Most readers are familiar with Adjusted Yards Per Attempt (AYPA) as a very handy number for measuring the success of a QB. It's defined as net passing yards minus a 45-yard penalty for each interception, divided by total drop-backs. It correlates very well with winning.

Quick, without looking it up, rank the following passers in terms of their 2010 AYPA through week 15:

A. Drew Brees
B. Peyton Manning
C. Colt McCoy
D. Matt Ryan
E. Sam Bradford

Answer after the jump.

Colt McCoy 5.7
Peyton Manning 5.6
Drew Brees 5.2
Matt Ryan 5.2
Sam Bradford 4.1

My point in that little exercise is that the Browns' rookie quarterback Colt McCoy might be for real. He's played in 6 games and attempted 152 passes. McCoy has thrown only 3 interceptions so far, good for a 2.0% interception rate, much better than the league average of 3.0%. He's not throwing all dink-and-dunk stuff either, with a 20.4% deep attempt rate, slightly higher than average. His WPA is in solid positive terrirtory at +0.24, and his EPA makes him look even better, with 28.4 worth of net point differential added.

Is he just lucky thanks to a few trash-time deep passes? Nope. He has a solid 46.6% success rate and a 65.8% completion rate. And in case you think he's played against patsy teams, his six opponents have been the Steelers, Saints, Patriots, Jets, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati.

He's just benefiting from solid offensive line play and the break-out performance from Peyton Hillis, you say? Jake Delhomme was also handing off to Peyton Hillis and playing with the same offensive squad. With nearly the same number of attempts as McCoy, Delhomme's AYPA this season is 3.3. His WPA is -1.83 and his EPA is -24.9.

McCoy will be tested the last couple weeks of the season test as Cleveland hosts the Ravens and then the Steelers.

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7 Responses to “AYPA Quiz”

  1. Anonymous says:

    that shouldn't be surprising since Lewin Career Forecast had McCoy as the best QB prospect in the last 2 years.

    What's surprising is that he lasted until the 3rd round.

  2. jmaron says:

    I don't believe you are not correct about Lewin forecasting McCoy as the best QB in the last two years. Lewin Forecast only rates QBs taken in the first two rounds.

  3. slushhead says:

    I'm sure this has been explained before and I just missed it - why doesn't AYPA take sacks into account? Certainly sacks are partially the fault of the offensive line, but anyone who has watched Cutler play knows that the quarterback is often the reason for the sack. It almost seems that AYPA rewards QB's who hold onto the ball and take the sack rather than throw an incompletion.

  4. Anonymous says:

    AYPA as it is defined on this site does take into account sacks.

    Total dropbacks=pass attempts+sacks

  5. Brian Burke says:

    It does. That's what the 'net' part of net passing yards means. Sorry if it wasn't clear.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "I don't believe you are not correct about Lewin forecasting McCoy as the best QB in the last two years. Lewin Forecast only rates QBs taken in the first two rounds."

    Metaphysical semantics. Does the Lewin Forecast not apply to McCoy because he was take in the 3rd round although it's not clear that was a mistake and he should have been taken in the 1st? It's enough to make your head hurt. Metaphysical conundrum's aside, Football Outsiders did in fact apply the Lewin Forecast to McCoy.


    "you could take that same exact write-up and apply it to Drew Brees, who has done pretty well for himself in the pros. McCoy's college numbers are far better than Brees' (61.1 completion percentage, 37 games started), and those arm-strength issues aren't as important in a league that's gone to more of a short passing game. His closest statistical comp is also Rivers, and while McCoy's college numbers might overstate his professional viability some, there's a very good chance that he'll be a Pro Bowl quarterback. If he does fall to the second round as forecasted, whichever team grabs him is likely to end up with a steal, just like the Chargers did with Brees"

  7. JJB says:

    Why doesn't AYPA include pass interference penalties? It should at least include Defensive PI. Defensive PI is one of the few penalties assessed at the spot of the foul (and therefore is almost precisely analagous to a completion). I think most QB's and receivers would be willing to give up the YAK for a successful target/completion.

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