NFL: Mahomes and Watson lead our quarterback storylines for Week 6

Using PFN's own Offensive Share Metric to isolate how much an individual player contributes to his team's offensive output, here are the five most intriguing quarterback storylines heading into Week 6 of the NFL season.

I’m sure you’ve heard the tired cliché that football is the ultimate team sport. No matter how annoying it may be to hear for an infinite number of times, it doesn’t make it any less accurate. Football inherently is the most challenging sport to isolate how well a player is performing independently of all other compounding factors. Luckily, we can turn to Pro Football Network’s own Offensive Share Metric (OSM) to analyze an NFL player’s individual contributions to his team’s offensive output.

With OSM, we have a new tool to help us in this fact-finding endeavor. Leveraging the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, OSM creates an output that shows what share of a player’s on-field contribution he achieved solely on his own merits, taking into consideration only individual factors that the player himself can control. If you haven’t yet, check out the more detailed explanation of OSM and flip through the database for 2019.

Each week the NFL will undoubtedly produce intriguing storylines. Ahead of Week 6, we are going to preview what will be the most interesting OSM quarterback storylines. So as you read this at your desk on Friday, get excited about keeping an eye on these five quarterbacks in Week 6.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Deshaun Watson

The draft class of 2017, AFC playoff seeding, Offensive Share Metric – there is no shortage of storylines for this game. The NFL should’ve seriously considered using one of its two Weeks 5-10 Sunday Night flexes to make this a national game. Regardless of what time it kicks off, of course, this game figures to produce significant fireworks.

Patrick Mahomes, to date, must be considered a top-two MVP candidate. The narrative is there (quarterback of a Super Bowl contender), as well as the advanced stats. Mahomes ranks first in DYAR, DVOA, and ANY/A among quarterbacks. That is an incredible hat trick to be leading in all three categories.

Making it more impressive, Mahomes is producing much of his own results relative to his quarterback peers. Through five weeks, Mahomes has the sixth-highest OSM grade at his position. This should come as no surprise, as Mahomes is near the top of the leaderboard in several Next Gen categories.

For instance, among quarterbacks with at least 55 pass attempts in 2019, Mahomes has the fifth-highest average completed air yards. Unsurprisingly, he sits fourth in average intended air yards. You didn’t need Next Gen Stats to tell you that Mahomes airs it out on a regular basis. What is fascinating, however, is that despite his downfield aggressiveness, Mahomes is still risk-averse. He has the second-lowest aggressiveness percentage among quarterbacks with at least 45 pass attempts on the season. So, while he continuously throws downfield, he isn’t throwing into tight coverage. It should also be noted that this is a credit to Andy Reid as well, as he is able to scheme up open receivers at all levels of the field.

Deshaun Watson, however, is a bit of a different story. He is near Mahomes in the three major advanced metrics, ranking fifth, fifth, and fourth in DYAR, DVOA, and ANY/A, respectively. Yet, he sits at just QB18 in the OSM database. Watson is producing at an elite level, but he isn’t as singularly responsible for that production as Mahomes.

Playing Kansas City on the road, especially in the week where Tyreek Hill is expected to make his return, is a difficult task. The Colts just managed to pull off an upset in Arrowhead, but they had the offensive line and running back to apply the 2007 Giants’ strategy to slow down the Chiefs. For Houston to get the victory, Watson will have to increase how much he is contributing to the offense in relation to his first five games of 2019.

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