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Monday, December 27, 2004
Updated: December 29, 11:58 AM ET
QB rankings: Week 16

By Aaron Schatz
Special to Page 2

Note: Go to the bottom of the table for a more complete explanation of how Aaron's QB rating system works.

Every week at Snap Judgment, I rate the top quarterbacks of the week. But every pass needs someone to catch it, and we can rate the best and worst receivers in the same way. I thought this week we would look at the best receivers of the week and the season.

Rating receivers works a bit differently from quarterbacks. Just like the QBs, we're including both complete and incomplete passes. Turnovers work differently: interceptions for QBs become incompletes for receivers, but fumbling after catching the pass is a pretty big penalty that doesn't show up in the QB rating. Wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs only get compared to players at the same position.

Here are the top receivers from Week 16, not counting Monday night:
T. Gonzalez      6.9 DPAR    11-of-12, 124 yards, 2 TD
B. Stokley       5.9 DPAR     7-of-10, 123 yards, TD
P. Burress       5.7 DPAR     3-of-3,   97 yards, TD
J. Galloway      5.1 DPAR     9-of-11,  98 yards, TD
L. Evans         5.1 DPAR     8-of-9,   92 yards, 2 TD
M. Muhammad	 4.9 DPAR     8-of-10, 115 yards, 2 TD, fumble
M. Harrison	 4.8 DPAR     6-of-9,  111 yards
N. Burleson	 4.7 DPAR     2-of-2,  110 yards, TD

Where's Donald Driver? Despite 162 yards, he only had 4.2 DPAR, partly because he had six passes thrown his way fall incomplete and partly because his rating gets penalized because the Minnesota defense isn't any good.

And the worst receivers from Week 16:
T. Edwards      -4.4 DPAR    3-of-6,   24 yards, fumble
D. Terrell      -3.4 DPAR    2-of-10,  10 yards
M. Jenkins	-3.3 DPAR    0-of-6
P. Price        -2.9 DPAR    6-of-15,  49 yards
C. Moore	-2.7 DPAR    0-of-5

For most of the season, the top ranking among receivers rotated between Terrell Owens, Hines Ward and Reggie Wayne, but this week a surprising new No. 1 emerged: rookie Michael Clayton of Tampa Bay, with 40.5 DPAR. The rest of the top five goes Reggie Wayne, Mushin Muhammad, Joe Horn and Brandon Stokley. The worst receiver this season, worth -12.8 DPAR, is Chicago's Bobby Wade.

With his big game this week, Tony Gonzalez (37.9 DPAR) passed Antonio Gates (35.6 DPAR) for the top spot among tight ends, and those two guys are way ahead of everyone else. The worst tight end of the season has been Boo Williams of New Orleans (-12.7 DPAR).

The top receiver among running backs is not much of a surprise: Brian Westbrook at 15.1 DPAR. Edgerrin James is second, which shows just how much Manning is spreading it around. Fred Beasley of the 49ers rates as the worst pass-catching running back at -6.9 DPAR. You can find the complete rankings for WRs, TEs and RBs at footballoutsiders.com.

  • Get overall season QB rankings here.

