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Quarterback Expected Points Added, or EPA, is a metric that measures how well a team or players perform relative to expectation.
From the The33rdTeam.com:
For example, if a team starts a drive on the 50-yard line, its expected points to start the drive would be about 2.5. If the team ends the drive with a field goal, thus gaining 3 points, its EPA for that drive would be found by subtracting its expected points from how many points it actually gained, 3 – 2.5 or 0.5 EPA.
Say the Chiefs start with the ball first-and-10 from their own 25-yard line, where its expected points would be about 1.06. If Patrick Mahomes throws a 15-yard completion, making it first-and-10 on the KC 40-yard line, where the expected points is now 1.88, the EPA of that play would be 1.88 – 1.06 or 0.82. In other words, that completion increased the Chiefs’ expected points on that drive by just over three-fourths of a point.
The metric can both be positive and negative, as sacks and incompletions contribute negatively to the team and its expected points.
Graham Mertz has been prone to interceptions and tough incompletions this season, enough where Wisconsin struggled to score against every good defense its played.
His struggles have landed him in the nation’s bottom ten in Quarterback EPA, right alongside Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr, Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei and a host of quarterbacks on losing Group of Five teams.
The bottom 10:
-a guy who just beat Alabama
-Clemson's new 5-star
-A guy many picked to win Big Ten OPOY
What's going on. https://t.co/I1EPSpuEzF
— Ben Kenney (@benzkenney) October 13, 2021
This metric is not close to the end-all, be-all for quarterback play. It is just a piece of the puzzle when evaluating how a signal-caller performs. And yes, there are numerous factors that play in including offensive line play, down-and-distance scenarios and the strength of opposing defenses.
But this metric follows everyone’s thinking that Mertz has struggled quite a bit through five weeks this season.