Fantasy Football: Wonderlic Test Inadequate
Aside from all the stats and formulas that are used to draft a fantasy football player, you may now want to take a player’s scores from the Wonderlic Test into account as well.
The validity of the test in predicting future success for NFL players is widely debated. To posses average intelligence, an individual taking the test would need to score a 20 or higher. Even though former quarterback Donnovan McNabb scored a 14, which was the lowest of the five quarterbacks that were selected in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, he still had the longest and most successful career of any of those five quarterbacks that scored higher than him.
Even if you don’t consider this test a very important part of an individual’s football career, it still could have a huge impact on the draft order of Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. The average quarterback reportedly scores a 24 on the Wonderlic, but it has been suggested that teams look for a signal caller that score at least a 21 on the test. With a lackluster performance at his Pro Day, apparent struggles at private workouts and a Wonderlic score of 20, Bridgewater could fall to the later rounds and become a backup on an established team rather than a starter for the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns or Minnesota Vikings.
If Bridgewater is a backup, he obviously has no fantasy value other than in dynasty leagues. Mr. Manziel, however, scored a 32 on the test. If you look at the recent quarterbacks who have taken the test, however, you can start to see why the results are mixed. Rising stars Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick each scored a 37, but fantasy duds Blaine Gabbert scored a 42 and Christian Ponder scored a 35.
The fact that Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo have all scored higher than 35 does lead me to believe that you want your starting quarterback to at least score higher on the test rather than lower. The test covers areas in problem solving and learning ability, which are two very important factors in the success of a quarterback. A signal caller needs to adapt and continuously learn the game, so in that aspect the test has some relevance for fantasy success.
I would never suggest that a fantasy player drafts a quarterback based on scores from a test like this, but I wouldn’t completely ignore it either.