    SNAP JUDGMENT'S QB RANKINGS FOR WEEK 16
    Quarterback Skinny DPAR
    1. Jake Delhomme
    19/24, 214 yards
    4 TDs, 0 INT
    This, my friends, is how you will your team into the playoffs. 17.4
    2. Tom Brady
    21/32, 264 yards
    2 TDs, 0 INT
    Average Brady pass has come with 9.5 yards needed for first down, highest of any quarterback with at least 300 attempts. 15.5
    3. Jake Plummer
    21/26, 306 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    If Denver makes postseason, whole team should grow Plummer-length playoff beards in the NHL tradition. 14.2
    4. Daunte Culpepper
    16/23, 285 yards
    3 TDs, 0 INT
    Remember the best passing seasons list from three weeks ago? Culpepper has now moved up to fifth all-time, while McNabb has dropped out of Top 20. 10.9
    5. Ben Roethlisberger
    14/19, 221 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    I watched this game at Firefly's in Framingham and had to talk some Steelers fans down off the ledge when Big Ben got hurt. Yes, losing your QB is bad, but how many backup quarterbacks in football are better than Maddox? 9.8
    6. Brian Griese
    30/41, 321 yards
    3 TDs, 2 INT
    Appears to be chasing Jay Fiedler for the career lead in "crushing interceptions returned for a touchdown." Before that play, another good game. 9.3
    7. Peyton Manning
    27/44, 383 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    If he sits Week 17, he'll drop to fourth on the all-time passing seasons list. 8.4
    8. Trent Green
    32/45, 358 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    HUGE opponent penalty. Believe it or not, this was a below-average game against porous Oakland secondary. 6.7
    9. Drew Brees
    21/31, 290 yards
    3 TDs, 1 INT
    Played so well that I didn't even notice he was without his best wideout, Keenan McCardell. 6.5
    10. Brett Favre
    30/43, 365 yards
    3 TDs, 1 INT
    1998 was Favre's only other Metrodome game with 300 yards or 70% completions. Adjustment for poor Vikings defense cuts rating in half. 6.5
    11. Kyle Boller
    18/32, 177 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Actually led the Ravens in rushing (Boller 28 yards, Lewis 26 yards) although a 3-yard scamper on 2nd-and-18 isn't much help. 6.0
    12. Vinny Testaverde
    23/39, 234 yards
    1 TD, 1 INT
    First 7 games: 7.8 yards per pass, 62% completions, 37.4 DPAR. Last 7 games: 6.3 yards per pass, 54% completions, -7.5 DPAR. 5.9
    13. Jon Kitna
    20/32, 186 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    In Arizona, would be 9-6 and headed to playoffs. 5.4
    14. Drew Bledsoe
    21/32, 172 yards
    1 TD, 0 INT
    His Christmas present came in April: Lee Evans. 3.7
    15. A.J. Feeley
    25/43, 176 yards
    1 TD, 0 INT
    -19.3 DPAR on first downs this season, worst in the league, partially due to 12 turnovers. 2.7
    16. Eli Manning
    19/37, 201 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    In film version, Manning brothers to be played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. 1.9
    17. Chad Pennington
    22/36, 252 yards
    1 TD, 2 INT
    Doesn't look right. Despite last week's big game against Seattle, I think he came back from injury too soon. 0.9
    18. Joey Harrington
    15/30, 166 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Most similar to Joey Harrington 2003-4: Trent Dilfer 1996-7, Craig Erickson 1993-1994, Vinny Testaverde 1989-90. Yes, the Lions are now the creamsicle-era Bucs. -0.7
    19. Chad Hutchinson
    20/35, 114 yards
    1 TD, 0 INT
    The lengths of his first-half completions: 7, 0, 3, 7, -2, 0, 6, 3, 4, 2, 0. I don't know the NFL record for pointless dumpoffs, but this has to come close. -1.4
    20. Josh McCown
    21/33, 248 yards
    3 TDs, 2 INT
    Gerrard, Harrington, McCown ... 2002 was not a good draft for quarterbacks. -1.4
    21. Aaron Brooks
    12/24, 227 yards
    1 TD, 2 INT
    Congratulations, you out-dueled Matt Schaub and the Atlanta junior varsity. -1.5
    22. Kerry Collins
    18/37, 212 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    Except for win at Denver, all his big games have come against bad pass defenses. -3.1
    23. Ken Dorsey
    5/10, 54 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    I don't mean to alarm you, but look at his stats this season compared to Eli Manning, and then ask yourself: Which rookie had more weapons to work with? -3.3
    24. David Carr
    14/20, 139 yards
    1 TD, 2 INT
    Another game for the "win does not mean good quarterback play" hall of fame. -3.5
    25. Trent Dilfer
    10/26, 128 yards
    0 TDs, 0 INT
    Throwing to Darrell Jackson: 6 for 12, 101 yards. Throwing to everyone else: 4 for 14, 27 yards. -3.9
    26. Luke McCown
    9/16, 161 yards
    1 TD, 2 INT
    If this game had gone to overtime, I may have clawed out my own eyes to stop the pain. -3.9
    27. Patrick Ramsey
    19/29, 158 yards
    1 TD, 2 INT
    He's supposed to have two deep threats in Gardner and Coles, so how did he manage only two passes above 11 yards against Dallas secondary that has been a sieve? -6.0
    28. Cody Pickett
    4/10, 55 yards
    0 TDs, 2 INT
    Important suggestion: Do not give 7th-round pick his first NFL experience against league's hottest defense. -7.9
    29. Byron Leftwich
    6/14, 35 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    This, my friends, is not how you will your team into the playoffs. -9.3
    30. Billy Volek
    8/20, 111 yards
    0 TDs, 2 INT
    Third downs: Four sacks, two incompletes, an interception, and only one conversion. -10.5
    31. Matt Schaub
    17/41, 188 yards
    0 TDs, 2 INT
    From preseason promise to in-season implosion faster than you can say "Michael Bishop." -15.0

    How DPAR (Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement) works

    The success of each play is judged based on yardage gained towards both a touchdown and a first down. Then each play gets compared to the NFL average on similar plays, based on down, distance, and other variables. Quarterbacks are judged not based on how many yards they get, but on how important those yards are in the context of the game.

    Ratings are also adjusted for the quality of the opposing defense. The quarterback's performance is then translated into an approximate number of actual points that such success (or failure) is worth when compared to a "replacement level" quarterback (defined as any quarterback named "Billy Joe").

    When all offensive, defensive, and special teams plays are added together for one team, the result comes very close to the actual difference between points scored and allowed.

    Among the advantages of this system:

    1. Gives value for first downs, which are not really included in any other QB rating system but are hugely important.

    2. Does not punish quarterbacks who are always in bad field position because of a poor defense, nor does it punish quarterbacks who are always stuck in third-and-long because of a poor running game.

    3. With enough data to begin including defensive adjustment, quarterbacks receive bonuses when they play well against good defenses, and they don't get rated as world-beaters when they shred the 49ers

    4. Includes both passing and rushing plays, which obviously helps a QB like Michael Vick.

    5. DPAR punishes quarterbacks for turnovers but also for fumbles that his own team recovers. Different kind of fumbles have different penalties depending on how often defense recovers for a turnover. Sacks are punished as well.

    6. 5-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10? Worthless!

    7. Actual points! Easy to understand!

    An even longer explanation of these numbers can be found here.

    Aaron Schatz is editor-in-chief of FootballOutsiders.com.