Brian Hoyer – the Guy Behind the Guy

Recently the RotoViz Bros were hanging around the office, when talk turned to the guys behind the guys. In other words, players without much current fantasy value, but who would suddenly have value, if the guy in front of them were to miss time. These are players that we just need to be aware of because the effect of injuries are felt quickly in fantasy leagues.

My contribution to the conversation? Brian Hoyer.

Brian Hoyer is currently serving time as the backup quarterback in Chicago. So all that stands between Hoyer and the chance at fantasy relevancy is Jay Cutler. Is there a chance Hoyer gets to play this year?

You bet. Cutler hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2009. Granted, in most of the seven previous seasons he’s only missed a single game. But he did miss four in 2013, and six in 2010. The point is that full seasons are a rarity.

It might also matter that Hoyer is now his backup, and not Jimmy Clausen as in the past two seasons. Perhaps Cutler played as much as he did because the Bears weren’t enthusiastic about trotting Clausen out there. Now that they’ve got the much better Hoyer as a backup, perhaps they’ll be quicker to pull Cutler when he does get dinged up.

Would Hoyer be a viable fantasy QB, if he did get the chance to play?

download (1)

Almost 20 points per game? Solid. Over a three-year period (28 games) Hoyer has averaged about 17 points/game. That’s enough to get you through a bye week or injury to your starting QB.

More recently we’ve seen that Hoyer can produce startable numbers. In just 11 games last year, he produced four games over 25 fantasy points, and another two over 19 points. I know, it was with Bill O’Brien, and it wasn’t even a complete season. But the performance was there. Compare that to Cutler who, in 15 games (four more than Hoyer), with the widely-acclaimed Adam Gase calling plays, produced just two games over 25 fantasy points.

Let’s compare Cutler and Hoyer over the past two seasons using Pro Football Reference’s advanced passing measures.1

QB Att Y/A+ NY/A+ AY/A+ ANY/A+ Cmp%+ TD%+ Int%+ Sack%+ Rate+
Cutler 522 100 102 99 100.5 110.5 102 96 102 102
Hoyer 403.5 102.5 103 100.5 101 81.5 93.5 102 104 93.5

Looks like Hoyer is basically as good as Cutler. The QB Sim App agrees, giving Hoyer a per-game projection in the 16.5 to 20.2 range, while giving Cutler just a 15.4 to 19.5 projection.

I’m not trying to start a QB controversy in Chicago. Just pointing out that:

  • Cutler seems to get hurt a lot
  • Hoyer seems very capable of producing at a starting QB level
  • He’s capable of supporting other fantasy players as well: download (2)

That’s it. That’s the basic argument for Hoyer’s potential value. I don’t think you even need to go out and try to roster him (although if you wanted to I’m sure he’s freely available). Just tuck his name away and be prepared to move on waivers if you need a QB if (when) Cutler goes down. For those of you in SuperFlex leagues like the Scott Fish Bowl (no interception penalty!), Hoyer has more potential value.

  1. 100 is league average; higher is better.  (back)

Charles Kleinheksel

Editor and contributor since 2013. Director of Special Projects August 2017. Occasionally found at numberFire, Rotoballer, and FantasyPros.

Week 10 Waiver Wire Advice

RotoViz provides advice on players to target and fade on your fantasy football waiver wire.

Week 9 Waiver Wire Advice

RotoViz provides advice on players to target and fade on your fantasy football waiver wire.

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