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NFL Week 5 Quarterback Rankings

Tampa, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) drops back to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

  • Mahomes resigns supreme: A strong performance on Sunday Night Football elevated Patrick Mahomes to the top ranking for 2022, and he’s had the top career-based projection for multiple years running.
  • Suprise in the top five: Geno Smith breaks into the top five for the season and has moved all the way up to 20th in career-based projection from last season to the start of this one.
  • Fallers: The biggest fallers of the week were Trevor Lawrence and Matthew Stafford, both were in the top 10 a week ago but now sit outside of the top 20.
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.

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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.

First, quarterbacks such as Kenny Pickett have very few plays to base these numbers on, so their performances should be seen as highly volatile going forward.

Geno Smith has the best PFF offensive grade and solidly ranks in the top five in efficiency. Quarterbacks whose efficiency most exceeded our grading were Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Trevor Lawrence. On the flip side, Davis Mills and Aaron Rodgers have graded much better than their expected points-based efficiency.


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