Measuring NFL QBs by Net Yards Produced per Play

This morning I calculated the number of net yards produced by each NFL Starting Quarterback according to the following formula:

Net Yards = Passing Yards + Rushing Yards – Receiver Yards After Catch – Yards lost on Sacks – (30 yards * Turnovers) – (0.245 * Plays)

Essentially, what I tried to calculate was the number of yards produced after disregarding YAC, or receiver yards after the catch, and penalizing for turnovers.  Here is the list, ordered according to Net Yards produced per Play:

  Yards Yards/Play Wins
Newton 1258 2.43 2.51
Vick 1079 2.35 2.16
Rodgers 983 2.24 1.97
Brady 1022 2.22 2.04
Manning 912 2.05 1.82
Ponder 300 1.87 0.61
Brees 1068 1.86 2.13
Stafford 843 1.67 1.68
Jackson 549 1.66 1.09
Rthlisber 852 1.63 1.69
Painter 454 1.58 0.91
Hasslbeck 616 1.49 1.23
Tebow 214 1.48 0.43
Schaub 778 1.43 1.55
Romo 605 1.42 1.21
Fitz 568 1.31 1.13
Freeman 585 1.29 1.17
Flacco 562 1.22 1.12
McCoy 594 1.19 1.19
Ryan 387 0.85 0.77
Cutler 405 0.96 0.81
Dalton 504 1.15 1.01
Smith 476 1.14 0.95
Bradford 375 1.12 0.75
Sanchez 409 0.96 0.82
Kolb 369 0.86 0.74
Rivers 269 0.66 0.54
Cassell 217 0.61 0.43
Gabbert 141 0.36 0.28
AVG   1.41  

Cam Newton continues to lead NFL QBs

Using the measurement outlined above, rookie Cam Newton of Carolina continues to be the most productive QB in the NFL in terms of Net Yards produced per Play (the last column is a translation of each QBs net yards into Wins Produced for his team, by multiplying Net Yards x 0.002). 

Newton has been spectacular.  If you look at the rankings, fellow rookie QB Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings has also played quite well.  He is actually averaging more net yards per play than Drew Breese of the Saints.

A QB who has played poorly is Philip Rivers of San Diego.  He does not push the ball downfield, he has limited rushing skills, and he has 14 turnovers to his credit.  All of which adds up to a very poor 0.66 net yards per play. 

The much maligned Tim Tebow comes in a bit above average.  While he is certainly a terribly inefficient passer, he does not turn the ball over very often, and he can scramble for yards. 

The worst starting QB in the NFL by Net Yards per Play is Jacksonville’s Blain Gabbert.  However, Gabbert is just a rookie.  Matt Cassell of Kansas City is a well-paid veteran, and he is doing nearly as bad as Gabbert.  The Chiefs seem to have wasted their money on a one-year wonder. 

Alex Smith of San Francisco is the anti-Tebow.  He does not produce many yards, but he is a pretty efficient passer.  Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys should rate higher, but he is too loose with the football.

Michael Vick is having his second straight exceptional season for the Philadelphia Eagles.  His problem is that a lot of his net yards come from his amazing ability to run the football, but that is a hazardous hobby at his small size.  Thus, he is a little more susceptible to injury than most quarterbacks.



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