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Who are the best passers in the EFL Championship judging by PFF metrics?

2NHECT2 Swansea, UK. 21st Feb, 2023. Matt Grimes of Swansea City in action. EFL Skybet championship match, Swansea city v Stoke City at the Stadium in Swansea, Wales on Tuesday 21st February 2023. this image may only be used for Editorial purposes. Editorial use only, license required for commercial use. No use in betting, games or a single club/league/player publications. pic by Lewis Mitchell/Andrew Orchard sports photography/Alamy Live news Credit: Andrew Orchard sports photography/Alamy Live News

Using PFF data and grades, we will aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the best passers in the EFL Championship this season.

PFF Passing Grade:

PFF grades each event on a -2 to +2 scale with increments of 0.5, with 0 being the expected grade. For example, an unpressured pass to an open target that is completed earns a 0 grade, while a pass that breaks through a defensive line under pressure is above expectation and likely rewarded with a positive grade.

Unlike traditional data, PFF measures “performance relative to expectation” instead of just traits or measurable factors. The system looks at every play, creating a large sample size that eliminates bias and identifies undervalued players while avoiding player hype. The grading process evaluates players objectively, regardless of perceived ability.

Here are the best PFF passing grades from the Championship this season:

Player Name Team Position PFF passing grade Events
Matt Grimes Swansea CM 99.6 2,147
Jean Michaël Seri Hull City CM 92.3 1,087
Josh Cullen Burnley CM 91.0 1,538
Jay Fulton Swansea CM 88.8 1,089
Connor Roberts Burnley FB 88.6 1,369

Line-breaking passes completed:

There is one clear standout when it comes to line-breaking passers in the Championship, Matt Grimes’ 410 are more than any player in Europe’s top 5 leagues, his 10.4 completed line-breaking passes per 90 is also third among Europe’s best, with only Marco Verratti (14.6) and Toni Kroos (12.0) with a higher tally. (Minimum 800 minutes played).

Player Name Team Position LB passes completed LB passes completed per-90
Matt Grimes Swansea CM 410 10.4
Gustavo Hamer Coventry City CM 249 7.6
Jonny Howson Middlesbrough CM 235 6.1
Taylor Harwood-Bellis Burnley CB 231 8.2
Ben Cabango Swansea CB 225 6.1

Through ball passes completed:

Australian Riley McGree leads the league in through ball passes completed. Since Michael Carrick took the manager’s job Middlesbrough have averaged 2.26 points per game (which beats Vincent Kompany’s 2.24 points per game with Burnley)

Player Name Team Position TB passes completed TB passes completed per-90
Riley McGree Middlesbrough WAM 48 1.5
Max Aarons Norwich City FB 41 1.1
Gustavo Hamer Coventry City CM 38 1.2
Grady Diangana West Bromwich Albion WAM 37 1.6
Kasey Palmer Bristol City WAM 33 1.6

Key Passes (passes leading to a shot at goal):

Despite playing in just 77% of available minutes, QPR’s IIiais Chair ranks second in key passes completed, he has been involved in 32% of QPR’s goals this season, losing Chair to injury has been a contributing factor to their poor run of form 

Player Name Team Position Key passes completed Key passes completed per 90
Ryan Manning Swansea FB 83 2.3
Iliais Chair QPR WAM 79 2.5
John Swift West Bromwich Albion WAM 76 2.5
Oliver Norwood Sheffield United CM 70 1.8
Ryan Giles Middlesbrough FB 64 1.7


Below is every single player in the Championship plotted against their PFF passing grade and event involvements in the league this season:


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