NFL Quarterback SEP Reliability Rankings #33 through #23

May 17, 2015

The SEP Reliability ratings are finally here!  SEP stands for Science, Evidence, and Performance; and this is the new progressive way to determine which players you can count on.  I have ranked the top players at all the positions and will give you their ranking and a few factors that helped to calculate their rating.  

I compared weight, speed, experience, football IQ, injury history, position norms, and a bunch of other factors together and created a ranking that will predict which players are more likely to get injured and less reliable as the season progresses.  Trust that each rating is calculated with real science, real evidence, and player performance history.  I put just a pinch of subjective into these ratings as I believe there are simply some things that you have to assess with your eyes and not through data.  

For the Quarterbacks I ranked 33 players.  The most reliable Quarterback earned a rating of 124 while the least reliable earned a rating of 73.  I rated the players we expect to be starting caliber and I included the 2 first round draft picks.  Here we go!

33.  Brian Hoyer: SEP Rating- 73

Brian Hoyer is now in Houston and is projected as the starter.  With 29 games missed in the past 3 years, it is easy to see why Hoyer is rock bottom on my list.  Even if Hoyer wins the job, there is a good chance Ryan Mallett will be relieving him at some point in the season.  I do not believe that Hoyers 215 lb frame can hold up.

32. Sam Bradford: SEP Rating-75

This one hurts me to write, as I do bleed green.  There is no denying that Sam Bradford is the ACL poster child, and with an offense that at the very least will have him run more plays than the average quarterback as well as force him to keep the ball on the read-option here and there; Sam Bradford is a tough QB to put your faith in.  I think this will be a true matchup of Injury Science VS. