Wowee that’s a quarter of the season gone already for 30 NFL franchises and already we’ve seen 39 quarterbacks take to the field and play meaningful snaps for their team, including four of the five first round picks from this year’s draft who are already their team’s starters (more on them later). Week 4 saw an uptick in overall QB play, with the average QB Index rating increasing 2% from 52.8% to 54.8%, leaving us with a season to date rating of 53.0%, +2.6% against the same period last year.
The record breaking pace of touchdown passes continues, with 228 having been thrown over the first four weeks, 23 more than the next highest year in NFL history (2013, 205 TD passes) and 42 more than last year (186). The 108 interceptions through 4 weeks are the 4th fewest in NFL history and mean for the first time ever, the touchdown to interception ratio is greater than 2:1.
Onto the individual quarterbacks themselves and it was a great week for both Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky, who between them combined for over 800 passing yards and 11 touchdown passes in their teams’ wins over the Vikings and Buccaneers respectively. Goff started Week 4 with a bang as he led an offensive masterclass where he had three receivers go over 100 yards as he posted a 95.5% rating, the second highest rating of the season (Ryan Fitzpatrick 97.0%, week 1). For context, ratings over 90% make up less than 1% of all quarterback grades since 1970 (238 of 24440 individual performances). Goff now leads the overall QB Index standings for 2018 with an average rating of 76.5%. Goff got off to a hot start last season too, posting a 71.6% rating through his first four weeks, but really looks to have taken his game to the next level this year.
Mitchell Trubisky was not to be left in the shade as he posted his breakout performance as the Bears’ signal caller with a 92.4% rating of his own. In his short career, it was Trubisky’s best ever in terms of yards (354) and touchdowns (6). He’d only ever thrown more than one touchdown in a game once before, and that was just two weeks ago. The 43.46 fantasy points were the most by any quarterback this season and was the 10th highest by a QB ever. Trubisky sits 22nd in the overall rankings with an average rating of 52.3% but will have to wait until Week 6 to push on as the Bears face a bye this week.
Matt Ryan posted a QB Index rating of over 80% for the second week running, but again finished on the losing side as the Falcons lost to a last second touchdown pass from Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Ryan sits third in the overall standings and is playing at the level of his 2016 MVP performance through four games.
After an opening three games where Andrew Luck was looking a shadow of his former self as a passer, he exploded against the Texans this week, passing for 464 yards, the highest individual passing performance of his career. His 6.1 yards per attempt for the season to date remain the lowest in the league but it was a massive improvement this week.
Pat Mahomes showed a different skillset this week as he posted his lowest rating of the season with 53.0% as the Chiefs stayed perfect, but led a 4th quarter comeback in doing so. Mahomes sits second in the overall rankings and faces the toughest test of his young career in Week 5 as the Chiefs host the Jaguars at Arrowhead.
At the bottom end of the quarterback performances, it was a rough week if you had the first name Ryan. Ryan Tannehill crashed back to earth after his 92.4% rating in Week 3 by posting a 15.2% rating in Week 4 as the Dolphins were squished by the Patriots. Most impressive was his fantasy performance where an interception and a lost fumble countered his 100 passing yards to leave him with exactly 0.00 points. For the other Ryan, the Fitzmagic has well and truly evaporated as the Bucs were demolished by the Bears. Fitzpatrick posted a 25.8% rating, just 3.04 fantasy points, and was benched for Jameis Winston who is a shoe-in to be named starter after the Bucs’ bye week this week.
In terms of the rookies, it was Josh Rosen who led the way in his first start, posting a rating of 48.5% as he so nearly led the Cardinals to their first win of the season. Both he and Baker Mayfield (39.4%) were unlucky losers this week, with Sam Darnold (25.8%) and Josh Allen (4.5%) struggling as they both suffered big defeats on the road this week. Allen is only kept off the bottom spot of the overall rankings by his team mate Nathan Peterman, though as the season progresses I will drop off the rankings those players with limited playing time to compare the regular starters better.
Heading into Week 5, here are my top 10 fantasy options based on the matchups this week:
- Matt Ryan @ Pittsburgh
- Ben Roethlisberger vs Atlanta
- Alex Smith @ New Orleans
- Philip Rivers vs Oakland
- Carson Wentz vs Minnesota
- Kirk Cousins @ Philadelphia
- Russell Wilson vs LA Rams
- Derek Carr @ LA Chargers
- Joe Flacco @ Cleveland
- Ryan Tannehill to bounce back @ Cincinnati
QB Index Ratings - Week 4
QB Index Ratings - Season to Date
Do the rankings match up with your views of the league’s signal callers? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on twitter @PaddiCooper