochocinco
TJ Houshmandzadeh
Michael Vick
ATL
Jon Kitna
DET
Roy Williams
Mike Furrey
Tom Brady
NE
Philip Rivers
SD
Brett Favre
GB
Donald Driver
Donovan McNabb
PHI
Reggie Brown
2007 QB
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Tom Brady
NE
Randy Moss
Wes Welker
Tony Romo
DAL
Terrell Owens
Peyton Manning
IND
Reggie Wayne
Drew Brees
NO
Marques Colston
Ben Roethlisberger
PIT
Santonio Holmes
Matt Hasselbeck
SEA
Bobby Engram
Nate Burleson
Derek Anderson
CLE
Braylon Edwards
Brett Favre
GB
Greg Jennings
Donald Driver
Carson Palmer
CIN
Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Kurt Warner
ARI
Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin
2008 QB
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Drew Brees
NO
Lance Moore
Aaron Rodgers
GB
Greg Jennings
Donald Driver
Philip Rivers
SD
Vincent Jackson
Kurt Warner
ARI
Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin
Steve Breaston
Jay Cutler
DEN
Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal
Peyton Manning
IND
Reggie Wayne
Donovan McNabb
PHI
DeSean Jackson
Matt Cassel
NE
Randy Moss
Wes Welker
Tony Romo
DAL
Terrell Owens
Chad Pennington
MIA
2009 QB
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Aaron Rodgers
GB
Donald Driver, Greg Jennings
Drew Brees
NO
Marques Colston
Robert Meachem
Brett Favre
MIN
Sidney Rice
Percy Harvin
Matt Schaub
HOU
Andre Johnson
Peyton Manning
IND
Reggie Wayne
Tony Romo
DAL
Miles Austin
Philip Rivers
SD
Vincent Jackson
Chris Chambers
Tom Brady
NE
Randy Moss
Ben Roethlisberger
PIT
Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward
Mike Wallace
Eli Manning
NYG
Steve Smith
Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham
2010 QB
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Aaron Rodgers
GB
Greg Jennings
Donald Driver
Drew Brees
NO
Marques Colston, Robert Meachem
Peyton Manning
IND
Reggie Wayne
Tony Romo
DAL
Miles Austin
Tom Brady
NE
Randy Moss
Matt Schaub
HOU
Andre Johnson
Philip Rivers
SD
Vincent Jackson
Jay Cutler
CHI
Devin Hester
Devin Aromashodu
Donovan McNabb
WAS
Devin Thomas
Eli Manning
NYG
Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks

Top 10 QB's percentage of having at least one successful WR

  • Top 30 WR - 92%
  • Top 20 WR - 84%
  • Top 10 WR - 48%

Top 10 QB's percentage of having at least two successful WRs

  • Top 30 WR - 46%
  • Top 20 WR - 22%
  • Top 10 WR - 6%

QBs with at least two WRs in the Top 30 include

  • 2009 - Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning
  • 2008 - Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler, Matt Cassel
  • 2007 - Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner
  • 2006 - Peyton Manning, Marc Bulger, Carson Palmer, Jon Kitna
  • 2005 - Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Drew Bledsoe, Kerry Collins

  • 3 times - Carson Palmer
  • 2 times - Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Kurt Warner
  • 1 time - Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Matt Cassel, Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, Jon Kitna, Drew Bledsoe, Kerry Collins

QBs with at least two WRs in the Top 20 include

  • 2009 - Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger
  • 2008 - Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler
  • 2007 - Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner
  • 2006 - Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Jon Kitna
  • 2005 - Carson Palmer

  • 3 times - Carson Palmer
  • 2 times - Kurt Warner
  • 1 time - Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Jon Kitna

QBs with at least two WRs in the Top 10 include

  • 2008 - Kurt Warner
  • 2007 - Carson Palmer
  • 2006 - Peyton Manning

Breaking down the average amount of WRs in the Top 30 for each team that had a Top 10 QB ranking.

