- New names in new places: Many shake-ups at starting quarterback added a handful of names to the rankings, as our system accounts for their smaller sample sizes.
- Watson set to join the list: Deshaun Watson will be added to the 2022 rankings after his first game. For context, his career ranking would be third, behind only Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
- Tua maintains top spot: Tua Tagovailoa is still the leader in overall ranking, but his sample-adjusted efficiency (EPA/play) is now below that of Patrick Mahomes.
- Prescott trending up: Dak Prescott is the biggest riser of the week, moving up three spots to No. 8 after back-to-back strong performances.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
For these rankings, I utilize a statistical technique called Bayesian Updating to solve the sample size issues. It is a method PFF has used many times in the past, notably when we looked at a number of different draft classes and why the New York Jets needed to draft a quarterback in 2021.
With Bayesian Updating, we can use the dynamics of the historical quarterback market and individual results to project their PFF grades and expected points added (EPA) per play. Even in a single season, there can be drastic differences in sample sizes for quarterbacks. This means that comparing unadjusted rate stats side by side can give too much credit to those who aren’t a big part of their offense and too little credit for those who dominate as their team's No. 1.
You can find details of how Bayesian Updating is implemented here, including a primer on how we build a posterior belief (or projection) based on historical quarterback results and then update the beliefs (projections) for each quarterback with their actual NFL results on a play-by-play basis.
CONTEXTUALIZE 2022 PERFORMANCE
Before I dive straight into the PFF analytical quarterback rankings, I’ve provided some visualizations to give proper context to how these quarterbacks performed in PFF grade and EPA per play and some important data splits that show the potential for regression moving forward.
Tua Tagovailoa maintains the top grading and efficiency while on his bye week. Quarterbacks whose efficiency most exceeded our grading were Tagovailoa and Jimmy Garoppolo. On the flip side, Davis Mills and Aaron Rodgers have graded much better than their expected points based efficiency.