Explained: Player Ratings

Let’s get acquainted with the lifeblood of our entire model…the player ratings. Everything we do uses this data-driven player rating system, compiled to create our team ratings/rankings and is a major part of our player projections system. Every player gets a rating. But how do we come up with them and what do they represent?


Let’s start with the scale. We are basing all of our ratings (player and team) on a 20-point scale. With zero being without a pulse and 20 representing a God-like figure. You won’t see anybody at a zero or at a 20 – it just won’t happen. Everything in between is where the magic happens. If you are looking for a quick guide on what the ratings represent, here you go:

  • Over 17 = Star player destined to play on Sundays
  • 15-17 = Very high-level player, a starter on just about any P4/5 school
  • 13-15 = Good player; starter at most G5s; rotation-level player on most P4/5s depending on depth at position. Top recruits start in this range based on their consensus recruiting grade from 247/Rivals.
  • 11-13 = Solid player; playing time depends on situation at each school / unknown 3/4-star recruits with no collegiate playing history
  • 9-11 = Replacement level player & 3-star recruits with no playing experience
  • 7-9 = Below average player. If getting a significant amount of reps, you should be slightly worried
  • Below 7 = Poor players and/or those with no recruiting history and/or walk-ons

Now that you know what the final numbers represent, how do we come up with them? The simple answer is that there are two main factors at play — data and social influence.

  • Data: Our data comes from many different sources and is weighted appropriately based mainly on recency. We start with the composite recruiting ratings provided by 247Sports/Rivals. As time goes on and we start to see on-field performance, that data will overtake the original recruiting data over time. That on-field performance data has two main sources – weighted statistics and ProFootballFocus player grades. Those stats and grades are run through a competition weight based on the level of play and also weighted on the most recent returns. Past performance is not ever completely negated, but it does become less a part of the final rating as it gets further away.
  • Social Influence: This is a fancy way of saying that we touch these based on trusted sources of information. Beat writers who are close to the teams and other reliable sources will affect the ratings in some cases.
Ultimately, the final rating is mainly data-driven (90-95%) with the social influence just playing a small role – though larger before we have data to consume on incoming freshman, or those buried on rosters and not yet seen on the field.

We will produce an overall rating for all players based on their full body of work. You’ll also notice that we have certain “skill” ratings broken out by position. These include:

  • Quarterbacks: Passing / Running
  • Running Backs: Running / Receiving
  • Wide Receivers: Receiving
  • Tight Ends: Receiving / Blocking (Run & Pass)
  • Offensive Line: Pass Blocking / Run Blocking
  • Defense (DL, LB, DB): Pass Rush / Run Stopping / Tackling / Coverage
These “skill” ratings come into play when we get to the next stage of our projections model – the team ratings/rankings. 

Learn more about this next stage of how we utilize these individual player ratings to then develop our team ratings/rankings based on volume projections + skill ratings for each unit.
Explained: Team Ratings and Rankings

In a nutshell, we put playing time projections on each positional unit and then utilize these player ratings for each skill to come up with our talent rating for each unit. Then, we take those units, weight them based on their schemes (ie: play calling) to come up with an overall offensive and defensive ratings and then bring them all together to get our overall team talent ratings. From there, it is up to the coaches to coach-up, develop and in-game scheme to get the most out of that talent on the field. That’s the next step and you’ll be seeing more from us on coach ratings and rankings to help further develop our model…stay tuned!