By Mark Simon and Alex Vigderman

So who the heck is the fourth-best quarterback in the NFL? Or the seventh best?

We know that’s not the purpose here. But right now, the No. 1 quarterback in the league is obvious (Patrick Mahomes). And the No. 2 and 3 quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson) are clearcut too, even as they flip places from time to time. That makes for boring articles as we try to publicize these rankings. Thus, we move along.

The most popular comment we got in the early going of releasing these rankings was that Derek Carr was an undeserving No. 4 (we explained why he was where he was). He’s been supplanted by Deshaun Watson, whose status in that position now hinges on how he fares without a couple of his best receivers. They’re now neck-and-neck at 4-5. Tom Brady currently resides in the No. 6 spot but he’s showing his age and you wonder if his aging body can survive a full season like it used to.

Drew Brees is injured and thus slipping in the rankings. If healthy, he could stake a claim to No. 4. But we deal here in what is. And right now, Brees is an isn’t. So instead, Kirk Cousins is No. 7 and Brees is No. 8 and slipping, and his absence could extend a stretch of five different quarterbacks ranking No. 8 in the last five weeks.

Let’s interrupt to remind you what this is:

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.

Ok, back to what we were saying.

There’s a lot of quarterback parity (at least relative to the top of the list) once you get to No. 9 Philip Rivers. He’s neck-and-neck with No. 10 Matt Ryan, with Josh Allen a step behind at No. 11. We can talk about Justin Herbert, Ryan Tannehill, Kyler Murray and Teddy Bridgewater. They’re not quite there. They’re not good enough and not consistent enough yet. And if you’re asking about Ben Roethlisberger, last year’s absence cost him spots. He’s No. 18 (and we’ll add in Wednesday’s game against the Ravens next week).

Anyhow, it’s worth noting that the gap between the No. 1 and No. 3 quarterbacks on our list is actually larger than the gap between the No. 4 and No. 11 quarterbacks. Which we suppose also tells you just how good the No. 1 guy is right now.

Maybe in the end, that’s the point here.

Here are the updated rankings

RkPlayerPAA Per 60 SnapsLastRkStartOfSeasonRk
1Patrick Mahomes8.411
2Aaron Rodgers6.722
3Russell Wilson4.833
4Deshaun Watson4.5515
5Derek Carr4.544
6Tom Brady3.4611
7Kirk Cousins3.285
8Drew Brees3.076
9Philip Rivers2.2910
10Matt Ryan2.1109
11Josh Allen1.61139
12Justin Herbert0.712N/A
13Ryan Tannehill0.61322
14Dak Prescott0.4147
15Kyler Murray0.11517
16Teddy Bridgewater0.11621
17Matthew Stafford-0.21716
18Ryan Fitzpatrick-0.32213
19Ben Roethlisberger-0.51835
20Jacoby Brissett-0.82012
21Baker Mayfield-1.12641
22Jared Goff-1.21914
23Lamar Jackson-1.3238
24Taysom Hill-1.52118
25Jimmy Garoppolo-1.82420
26Joe Burrow-1.925N/A
27Matt Moore-2.42724
28Tua Tagovailoa-2.428N/A
29Chase Daniel-2.42925
30Mike Glennon-2.63638
31Gardner Minshew-2.63130
32Drew Lock-2.63236
33Daniel Jones-2.76566
34Matt Schaub-2.73332
35Jeff Driskel-2.73429
36Blake Bortles-2.73533
37Brett Hundley-2.83740
38Nate Sudfeld-2.83842
39Trevor Siemian-2.83944
40Geno Smith-2.84043
41Paxton Lynch-2.84145
42David Fales-2.84246
43DeShone Kizer-2.84348
44Joshua Dobbs-2.84449
45David Blough-2.84551
46Josh McCown-2.84756
47Sean Mannion-2.84652
48Cody Kessler-2.94855
49Marcus Mariota-2.94947
50Phillip Walker-2.950N/A
51AJ McCarron-2.95258
52Blaine Gabbert-2.95359
53Jameis Winston-2.95126
54Case Keenum-2.95427
55Matt Barkley-3.05560
56Robert Griffin III-3.05662
57Garrett Gilbert-3.057N/A
58C.J. Beathard-3.05953
59Mason Rudolph-3.16064
60Jarrett Stidham-3.161N/A
61Nathan Peterman-3.16275
62Joe Flacco-3.26357
63Devlin Hodges-3.36667
64Tyrod Taylor-3.36763
65Brian Hoyer-3.46968
66Nick Mullens-3.45837
67Brandon Allen-3.46465
68Eli Manning-3.57070
69Kyle Allen-3.57173
70Cam Newton-3.53031
71Brett Rypien-3.573N/A
72Andy Dalton-3.67254
73Colt McCoy-3.76869
74Alex Smith-3.77823
75Ben DiNucci-3.874N/A
76Josh Rosen-3.97576
77Will Grier-3.97674
78Kendall Hinton-4.0N/AN/A
79Nick Foles-4.37928
80Dwayne Haskins-4.58034
81Mitchell Trubisky-4.97771
82Ryan Finley-4.98277
83Carson Wentz-5.28319
84Jake Luton-5.484N/A
85Sam Darnold-5.78150