How Much Will Brock Osweiler Benefit From Having DeAndre Hopkins And Lamar Miller?

Does the presence of two highly-valued skill position players automatically elevate a quarterback to a top-end fantasy asset?

The Houston Texans made Brock Osweiler a very rich man this off season. The signing also threw a wrench into the evaluation of the Texans’ offense for 2016. With just seven career starts under his belt, it’s difficult to predict with much certainty what we can expect from Osweiler this season.

In reviewing early average draft position (ADP) data this week, an interesting tidbit came to my attention – two of Osweiler’s skills position players, DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller, are both being drafting inside the top 20 overall picks.

Based on historical evidence, should Osweiler be given an assumed bump in fantasy value based on that fact that he's surrounded by a pair of highly-coveted fantasy assets?

Let's find out.

Past Instances

Looking back over the past three seasons of ADP data per Fantasy Football Calculator, there have been nine instances where a running back and wide receiver from the same team have been drafted inside the top 20 picks in fantasy drafts.

The table below shows ADP and results for quarterbacks from those instances. For reference, Osweiler is currently QB23, and Fantasy Football Calculator only shows the top 22 quarterbacks, hence some of the rankings being unavailable.

Year Name ADP Finish Top-12 Weeks % of GPs
2015 Aaron Rodgers QB2 QB7 9 56%
Peyton Manning QB3 QB34 1 10%
Ben Roethlisberger QB5 QB20 8 67%
Andy Dalton n/a QB18 9 69%
2014 Peyton Manning QB1 QB4 10 63%
Aaron Rodgers QB3 QB1 11 69%
Andy Dalton QB16 QB18 5 31%
2013 Tony Romo QB11 QB10 6 40%
Geno Smith n/a QB20 6 38%

To avoid simply looking at draft equity (ADP +/- season-long finish) which doesn’t account for games missed, the number and percentage of top-12 (QB1) weeks for each player is included.

Among the repeat names on this list - Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Andy Dalton - only Rodgers finished as a QB1 in more than 50 percent of his games in multiple seasons. Manning saw a massive drop-off in 2015 while Dalton more than doubled his percentage of top-12 weeks from 2014 to 2015.

The takeaway here is that, on average, quarterbacks in this situation have finished as top-12 options in 49% of their games played, but it's also important to remember that this list includes some of the most individually talented quarterbacks we've seen over the last two decades.

Does It Impact Efficiency?

The table below shows the same nine quarterbacks along with their Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics on a per-drop-back basis, along with their resulting ranks among quarterbacks with 300 or more drop backs in each respective season.

Year Name ADP Passing NEP/P Rank
2015 Aaron Rodgers QB2 0.06 26
Peyton Manning QB3 -0.02 29
Ben Roethlisberger QB5 0.25 5
Andy Dalton n/a 0.35 1
2014 Peyton Manning QB1 0.27 3
Aaron Rodgers QB3 0.34 1
Andy Dalton QB16 0.05 19
2013 Tony Romo QB11 0.12 8
Geno Smith n/a -0.14 30

Similar to what we found when looking at fantasy production from year-to-year, what we have are inconsistent, volatile results regarding efficiency that doesn't allow for many strong conclusions to be drawn according to our study’s parameters.

Sure, five of the nine quarterback seasons ended in the top 10 based on efficiency, but right there to balance it out are the three seasons that finished 26th or worse.

What It Means For Osweiler in 2016

Prior to delving into this data, I, like most other fantasy owners, would have assumed that having two top-20 options attached to a quarterback would provide some predictive boost to fantasy production. Turns out, results for both fantasy production and real-life efficiency metrics for quarterbacks in these instances can fluctuate wildly.

The truth is there are a multitude of factors that go into predicting fantasy football production -- coaching tendencies, injuries, player personnel changes, strength of schedule, etc. Although the data for this study covers the last three seasons, the sample size is still very small.

While having an excellent supporting cast certainly helps in theory, it is wise to incorporate more factors in our decision-making process.

As for Osweiler this season, he certainly has the weapons to surpass the draft investment necessary to acquire him. However, whether or not he does provide value will depend on more than just the presence of Hopkins and Miller.