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Green Zone League Articles

Most and Least Important Players From Each Team
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

This is sort of a random article, but something that I thought was sort of interesting. The germ of this came the other day while reviewing my roster and trying to get a sense of where the team could improve and that sort of thing. Anyway, while doing so, I noted that on my Cowboys, QB Mark Sanchez had the highest IMP rating of any player on the team with a 99 rating. Curious to see how that compared, I looked at the “most important” player on every other team in my division, and then I looked at the whole league. In doing so, I noted a few mildly interesting things that I thought I’d share (see below). Now, I’m not really sure what any of this means, if anything. But still, sort of interesting.

Then I started wondering about the least important player on each team. So I noted those and include them for comparison.

Below are each team’s Most Important and Least Important Players, with their respective ratings noted:

Dallas – QB Sanchez (99); C Balough (18)
Philly – OT Roos (95); OT Johnson (12)
Washington – DE Coples (94); OT Greer (15)
NY Giants – QB Kaepernick (93); OG Henderson (18)

Chicago – QB Klein (97); CB Johnson (4)
Detroit – QB Stafford (90); QB McIntyre (21)
Green Bay – MLB Cushing (86); CB Van Dyke (17)
Minnesota – QB McCoy (96); CB Young (29)

Atlanta – DE Quinn (88); C Barrett (27)
Carolina – QB Barkely (92); OT Meyer (18)
New Orleans – QB Wilson/DE C. Jones (88); QB Basanez (23)
Tampa Bay – QB Freeman (98); WR Eastwood (16)

St. Louis – MLB Wills (96); C Baas/OLB Kysely (22)
Arizona – DT Paea (96); OT Schwartz (7)
San Francisco – QB Smith (99); OLB Jones (23)
Seattle – QB Newton (97); OG Hori (5)

Buffalo – QB Luck (95); DT Woodson/OT Clark (27)
Miami – QB Wilson (96); FB Soto (24)
New England – QB Ryan (96); MLB Wagner (25)
NY Jets – QB Higgins (93); QB Grant (16)

Baltimore – OT Oher (95); OG Cannon (26)
Cincinnati – QB Manziel (90); HB Polk (27)
Cleveland – QB Mallett (99); MLB Didier (12)
Pittsburgh – DE Johnson (87); MLB Cook (18)

Houston – QB Irving (96); MLB Fletcher/P Breckinridge/MLB Monroe (20)
Indianapolis – OT Joeckel (89); OT Watkins (7)
Jacksonville – HB McCoy (91); OLB Adkins (16)
Tennessee – QB Henderson (97); OT Wayne (13)

Denver – QB Christensen/OT Clady (91); TE Ellsworth (25)
Kansas City – QB Manuel (91); CB Peppers (10)
Oakland – QB Griffin III (86); OLB Herbert (10)
San Diego – QB Gabbert (98); OT Carter (23)

A few Notes:

Here’s the position breakdown for Most Important: 22 QBs, 4 OTs, 4 DEs, 2 MLBs, 1 DT, and 1 HB. Not too surprising that QB was so frequently the most important player on a team. Nor was it a shock to see OTs in the mix as well. I was a little surprised to see no CBs listed as a team’s most important player. We as a league value the position so highly, but odd that it didn’t translate even once for individual teams.

Only 3 teams had players with a 99 IMP: Dallas, San Francisco and Cleveland. All 3 players are QBs. Not sure what, if anything this means. But it’s interesting. It is worth noting that these 3 teams have a combined record of 11-25, with the 49ers and the Browns in the hunt for the first pick overall.

The two teams with the lowest Most Important player ratings were the Packers and Raiders, with 86 IMP for MLB Cushing and QB Griffin III, respectively. Again, don’t think this means anything, as Green Bay is 10-2, but Oakland is 5-7.

Only 6 teams didn’t have a Most Important player with 90 or higher. However, of the 26 teams that did have a player 90 or higher, only a handful had multiple 90+ players. Chicago and Baltimore had 3 players with 90+. For Chicago, they are QB Klein, DE Clowney, and CB Claiborne. In Ravens Country, the top players are OT Oher, DE Bowers, and QB Flacco. For those keeping track, Chicago is 6-6 and Baltimore is 8-4. Other teams with multiple 90+ players were Washington, Detroit, Carolina, St. Louis (both of which were MLBs), Arizona, Denver, and San Diego.

Tampa Bay was an odd outlier in that it was the only team that didn’t have a second player whose importance was 80 or above. The Bucs are 8-4 so it doesn’t seem to matter that much.

For the least important player on each team, we saw a lot more variety. Here’s the position breakdown for Least Important: 8 OTs, 5 MLBs, 5 CBs, 4 OLBs, 3 Cs, 3 Gs, 3 QBs, and 1 DT, FB, HB, P, TE. Many of these players, are rookies, unsurprisingly.

CB Xavier Young of the Vikings is the most least important player, if that makes sense. His 29 rating far exceeds many of the least important players.

So who is the Least Important player in the league? That honor would seem to fall to CB Marquis Johnson of Chicago. Johnson has a 4 IMP rating, which is kind of incredible.

Johnson has an interesting history. He was an unrestricted FA signing this year, after being out of football the past 4 seasons. Johnson is 30 years old and was drafted in the 7th round pick by the Rams in 2010, but not signed. New England signed him in 2011, but did not play. He was then signed by the Giants in 2012 and played in 10 games over the next two seasons, recording 11 tackles, 1 deflection and 12 catches allowed. He was released during the 2014 preseason. Johnson was out of football until this season when the Bears came looking for help in the secondary. Despite his lack of "importance," Johnson has been relatively productive while appearing in 9 games. During that time he’s made 13 tackles, recorded a sack, deflected 5 passes and allowed 8 catches.

Anyway, that’s what I found out. Again, I don’t think any of this means anything…but was kinda cool.
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