This offseason, I unveiled my ranking method nfl quarterbacks by reporting on their professional performance in a unique and properly weighted way. I called him PFF quarterback analytical ranking.
The analysis used the best advanced stats available to judge the quarterback’s play and properly weigh the confidence we should have in a signalman’s performance based on sample size.
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I applied the same framework to quarterbacks throughout the 2021 season, keeping an eye on how each quarterback’s performance for the current year aligns with our best estimate of their skill level. based on his entire career.
Even within 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 much of their offense and too little credit to those who dominate as No.1 on their team.
I am using a statistical technique called Bayesian updating to resolve sample size issues. This is a method that PFF has used a number of times in the past, especially when we looked at a number of different draft course, why the New York Jets I needed quarterback draft in 2021 and if Carson Wentz had a lot to offer a new team in 2021.
You can find details about the implementation of the Bayesian update here, including an intro on how we build a posterior belief (or projection) based on the quarterback’s historical results, then update the beliefs (projections) for each quarterback with their actual NFL results on a play-by-play basis.
We used these projections for predict MVP probabilities last offseason, identification Green Bay Packers strategist Aaron Rodgers as a high value bet.
CONTEXTUALIZE 2021 PERFORMANCE
Before diving straight into the final PFF Analytical Quarterback Rankings after the 2021 NFL Regular Season, I’ve provided some visualizations to give proper context to how these quarterbacks fared in PFF, EPA rank. per game and some important data that shows the potential for regression on the move.
Matthew Stafford, Jimmy garoppolo and Aaron Rodgers are more effective than the PFF grade, while the reverse is true for Joe terrier and Daniel jones.
One of the main drivers of the EPA’s overall effectiveness is quarterback performance in the third and fourth downs. The reason why these games have such a big impact is that the advantage for conversions is huge. The third and middle or third and long plays determine whether a team should kick and essentially return the ball or settle for a basket rather than advancing for a touchdown.
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Because late downs are so powerful, the quarterback efficiency range on these games is much higher and has a more substantial impact than previous downs. Jimmy garoppolo and Kyler murray were able to perform well in these high leverage situations.
Another contextual element for these small sample results is play under pressure. Over the course of a season, a quarterback needs to play well with a clean pocket under pressure to lead the NFL in overall efficiency.
Passes with clean pockets are more stable, so the hope would be quarterbacks with a strong clean pocket game – like Aaron Rodgers – will play better under pressure the rest of the season. There are certainly some quarterbacks who can always play better under pressure than others, but it can be difficult to identify them in a small sample.
QUARTERBACK 2021 ANALYTICAL RANKS
The table below ranks quarterbacks based on a combination of the Bayesian estimates for PFF score and EPA per game based on what we saw during the 2021 NFL regular season.
I have included the number of sets in the first column of data for context, along with the separate rankings of the rating and LFS, total rank and the previous week’s rank.
The final column contains the career Bayesian rankings of each quarterback, updated from my off-season item based on what happened this year.
The ageless wonder Tom brady sneaks past Aaron Rodgers to end the season as the best quarterback for 2021. Brady enjoyed a strong performance in Week 18, and the model is more confident in his outperformance with a 175-higher play sample than Rodgers.
Joe terrier and Justin herbert flip spots over the past week, but both fan bases can be sure they’ve found their franchise quarterbacks. The big hike of the week was Dak prescott go to n ° 8 and Patrick muhammad barely in the top 10.