Best and Worst QBs Through 2 Weeks

We’re two weeks into the NFL season and there have been a fair share of surprises so far, particularly in the area of the quarterback. I decided to use a similar metric to measure quarterback value as I have for baseball players. I looked at Win Probability Added (WPA). This metric measures the change in Win Expectancy from one play to the next and credits or debits the player based on how much their action increased their team’s odds of winning. This means the players with the highest WPA have increased their team’s chances of winning the most. First let’s look at who has the highest WPA through the first two weeks.

Week 1 Week 2
Player Team Pass Rush Total Pass Rush Total 2 week Total
Ryan Fitzpatrick TB 31.36 0.81 32.17 18.47 -0.64 17.83 50
Pat Mahomes KC 13.27 2.16 15.43 24.58 -0.83 23.75 39.18
Philip Rivers LAC 18.95 0 18.95 17.85 -2.27 15.58 34.53
Kirk Cousins MIN 5.03 1.07 6.1 18.33 -0.46 17.87 23.97
Jared Goff LAR 7.77 -0.65 7.12 17.75 -2.82 14.93 22.05
Blake Bortles JAC -1.59 1.34 -0.25 18.76 3.12 21.88 21.63
Drew Brees NO 22.47 0 22.47 -0.52 -0.59 -1.11 21.36
Cam Newton CAR 2.11 0.8 2.91 10.79 3.95 14.74 17.65
Ben Roethlisberger PIT -7.57 1.85 -5.72 18.99 4.34 23.33 17.61
Aaron Rodgers GB 11.6 0.74 12.34 4.87 0.3 5.17 17.51

The chart above shows the top 10 quarterbacks in WPA so far. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Pat Mahomes lead the list and are not the quarterbacks that would be predicted to be atop this group. The chart also shows the breakdown of how much of the WPA comes from passing and how much from rushing. Here we see where this game-changing contribution is coming from. The breakdown can also be seen from week one to week two. I also thought it was interesting to see which quarterbacks have hurt their teams the most so the chart below shows the bottom 10 in WPA.

Player Team Pass Rush Total Pass Rush Total 2 week Total
Nathan Peterman BUF -19.76 -0.83 -20.59 0 0 0 -20.59
Sam Bradford ARI -11.88 -0.25 -12.13 -8.05 0 -8.05 -20.18
Eli Manning NYG -9.23 -0.44 -9.67 -2.84 3.14 0.3 -9.37
DeShone Kizer GB -8.13 0 -8.13 0 0 0 -8.13
Marcus Mariota TEN -9.43 1.6 -7.83 0 0 0 -7.83
Jimmy Garoppolo SF -9.21 0.64 -8.57 2.43 -0.59 1.84 -6.73
Nick Foles PHI -9.22 -0.57 -9.79 -1.23 4.88 3.65 -6.14
Mitch Trubisky CHI -8.23 1.8 -6.43 0.93 -0.52 0.41 -6.02
Russell Wilson SEA 1.21 0.17 1.38 -9.23 1.93 -7.3 -5.92
Tyrod Taylor CLE -17.19 8.05 -9.14 2.22 2.25 4.47 -4.67

When looking at this table we see three of the quarterbacks didn’t even play in week two. Nathan Peterman has been the worst and he was replaced by Josh Allen before even finishing week one. Sam Bradford and the Cardinals have been dreadful, Eli Manning remains a question in New York. The return of Carson Wentz for the Eagles will change the Eagles offense and Mitch Trubisky did get substantially better in week two for the Bears. The largest positive shifts from week one to week two can be seen below.

Player Team Week 1 Week 2 Difference
Ben Roethlisberger PIT -5.72 23.33 29.05
Matt Ryan ATL -6.09 20.11 26.2
Deshaun Watson HOU -10.08 12.88 22.96
Blake Bortles JAC -0.25 21.88 22.13
Derek Carr OAK -6.52 11.57 18.09

I’m not sure this means a whole lot after only two weeks and likely has more to do with the opponents these quarterbacks faced. The start of the year has had some unusual players leading the league, we’ll see if Ryan Fitzpatrick and Pat Mahomes can keep up what they’re doing.

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