- Allen regains top spot: There was more shifting around than significant movement at the top of the 2022 quarterback rankings this week, as Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes switched places, with the former rising to No. 1.
- Smith rising while Stafford falls: The biggest surprises this year are Geno Smith moving all the way up to No. 3 while Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford has fallen to the third worst ranking in the NFL.
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.
This week, I’m including multiple quarterbacks from teams if each has more than 40 dropbacks this season.
Geno Smith has the best PFF offensive grade and is solidly in the top five in efficiency. Quarterbacks whose efficiency most exceeded our grading were Jimmy Garoppolo, Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Allen. On the flip side, Davis Mills and Baker Mayfield have graded better than their expected points based efficiency.