Evaluating NFL Quarterbacks in an Entirely New Way
Football Analytics Today presents our QB FAT Grades for Week 2
Last week, we debuted our NFL Quarterback FAT Grades using the first week from the 2016 season — we explained the process in how we evaluate QBs and end up with FAT Grades on a weekly basis. Just to recap, a group of us that grew up together in sunny South Florida developed an idea into a living and breathing football entertainment and analysis platform. Our goal is to bring fun to an audience that may be skeptical or intimidated by the thought of using numbers and analytics to evaluate the unpredictability of sports. We’re not some suit and tie folks with a calculator. We eat, breathe, and sleep the spirit and community of sports — football in particular.
So, we’ve been grinding to develop a Quarterback grading system that goes beyond the post-game stat-line. An evaluation tool that reviews every single play of every single Quarterback (that plays) of every single game.
Now that the FATties — our use of FAT is not only fun but it keeps our fitness game on point as well — are off and running we continue to find instances in which are QB grading system can be refined and represent the true game play of these NFL Quarterbacks. That’s the beauty of analyzing every single play — we get to look beyond the box score and take into account the QB’s ability to escape pressure, extend the play, and throw on the run to a wide receiver 26 yards down field in which the receiver drops a perfectly placed ball.
Our Week Two FAT Grades
To remind everyone, this will be a continuous process of tweaking our grading system until the true game play of an NFL Quarterback is captured.
We won’t be stopping at Quarterbacks. After we’ve finalized our grading system we will move on to other offensive skill positions.
The night before we published these grades, the FAT Team was on a call and reviewing the numbers when we noticed some situations that need to be accounted for going forward:
In case of injuries or blowouts, QBs are pulled and the backups come in to relieve. The problem is, the backup-QB may not get as many offensive snaps or chances to showcase their skill (ex: the OC decides to run the ball or clock-manage). Therefore, in order to account for these circumstances:
- We will be taking the total FAT Score (total points given to the QB for that game using our Player Actions)
- and the total number of plays the QB was involved in — by involved, we mean the plays the QB effected the outcome of the play (throwing the ball, scrambling, getting sacked, causing a penalty, etc.). We use our Player Actions to score these plays.
- We divide the Total FAT Score by the total number of plays the QB received a Player Action score
(We put out a video on Twitter and Instagram stories explaining this as well)
After grading week two of the 2016 season, here’s our our QB FAT Grades:
- FAT Score is the the total points for that QB for that week’s game.
- FAT Grade is our normalized FAT Score that shows the QB’s performance based on an even playing field. (See our brief explanation of normalization from last week’s article)
- The reason the QBs grades are so close and high is because of the small amount of data we have. With only 32 games graded, our sample size does not yet reflect all the situations that’s required to grade on an even playing field. It will in due time.
Our Changes Following Week 2
- Divide total FAT Score (the QB’s total points for the game) by the number of plays the QB was evaluated using our player actions
- Added action for when QB recovers a botched snap
- Evaluating throws that cannot be determined due to defensive holding or defensive pass interference that was clearly missed as well as instances where the intended receiver tripped or slipped while in route to the ball
We Are Just Beginning and We’re Pumped About It!
As you read this, we are in the process of grading week three games. We will continue to build our player grading system looking for ways to improve our Player Actions and the way we capture data. We truly would appreciate your feedback as our goal is not only to fairly evaluate NFL players but to involve the football community from the ground up.
Looking forward to hearing your feedback.
Twitter and Instagram: @FAT_TeamStats