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2020 Quarterback WAR and Fantasy Points Above Replacement Rankings

Ranking the quarterbacks based on their 2020 wins above replacement and their fantasy points above replacement.

A few years ago, my esteemed colleague Pete Rogers challenged me on a podcast to create a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) rating for the NFL to recreate the famous baseball metric. The quarterback position always seemed like the best place for this to fit given the quarterback’s influence on every game, and by manipulating my QPI data (Quarterback Passing Index), I have been able to create both a WAR and also WAA (Wins Above Average) rating to show how the players stack up against each other.

I have also been able to translate the data in a version for fantasy scoring called FPAR (Fantasy Points Above Replacement), showing how many additional points each has scored vs the league average and replacement quarterback.

2020 Quarterback WAR Rankings
NameTeamGamesWARRANKWAARANK
Aaron RodgersGNB168.7215.011
Deshaun WatsonHOU166.7523.362
Patrick MahomesKAN156.5633.353
Ryan TannehillTEN165.8742.624
Kirk CousinsMIN165.5252.335
Josh AllenBUF165.4662.286
Philip RiversIND165.4072.237
Tom BradyTAM165.3482.188
Drew BreesNOR124.4592.009
Justin HerbertLAC154.24101.4010
Derek CarrLVR154.18111.3611
Russell WilsonSEA164.02121.0712
Kyler MurrayARI163.52130.6515
Matthew StaffordDET153.48140.7614
Lamar JacksonBAL153.30150.6216
Matt RyanATL163.10160.3119
Baker MayfieldCLE163.02170.2420
Teddy BridgewaterCAR152.98180.3517
Ben RoethlisbergerPIT152.95190.3218
Jared GoffLAR152.74200.1521
Ryan FitzpatrickMIA92.71210.9813
Mitchell TrubiskyCHI91.3022-0.2023
Gardner Minshew IIJAX91.0923-0.3724
Nick MullensSFO100.9824-0.6125
Jimmy GaroppoloSFO60.8025-0.1922
Andy DaltonDAL100.6026-0.9327
Tua TagovailoaMIA90.5327-0.8426
Joe BurrowCIN100.4828-1.0228
Cam NewtonNWE150.1529-2.0232
Drew LockDEN120.1230-1.6130
Nick FolesCHI8-0.2731-1.3729
Alex SmithWAS8-0.6832-1.7231
Dwayne HaskinsWAS7-1.2833-2.0733
Daniel JonesNYG14-1.5334-3.2934
Sam DarnoldNYJ12-2.0835-3.4635
Carson WentzPHI12-2.8536-4.1036

From a WAR perspective, it was a spectacular season for Aaron Rodgers, who finished with a WAR rating of +8.72 games, meaning the Packers would have seen a record closer to 4-12 had he not played last season. I’ve record WAR ratings back to 2012 and the previous best was Matt Ryan’s MVP season from 2016 where his WAR rating was “only” 4.91 games.

At the bottom of the ratings were two quarterbacks who find themselves in a new location for 2020, Sam Darnold and Carson Wentz. Darnold’s -2.08 games rating was rough but was Wentz finished with a WAR rating of -2.85 games, the fourth worst I’ve rated behind Blake Bortles in 2015 (-3.24), Brock Osweiler in 2016 (-3.34) and DeShone Kizer in 2017 for the 0-16 Browns with -4.25. Good luck Colts fans!

2020 Quarterback FPAR Rankings
NameTeamGamesFPARRANKFPAARANK
Aaron RodgersGNB1611.7815.442
Josh AllenBUF1611.7025.383
Patrick MahomesKAN1511.6135.531
Kyler MurrayARI1611.0844.914
Deshaun WatsonHOU1610.7254.645
Russell WilsonSEA1610.1064.176
Lamar JacksonBAL159.1573.677
Ryan TannehillTEN168.7383.139
Justin HerbertLAC158.6493.288
Tom BradyTAM168.43102.9110
Kirk CousinsMIN166.01111.0711
Matt RyanATL164.98120.2913
Ben RoethlisbergerPIT154.72130.3212
Derek CarrLVR154.59140.2214
Matthew StaffordDET154.0615-0.1818
Cam NewtonNWE153.6216-0.5221
Drew BreesNOR123.3217-0.1016
Teddy BridgewaterCAR153.0718-0.9322
Gardner Minshew IIJAX92.65190.0515
Baker MayfieldCLE162.6120-1.5026
Jared GoffLAR152.6121-1.2925
Joe BurrowCIN102.6022-0.2119
Mitchell TrubiskyCHI92.3723-0.1617
Philip RiversIND162.2224-1.7930
Ryan FitzpatrickMIA92.0525-0.4020
Carson WentzPHI121.8626-1.2024
Drew LockDEN121.3527-1.5927
Tua TagovailoaMIA91.1628-1.0823
Andy DaltonDAL100.5029-1.7929
Nick FolesCHI80.1330-1.6428
Daniel JonesNYG14-0.0931-3.1234
Jimmy GaroppoloSFO6-0.8532-1.9531
Nick MullensSFO10-0.9633-2.9033
Dwayne HaskinsWAS7-1.1134-2.3632
Sam DarnoldNYJ12-1.4935-3.7336
Alex SmithWAS8-2.0636-3.3035

When we look at quarterback play from a fantasy perspective, Rodgers again was top of the list with an FPAR of 11.78 points, though this time he was left than 0.1 points per game ahead of Josh Allen, with Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson all within a point per game of Rodgers.

With Russell Wilson (FPAR 10.1 points) rounding out a top 5 who all scored more than 10 points per game more than a replacement player scored, it shows what a wild year 2020 was for quarterback play. Before last year, I had only recorded a single instance of FPAR being above 10 points, coming from Patrick Mahomes in his 2018 MVP season where he finished with a record 11.81 points above replacement. I have to project that with a more regular offseason in 2021 that fantasy scoring from quarterbacks will trend back to the average.

The above ratings are some of the work I’m most proud of in analyzing the NFL and I hope that others find them helpful. If you have any questions, you can hit me up on Twitter @PaddiCooper and I’ll be happy to help any way I can.