Number of times a QB was ranked in the Top 10 (previously mentioned)

  • 5 - IND, NE
  • 4 - GB, NO, SD, DAL
  • 3 - CIN
  • 2 - PIT, NYG, ARI, DEN, PHI, SEA
  • 1 - MIN, HOU, MIA, CLE, STL, ATL, DET, KC, OAK

Number of times a WR was ranked in the Top 30 over the last five years

  • 7 - IND, GB
  • 6 - NE, CIN
  • 5 - NO, ARI
  • 4 - DAL, SD, PIT
  • 3 - NYG, DEN, SEA
  • 2 - MIN, PHI, STL, DET, OAK
  • 1 - HOU, CLE, KC
  • 0 - ATL, MIA

Average number of WRs in the Top 30 for teams with a Top 10 QB

  • ARI 2.5 - The Cardinals were the team with the highest average number of WRs in the Top 30. This says a lot about Kurt Warner. Anquan Boldin is now in Baltimore and Warner is retired. 2010 is not looking so strong
  • MIN 2.0 - Minnesota had a Top 10 QB once (2009). Brett Favre had two WRs in the Top 30 - Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin
  • PIT 2.0 - Last year Ben Roethlisberger had three WRs in the Top 30 and now one of them (Santonio Holmes) is with the Jets. Roethlisberger does a good job of involving multiple WRs
  • NYG 2.0 - Like Roethlisberger, Eli Manning had three WRs in the Top 30 in 2009. Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. All will be back in 2010
  • CIN 2.0 - In each of Carson Palmer's three years as a QB in the Top 10, he had two WRs in the Top 30 (Chad Ochocinco and TJ Houshmandzadeh) each year. Unfortunately, Palmer hasn't cracked the Top 10 since 2007.
  • STL 2.0 - 2006 was the last time the Rams had a Top 10 QB (Marc Bulger). That year, Bulger had two WRs in the Top 30 (Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce)
  • DET 2.0 - The Lions led by Jon Kitna under Mike Martz guidance had two WRs in the Top 30 in 2006. No Lions QB has reached the Top 10 since.
  • OAK 2.0 - The Raiders led by Kerry Collins, had two WRs in the Top 30 in 2005 (Randy Moss and Jerry Porter). That was the last time a Raiders QB reached the Top 10
  • GB 1.75 - GB has had a QB in the Top 10 in each of the last four years. The last three with Aaron Rodgers and one with Brett Favre. Rodgers has been good involving at least two WRs
  • SEA 1.50 - Matt Hasselbeck has reached the Top 10 twice in the last five years, but none since 2007. In 2007 he had two WRs reach the Top 30 (Bobby Engram and Nate Burleson)
  • DEN 1.50 - 2008, when Jay Cutler was QB, the Broncos had two WRs in the Top 20 (Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal). Now Cutler is with Chicago and Marshall is with Miami
  • IND 1.40 - Peyton Manning has been a Top 10 QB in each of the last five years. Only twice did he have more than one WR in the Top 30 (2005, 2006)
  • NO 1.25 - Interestingly enough, The Saints have only had two WRs in the Top 30 once (2009) out of a possible four times in the last five years. All with Drew Brees
  • DAL 1.25 - Like New Orleans, the Cowboys have only had two WRs in the Top 30 once (2005) and that was with Drew Bledsoe at QB
  • NE 1.2 - Tom Brady has had two WRs in the Top 30 once and that was in 2007 when he passed for 50 TDs. A year prior, Brady had no WRs in the Top 30, despite making the Top 10 QB list
  • HOU 1.0 - The Texans have only had a QB in the Top 10 once in the last five years. Matt Schaub had one WR in the Top 30 (Andre Johnson) who was also in the Top 10
  • SD 1.0 - Antonio Gates has a lot to do with this low number. Philip Rivers has been a Top 10 QB three times. One of those times he failed to produce a Top 30 WR. The other two he had one Top 30 WR and two in 2009 if you count Chris Chambers before he was traded.
  • KC 1.0 - 2005 was the last time a Chiefs QB cracked the Top 10. That year, Trent Green had a Top 20 WR in Eddie Kennison
  • CLE 1.0 - Derek Anderson's performance in 2007 included Braylon Edwards as a Top 10 WR, but the Browns, Anderson and Edwards haven't sniffed that success since.
  • PHI 1.0 - Donovan McNabb was a Top 10 QB twice in the last five years. Both times, he had only one WR in the Top 30
  • MIA 0.0 - Chad Pennington somehow made the Top 10 in 2008. He did not have a Top 30 WR that year. The closest WR to the Top 30 was Ted Ginn at #33
  • ATL 0.0 - Michael Vick was a Top 10 QB in 2006 thanks to his 1000 yards rushing. The closest Falcons WR to the Top 30 was Michael Jenkins at #50

