OK, so in a manner of speaking, we’re pushing the reset button on The World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking.

You might have read that we changed how our Total Points player value stat evaluates run plays. These changes were to incorporate relatively new data points like defensive line techniques and the combination of initial and eventual run directions allow us to evaluate players on both sides of the ball with much more confidence as to who was involved on each play and to what extent.

For example, we now divide responsibility for the yards before contact (plus expected yards after contact) so that the rusher has more responsibility if he is contacted late in the play and less if he is contacted early in the play. Previously the distribution was a consistent amount across all kinds of runs.

The ramifications of this were small in some areas and large in one. Lamar Jackson gained 18 Rushing Points Earned in 2019, giving him a league-leading 46. For those of you who thought it was odd that Jackson ranked in the 20s in the World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking, you’ll see shortly that’s no longer a concern.

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 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.

Russell Wilson’s not a Top 3 QB

Most of the other changes to the No. 1 Quarterback Ranking to emanate from these changes to rushing calculations were small. But even small moves loom large.

For example, Russell Wilson, who seemed locked in as a Top-3 quarterback, has now been ranked No. 4 or 5 for five straight weeks. There has definitely been some slippage to Wilson’s game. He’s had a negative Points Above Average four times in his last seven games.

Wilson has been usurped by Deshaun Watson, who has ranked No. 3 in four consecutive weeks with our updated calculations. Despite the Texans’ massive struggles, Watson has had a season befitting an MVP contender. He’s had a positive Points Above Average in all but one game in 2020.

The current Top 5 is

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Deshaun Watson
  4. Russell Wilson
  5. Tom Brady

Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray

Last week’s No. 1 Quarterback Rankings had Jackson as No. 22. Had we been using our updated rushing system a week ago, he would have ranked No. 15. Here’s a look at how the top 20 would have looked last week had we gone by the updated system.

 Week 14 Old System RankWeek 14 New System Rank
Patrick Mahomes11
Aaron Rodgers22
Deshaun Watson43
Russell Wilson34
Derek Carr65
Tom Brady56
Drew Brees87
Philip Rivers78
Josh Allen119
Kirk Cousins910
Ryan Tannehill1011
Kyler Murray1812
Matt Ryan1213
Teddy Bridgewater1314
Lamar Jackson2215
Dak Prescott1516
Justin Herbert1917
Matthew Stafford1418
Baker Mayfield1719
Jared Goff1620

And since we’re using it now, we can tell you that he currently stands at No. 12 after competing 17-of-22 passes including three touchdowns in a rout of the Jaguars. Jackson’s ranking still took a dip this season. He was as high as No. 4 through games played in Week 3, but instead of dropping into the 20s as he did in the previous system, his fall was only to No. 18.

Jackson has recovered part of his ranking with five straight games with a positive Points Above Average.

Kyler Murray entered Week 15 ranked No. 18 in our old system and No. 12 in the updated system. This will sound odd on the surface, but despite throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns, Murray finished with a negative Points Above Average due to an interception and two fumbles. He now stands at No. 16.

Murray fell four spots in part because of his performance but also because of circumstance. The three quarterbacks directly in front of him, Matt Ryan, Baker Mayfield, and Justin Herbert, all had big games in Week 15.

Long Climb up the (Tanne)hill

After throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for two more in a Week 15 win against the Lions, Ryan Tannehill is ranked No. 9, the highest he’s ranked in the three years of games that our system tracks.

We’ve previously written of the parity that exists outside the elite quarterbacks and Tannehill is the latest to be riding a wave that is still on its way up. He ranked No. 17 three weeks ago, but his big game in defeat against the Browns started a run of three straight standout games in which he’s recorded eight touchdown passes, one interception, and no fumbles.

Tannehill ranks second in Passing Points Earned the last three weeks, trailing only Mayfield. Much of that value has come on intermediate-length passes. Tannehill is 17-of-25 on throws 11-to-19 yards downfield and ranks third in that time and ranks third in Passing Points Earned on those throws.

Here are the updated rankings, with all references being to our updated evaluation system:

World’s No. 1 Quarterback Rankings – Through 2020 Week 15

RkPlayerPoints Above Avg Per 60Last RkStart Of Season Rk
1Patrick Mahomes8.111
2Aaron Rodgers7.222
3Deshaun Watson5.0314
4Russell Wilson4.043
5Tom Brady3.9611
6Derek Carr3.555
7Josh Allen3.1924
8Philip Rivers3.1812
9Ryan Tannehill2.31123
10Drew Brees2.274
11Kirk Cousins2.1108
12Lamar Jackson1.8156
13Matt Ryan1.41310
14Baker Mayfield1.31935
15Justin Herbert0.917N/A
16Kyler Murray0.91217
17Matthew Stafford0.61816
18Teddy Bridgewater0.51422
19Dak Prescott0.3167
20Taysom Hill-0.32118
21Ryan Fitzpatrick-0.32213
22Jared Goff-0.62015
23Jacoby Brissett-0.7239
24Ben Roethlisberger-1.12436
25Tua Tagovailoa-1.126N/A
26Joe Burrow-1.525N/A
27Jimmy Garoppolo-1.82720
28Marcus Mariota-2.24340
29Cam Newton-2.22828
30Matt Moore-2.32925
31Chase Daniel-2.43026
32Gardner Minshew-2.53641
33Jeff Driskel-2.53131
34Brett Hundley-2.63232
35Matt Schaub-2.63433
36Blake Bortles-2.63534
37David Blough-2.73743
38Nate Sudfeld-2.73844
39Paxton Lynch-2.74047
40David Fales-2.74150
41DeShone Kizer-2.74249
42Sean Mannion-2.74451
43Joshua Dobbs-2.74552
44Josh McCown-2.74655
45Cody Kessler-2.74856
46Phillip Walker-2.747N/A
47Blaine Gabbert-2.74959
48AJ McCarron-2.85058
49Jameis Winston-2.85130
50Andy Dalton-2.85657
51Matt Barkley-2.85263
52Kyle Allen-2.95374
53Tyrod Taylor-2.95462
54Garrett Gilbert-2.955N/A
55C.J. Beathard-2.95754
56Nathan Peterman-2.96075
57Mason Rudolph-2.95865
58Case Keenum-2.95938
59Jalen Hurts-3.061N/A
60Colt McCoy-3.07570
61Devlin Hodges-3.16369
62Joe Flacco-3.16461
63Drew Lock-3.13353
64Brian Hoyer-3.16568
65Jarrett Stidham-3.266N/A
66Eli Manning-3.26772
67Mike Glennon-3.36839
68Brett Rypien-3.369N/A
69Robert Griffin III-3.37060
70Brandon Allen-3.47166
71Daniel Jones-3.57271
72Ben DiNucci-3.573N/A
73Josh Rosen-3.67476
74Nick Mullens-3.66237
75Kendall Hinton-3.676N/A
76Will Grier-3.77777
77Dwayne Haskins-3.87929
78Alex Smith-3.87821
79Nick Foles-4.08027
80Ryan Finley-4.58178
81Mitchell Trubisky-4.88267
82Jake Luton-5.083N/A
83Carson Wentz-5.18419
84Sam Darnold-5.98542