World’s No. 1 QB Update: Baker’s Cooking

By Mark Simon and Alex Vigderman

Last week we wrote about how messy The World’s No. 1 QB Rankings got once you got past the top three quarterbacks.

This past weekend proved our point. Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers each had above-average Points Above Average (PAA) in their respective games. Of the next six quarterbacks, four had below-average numbers and the other two (Tom Brady, Drew Brees) didn’t play.

The World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking is based on a model devised by Bill James to evaluate The World’s No. 1 Starting Pitcher. Bill’s model was based on cumulative evaluation of individual starts over an extended time period using the metric Game Score.

The World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking uses our player value stat, Total Points to make a cumulative evaluation of game performance over a three-year period. The key to our calculation is Points Above Average, the statistical underpinning of Total Points that is centered at zero so that positive numbers are above average and negative numbers are below average.

Success over time is key to maintaining a good ranking. Prolonged inactivity results in a ranking drop. The recent performances carry the most weight.

Tannehill and Mayfield move up

So let’s talk about something other than the top of the list, shall we? Let’s touch on the two quarterbacks who had the best games of Week 13. Coincidentally, they were going head-to-head.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill moved up three spots from No. 13 to No. 10 after throwing for 389 yards in a losing effort against the Browns. This is the first time that Tannehill has been positioned this high in the rankings in the three seasons for which we have data.

Tannehill looked like someone who was going to be a Top 10 quarterback in Weeks 5 and 6, but then slipped, totaling -4 Points Above Average in his next six games. Despite that, over that span he still moved up a spot in the rankings, which speaks to the parity of quarterbacks once you get past the top few.

But the big mover in the game was Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from No. 22 to No. 15. Mayfield, who was ranked No. 26 two weeks ago, has had two straight huge games against the Jaguars and Titans, respectively. Mayfield had a 93.5% on-target percentage against the Titans, the fourth-highest percentage for any quarterback with at least 20 pass attempts in a game this season.

This week’s most notable dropper was Justin Herbert, who had made a nice steady climb to No. 12 in recording eight games with a positive Points Above Average in his first ten appearances. But Sunday, Herbert had the worst game of any QB this week and the fifth-worst of any QB this season against the Patriots. (-17.6 Points Above Average). This is an easy one to evaluate on the surface. Herbert’s 53 pass attempts were the most of any quarterback with a completion percentage below 50% this season. He also didn’t help matters with two interceptions and three sacks.

In this World’s No. 1 QB system, a QB with limited experience can’t take that kind of hit without suffering significant damage to his statistical ledger. In Herbert’s case, that drops him to No. 21.

Here are the updated rankings.

RkPlayerPAA Per 60 SnapsLastStart of Season
1Patrick Mahomes8.911
2Aaron Rodgers7.322
3Russell Wilson4.233
4Deshaun Watson3.8415
5Derek Carr3.654
6Tom Brady3.4611
7Drew Brees2.786
8Kirk Cousins2.775
9Philip Rivers2.4910
10Ryan Tannehill1.81322
11Josh Allen1.51039
12Matt Ryan1.4119
13Teddy Bridgewater0.31521
14Dak Prescott0.2147
15Baker Mayfield0.12241
16Matthew Stafford0.01816
17Jared Goff-0.22114
18Ryan Fitzpatrick-0.41713
19Kyler Murray-0.61617
20Ben Roethlisberger-0.61935
21Justin Herbert-0.712N/A
22Jacoby Brissett-0.92012
23Lamar Jackson-1.4238
24Taysom Hill-1.52418
25Jimmy Garoppolo-1.82520
26Joe Burrow-1.926N/A
27Tua Tagovailoa-2.027N/A
28Matt Moore-2.42824
29Chase Daniel-2.42925
30Gardner Minshew-2.63130
31Matt Schaub-2.73332
32Jeff Driskel-2.73429
33Blake Bortles-2.73533
34Brett Hundley-2.83640
35Nate Sudfeld-2.83742
36Trevor Siemian-2.83844
37Paxton Lynch-2.84045
38David Fales-2.84147
39DeShone Kizer-2.84249
40Joshua Dobbs-2.84350
41David Blough-2.84452
42Josh McCown-2.84557
43Jalen Hurts-2.8N/AN/A
44Drew Lock-2.83236
45Sean Mannion-2.84653
46Cody Kessler-2.94756
47Marcus Mariota-2.94848
48Phillip Walker-2.949N/A
49AJ McCarron-2.95159
50Jameis Winston-2.95026
51Blaine Gabbert-2.95260
52Case Keenum-2.95327
53Matt Barkley-3.05461
54Garrett Gilbert-3.056N/A
55C.J. Beathard-3.05754
56Daniel Jones-3.05867
57Mike Glennon-3.03038
58Mason Rudolph-3.05965
59Nathan Peterman-3.16276
60Jarrett Stidham-3.160N/A
61Nick Mullens-3.16137
62Cam Newton-3.16831
63Joe Flacco-3.26358
64Tyrod Taylor-3.26464
65Devlin Hodges-3.26568
66Brian Hoyer-3.36669
67Eli Manning-3.46771
68Kyle Allen-3.46974
69Andy Dalton-3.47055
70Brett Rypien-3.571N/A
71Alex Smith-3.77323
72Robert Griffin III-3.75563
73Ben DiNucci-3.774N/A
74Colt McCoy-3.87270
75Brandon Allen-3.87566
76Josh Rosen-3.87677
77Kendall Hinton-3.978N/A
78Will Grier-3.97775
79Nick Foles-4.27928
80Dwayne Haskins-4.48034
81Ryan Finley-4.88278
82Mitchell Trubisky-4.98172
83Jake Luton-5.384N/A
84Carson Wentz-5.68319
85Sam Darnold-6.08551

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