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World’s No. 1 QB Rankings – Here comes Lamar Jackson

By MARK SIMON AND ALEX VIGDERMAN
In the last season-plus, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has bounced around The World’s No. 1 Quarterback Rankings a lot. He’s been as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 18. He ended the 2020 regular season at No. 8 but slipped to No. 12 to start 2021 after a rough game against the Bills in the AFC Divisional Round.

But he’s again gained ground after two strong starts to begin the 2021 season. Jackson’s now No. 7 after moving up five spots following a win over the Chiefs.

A reminder that 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 PAA, which as we previously noted is 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 most recent performances carry the most weight.

The current Top 8 are

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Tom Brady
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Derek Carr (up 3)
  6. Russell Wilson (down 1)
  7. Lamar Jackson (up 5)
  8. Justin Herbert (up 1)

A weird week for QB performances

Quarterback performances weren’t quite as impressive in Week 2 as they were in Week 1. Jackson’s was the second-best game by Points Above Average (PAA) for any quarterback last week, but eight games from Week 1 were better than Jackson’s.

By PAA, Daniel Jones had the best game in Week 2 (he had the third-highest percentage of catchable passes AND rushed for 95 yards). Jacoby Brissett, who came on after Tua Tagovailoa’s injury, ranked fourth, despite his team getting shut out. Brissett was 11-of-13 on third down and had the second-most Points Earned of any quarterback in those situations last week. He also gets credit for playing behind an offensive line that blew double-digit blocks in the passing game.

Weird week.

Top 8 maneuvering

The other big move among the Top 8 belonged to Derek Carr, who jumped three spots past Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, and Kirk Cousins. Carr had the third-highest PAA in Week 2 and continues to justify a ranking that is higher than many probably expected.

Allen’s drop from No. 6 to No. 10 is odd considering that his Bills beat the Dolphins, 35-0. Allen had the worst PAA showing for a starting quarterback who won in Week 2 (Justin Fields ranked lower but he didn’t start).

However, Allen completed only 17-of-33 passes. His percentage of passes that were catchable was second-lowest among quarterbacks with at least 10 pass attempts during the week (62%).

The kids (and some vets) were not alright

Speaking of Fields, Week 2 did a number on rookie quarterbacks, who had three of the four worst games last week by PAA (Matt Ryan was the lone veteran with them). As such, Fields (No. 79), Zach Wilson (No. 82), and Trevor Lawrence (No. 84) have long climbs ahead to respectability in these rankings.

Youngsters on the rise include Jones, who is now at No. 42 after a 25-spot jump and Justin Herbert, who moved up one spot into the Top 8.

Ryan continued to plummet, dropping to No. 17 as his Falcons are now 0-2. And Ben Roethlisberger, who has admitted he needs to be much, much better, now ranks No. 77. That’s a 24-spot drop since the start of the season.

The full rankings are below.

Rk Player PAA/60 Last Start of Season
1 Patrick Mahomes 7.30 1 2
2 Tom Brady 5.92 2 3
3 Aaron Rodgers 5.06 3 1
5 Derek Carr 4.01 8 7
6 Russell Wilson 3.31 5 5
7 Lamar Jackson 3.07 12 12
8 Justin Herbert 2.94 9 10
9 Kirk Cousins 2.90 7 9
10 Josh Allen 2.83 6 6
11 Matthew Stafford 2.53 10 14
12 Baker Mayfield 1.56 11 13
13 Kyler Murray 1.28 14 15
14 Teddy Bridgewater 1.02 16 18
15 Ryan Tannehill 0.40 17 8
16 Dak Prescott 0.28 15 17
17 Matt Ryan -0.28 13 11
19 Tyrod Taylor -0.61 21 56
20 Jacoby Brissett -0.69 24 21
22 Jimmy Garoppolo -1.20 19 25
24 Mac Jones -1.73 23 N/A
25 Taylor Heinicke -1.90 34 28
30 Jared Goff -2.32 32 31
32 Jalen Hurts -2.35 29 70
34 Joe Burrow -2.41 25 22
38 Tua Tagovailoa -2.56 38 50
41 Jameis Winston -2.60 26 55
42 Daniel Jones -2.61 77 71
58 Josh Rosen -2.94 58 58
70 Andy Dalton -3.50 75 47
75 Davis Mills -3.79 N/A N/A
77 Ben Roethlisberger -3.95 72 53
79 Justin Fields -4.10 N/A N/A
80 Sam Darnold -4.27 83 82
82 Zach Wilson -4.44 64 N/A
84 Trevor Lawrence -4.58 39 N/A
86 Carson Wentz -5.33 84 81

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