Unexpected Points

Unexpected Points

For those of you looking for the Adjusted Quarterback Efficiency (AQE) numbers, it might be a week (or two) before I have the data to produce them. I’m figuring it all out now and appreciate the patience. I am producing a slimmed down version that I’m calling Luck-Adjusted Efficiency.

You can find all the previous weeks’ versions of the Bayesian Quarterback Rankings here.

COMPARING GRADES AND EFFICIENCY

PFF grades aren’t part of the analysis, but I find it helpful to make not of how they align with EPA per play, as many contextual elements of quarterback play (drops, interception-worthy throws, easier throws that become big gains, etc) are part of the grading methodology, but aren’t accounted for in EPA. At the same time, I think EPA does a vastly superior job of weighing what is and isn’t important in points-based results.

Brock Purdy had another elite efficiency performance coming off of a bye, which extended his lead in EPA per play, and even earned him the second best PFF grade of the week. Grading for Purdy has been slowly catching up to his efficiency, moving up to 12th among quarterback with at least 120 dropbacks, from 18th through Week 6. I’m not sure Purdy’s grade will ever match his efficiency ranking, but he’s within striking distance of of the top-6 in grading: Jared Goff, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes (Kirk Cousins will drop off with increasing dropback thresholds).

Consensus MVP odds have Mahomes and Jalen Hurts leading the race, with Jackson and Tagovailoa not far behind. Purdy seems very likely to be the EPA per play leader at the end of the season, though perhaps on lower volume and not the total EPA leader. Either way, it would be a rare miss for EPA-based efficiency matching MVP markets. That said, Purdy has better consensus MVP odds (+2500) than the Goff, the grading leader (+3000).

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While both metrics remain very useful, the bigger the sample, the more I tend to trust EPA-based efficiency as the marker of strong play over PFF grading. Since 2016, the quarterback who was the EPA per play leader aligned with MVP every season, but PFF offensive grade didn’t match MVP last year (Josh Allen first, Patrick Mahomes second), in 2021 (Tom Brady first, Aaron Rodgers fourth) and in 2018 (Drew Brees first, Mahomes second).

Both metrics missed on MVP in 2015 (Cam Newton was sixth in EPA per play and fifth in grading) and hit in 2014 and 2013 (Adrian Peterson was MVP in 2012), but EPA per play matched quarterback MVP in 2011 while grading didn’t (Brees first, Rodgers second). Grading and EPA-based efficiency are highly correlated, but the enhanced measurement of value in EPA might make the incremental difference in getting a better read on quarterback play.

WEEK 11 PROJECTED EFFICIENCY

These results are the ranking for the go-forward projections of quarterback efficiency this season. I also included the EPA per play rankings for each quarterback over the last five seasons (minimum 250 dropbacks in previous years, 120 in 2023) so you can see the evidence going into the projections.

Older data is decayed over time, so the 2023 EPA per play data matters more than those from pre-2020. That said, older data can’t be fully discounted, or else you miss bounce-back performers of great quarterback returning to form, like Aaron Rodgers in 2020 and 2021.

I’m going to stick with Mac Jones for the Patriots and Taylor Heinicke for the Falcons as both teams go into a bye and are probably more likely than not to make a quarterback change. I jumped the gun on Justin Fields by adding him back last week, but he’s going to start in Week 11.

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