Mike Martz Effect - last five years

  • 2009 - Out of football
  • 2008 - San Francisco - One WR in the Top 30 (Isaac Bruce), however no SF QB was in the Top 10 (Shaun Hill #26)
  • 2007 - Detroit - One WR in the Top 30 (Shaun McDonald), however no DET QB was in the Top 10 (Jon Kitna #13)
  • 2006 - Detroit - Two WRs in the Top 20 (Roy Williams and Mike Furrey). QB Jon Kitna was ranked #6
  • 2005 - St. Louis - Two WRs in the Top 30 (Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis). QB Marc Bulger was ranked #23

Martz was involved in the NFL for four of the last five years. In that time, he had six WRs in the Top 30, three in the Top 20 and two in the Top 10. His teams averaged 1.5 WRs per year in the Top 30. He had one QB in the Top 10 in those four years.

WRs in the Top 30 with a Top 10 QB

  • 2009 - 18 - averaged 1.8 WRs per team
  • 2008 - 14 - 1.4 WRs per team
  • 2007 - 15 - 1.5 WRs per team
  • 2006 - 11 - 1.1 WRs per team
  • 2005 - 14 - 1.4 WRs per team

Last five years: Average of 1.4 WRs per team

Some situations that stick out in 2010

  • Jay Cutler under Mike Martz looks to be a good combination for success. Cutler has reached the Top 10 before and Martz has a history of success with his QBs. Good things ahead for Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu and/or Johnny Knox.
  • Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers not only have had good success in the QB and WR department, but the chances of two WRs reaching the Top 30 is very good. Good news for Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, if not James Jones.
  • Eli Manning and the Giants WRs could have a big year in 2010. Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and possibly Mario Manningham could reap the benefits
  • Don't rule out Cincinnati and Seattle. If Carson Palmer and Matt Hasselbeck perform well, they have a history of finding success for more than one WR. Both teams have good WR talent.
  • Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb have not had two WRs on the same team crack the Top 30 in the last five years. Two WRs out of Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Dez Bryant could be on the other side of Top 30
  • In the last five years Drew Brees has only once had a year (2009) where two WRs were ranked in the Top 30. Marques Colston appears to be a lock, but Robert Meachem has the odds against him. I still think he'll finish in the Top 30 though.
  • Peyton Manning has not had two WRs reach the Top 30 in the same year since 2006. Good news for Reggie Wayne. Not so good news for Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez.

Looking ahead to 2010 we can take data from recent history and use it to our advantage to determine what might occur. Keep in mind, this does not include TE production. If anything, the data may suggest that certain QBs, like Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo are more apt to include their TEs. It also suggests that some WR2s may not be as valuable as you think, such as Chargers WR2 Malcolm Floyd or the Colts trio of WR depth behind Reggie Wayne. Perhaps rookie Dez Bryant won't be that big of a factor in 2010, because Tony Romo has a history of success with just one WR on his team. Either that or Miles Austin could play second fiddle behind Bryant. Over the last five years, QBs in the Top 10 averaged 1.4 WRs in the Top 30. Using the current pre season QB rankings we can begin to create a window of successful WRs on teams with a Top 10 QB.

2010 Preseason Top 10 QBs
Tm
Top 10 WR
Top 20 WR
Top 30 WR
Aaron Rodgers
GB
Greg Jennings
Donald Driver
Drew Brees
NO
Marques Colston
Robert Meachem
Peyton Manning
IND
Reggie Wayne
Tony Romo
DAL
Miles Austin
Tom Brady
NE
Randy Moss
Julian Edelman
Matt Schaub
HOU
Andre Johnson
Philip Rivers
SD
Vincent Jackson
Jay Cutler
CHI
Devin Hester
Devin Aromashodu
Donovan McNabb
WAS
Devin Thomas
Eli Manning
NYG
Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com.