As we continue to roll on through the offseason and prepare for the 2023 fantasy season, we are taking a top-down look at the production for each position.

We kicked things off by looking at the how and the why scoring last season completely fell off the map, discussed how running back usage has fallen off in recent seasons, looked at the change in receiver production, and examined how tight ends were used in 2022.

Following that up with a look into each position, we are transitioning into quarterback play from last year.


  • Passing production fell across the league in 2022. We saw the fewest pass attempts and passing yards per game since 2009.
  • Quarterbacks are running more than ever before. They set a new high in rushing attempts and yardage in 2022.
  • Not only were teams taking fewer deep shots in the passing game, but they also became less effective. Last season’s 7.9% touchdown rate was a slight bump up from the rate in 2021, but those two rates are also the lowest in the 10-year sample.

Leaguewide Passing Output Since 2010:


Given the 2022 season was not only a recession year for offensive production but that NFL defenses had calibrated their approach by dedicating more resources than ever to defend the pass, it is not overly surprising to see those results significantly show up in passing production across the league.

Here are some of the low points laid out as bullet points:

  • The fewest pass attempts per game since 2009.
  • The fewest passing yards per game since 2009.
  • The fewest passing touchdowns per game since 2008.
  • The lowest passing touchdown rate per attempt since 2008.
  • The fewest yards per pass attempt since 2017.
  • The lowest passer rating since 2017.
  • The fewest passing fantasy points per game since 2010.

NFL Passing Performance Over the Past 10 Years:

YearDropBack%EPA/DBSuccess%aDOTAt or Behind LOS%Deep%

This table was in the overall 2022 article, but I did want to bring it back here since it tied into this subcategory going over the quarterbacks.

I will not rehash that entire section, but based on how defenses approached defending the pass, offenses threw the ball at or behind the line of scrimmage at the highest rate last season while simultaneously throwing the ball 20 or more yards downfield at the lowest rate.

Deep Passing Output Over the Past 10 Years:


Not only were teams taking fewer deep shots in the passing game, but they also became less effective.

Last season’s 7.9% touchdown rate was a slight bump up from the rate in 2021, but those two rates are also the lowest in the 10-year sample.

There were just 161 touchdown passes on throws of 20 or more yards in the air last season, the fewest over the past 10 years.

The conversion rate on those throws has increased compared to a decade ago, but quarterbacks also only completed 35.7% of their throws 20 or more yards downfield, the lowest rate in a season since 2018.

With the way defenses have emphasized defending vertical passing games, sending fewer blitzes and playing less man coverage, quarterback accuracy on the shallow to intermediate levels while winning on early downs and after the catch is at a premium.

2022 Passing Points Per Game Leaders:

Patrick Mahomes20.67.253.3%
Joe Burrow18.46.848.0%
Josh Allen17.79.636.1%
Tua Tagovailoa17.49.635.6%
Jared Goff16.47.051.6%
Kirk Cousins15.97.543.4%
Tom Brady15.96.749.6%
Justin Herbert15.96.452.7%
Geno Smith15.87.641.6%
Jalen Hurts14.98.347.2%
Dak Prescott14.78.242.1%
Trevor Lawrence14.67.448.3%

When looking at the top-12 leaders last season in passing points per game, you can see a high overlap to the passers that win with accuracy in the quick game.

Of the quarterbacks here, only Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jalen Hurts were in the top 10 in average depth of throw last season.

Passers such as Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow had career lows in average depth of throw and,  subsequently, career highs in their reliance on yardage created after the completion.

This style of play is also what makes someone such as Jared Goff a potentially undervalued option in the current landscape.

On throws 10 yards and in last season, only Mahomes had a higher passer rating (104.5) than Goff did (102.0).

Of course, passing is not the only pipeline to fantasy production.

Fortunately, while passing output took a major step back in 2022, rushing output from the quarterback continued to spike.

Quarterback Rushing Output Since 2010:

YEARRUATTScramble%Kneel %Design %RuYDRuTDRush PPG

Quarterbacks set a new high in rushing attempts and yardage. The rushing touchdowns were not as high as in 2020, which prevented the position from running down that season in points generated from rushing alone, but quarterbacks are running more than ever before.

16 different quarterbacks averaged over 3.0 rushing points per game. Seven averaged more than 5.0 rushing points per game. Both Justin Fields (10.8) and Jalen Hurts (10.3) were at double-digit points per game via rushing alone.

If you are looking to break the bank in fantasy at quarterback in the modern era, you need a player who can provide both passing and rushing output.

Both Hurts and Josh Allen are known commodities for that upside, but pass-first options such as Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Trevor Lawrence all were top-12 in rushing points per game (at 3.5 per game each), which is significant considering their passing ceilings.

This is also why you will see a player like Anthony Richardson get drafted even if he is not the Week 1 starter, why gamers will give Deshaun Watson another opportunity and will elevate Fields to a tier he has yet to achieve. This subset of quarterbacks has the best odds to provide spike performances.

When looking at spike-week scorers at the position, they come via passers that can also run.

Among all top-12 weekly scorers in 2022, those players averaged 4.7 rushing points per game.

Top-six weekly scorers averaged 6.3 rushing points per game, and top-three scorers averaged 7.7 per game.

When taking a look at the 18 players that led the position in weekly scoring last season, they averaged 8.8 rushing points per game.

Among those 18, 13 of them posted 4.0 or more (the equivalent of a passing touchdown) rushing points in that game. Just two of those 18 quarterbacks to lead a week in scoring failed to score a full rushing point.

While the previous section did highlight someone like Jared Goff having his strengths align with the current defensive meta, the fact that he also has to do all of his lifting for fantasy via passing stats is why he lacks the requisite ceiling to completely smash as a league-winner over the full season (to be fair to Goff, he was one of the two QB1 overall scoring weeks last year without a full rushing point).

The interesting component here is that the position is also coming off its first year with a higher rate of designed rushing attempts than scrambles.

Do you know how you can punish defenses playing light fronts that overly dedicate resources to defend the pass? By winning the numbers game with a quarterback that can handle designed runs.

While the raw numbers do tell us what we need to know here, there is still a lot of meat remaining on the bone for the position to increase their overall share of league rushing attempts.

Percentage of Rushing Output From Quarterbacks:


Quarterbacks set all-time marks in the rate of leaguewide runs, designed rushes, and rushing yardage in 2022, but all of those rates remain in an area where the tide can still rise. We have yet to see the point at which this bubble can pop.

This draft class also added more versatility to the position. We have the addition of Anthony Richardson as a front-end runner. I believe C.J. Stroud will run more at the NFL level than he did in college, and Bryce Young and Will Levis can provide rushing output.

Takeaways for the 2023 Season

Wrapping things up in three tidy bullet points:

  • Through exiting the pandemic paired with defenses emphasizing coverage and playing less aggressively, passing production had massive drop-offs comparable to some of the worst output over the past 15 years.
  • With defenses prioritizing taking away deep passing, quarterbacks have been forced to win in the quick game. Quarterbacks that can win in that area have added appeal as fantasy passers.
  • Rushing remains the true trump card at the position, and teams that have mobile quarterbacks used them more than ever in 2022. If you have a player that throws and runs at the position, that archetype is the most valuable subset to add to rosters.


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