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Zach Mettenberger is a Better Fantasy Value Than Derek Carr


Let’s hear the applause

C’mon show me how much better you are

So you deserve some applause

Because you’re so much better

Taylor Swift, Better Than Revenge


Today I am going to make the case that Zach Mettenberger has much, much, more fantasy value than Derek Carr. As with all my work, I will do this by heavily referencing Shawn Siegele’s stuff. Lest you think I’m creating a strawman, I will point out that Derek Carr is currently the QB17 on My Fantasy League whereas Mettenberger is QB30 and that Fantasy Pros  lists Derek Carr as the QB22 in Dynasty and Mettenberger as the QB29.

Everything I’m going to be mentioning here heavily references the importance of rookie passing numbers by Shawn Siegele because I’ve found I’m at my best when I try to be Robin to his Batman. You should read the article, it’s much better than this one, but for a quick reference, quarterbacks with adjusted yards/attempt (AYA) above nine in their final college season and those with AYAs above six in their rookie year dramatically outperform quarterbacks who fail to reach those respective benchmarks.

At this point you can probably see where this is going so I’ll try to be succinct.

Name Final College Season AYA Rookie Year AYA
Derek Carr 8.7 5.26
Zach Mettenberger 10.7 7.02

So basically, Mettenberger belongs to a group with Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck and now Teddy Bridgewater and Carr falls into a group that’s 15 complete NFL failures and Eli Manning.

Pretty much the only argument for Carr over Mettenberger is that he was a higher pick and that means more opportunity/job security. But Mettenberger already looks like he will be the starter heading into next year, and, as Siegele notes, quarterbacks who weren’t good rookies generally only get enough chances to turn things around if they were an early first round pick, which Carr wasn’t. Basically neither player has the draft pedigree that we can expect them to be able to play poorly and retain their job, and based on the data we have, Carr is more likely to continue to struggle than Mettenberger is to start stinking up the joint.

To be clear, this isn’t to say I’m a Mettenberger truther, partially because those two words sound really stupid together, but also because he still does have significant red flags. His AYA was probably boosted by playing with two starting NFL receivers in college and it’s concerning that he wasn’t able to allow Odell Beckham to perform like the superstar he apparently is. Then there’s the fact that it’s possible Tennessee drafts a QB and he never starts another game and that in a QB needy league no team considered him worth a pick in the first five rounds, which, if you buy into the idea that the draft is basically efficient, is concerning. All I’m saying is that his production has given us a lot to like, and at this point his positive signals grossly outweigh his negatives relative to how he’s valued. Oh, and I’m also saying Derek Carr sucks.

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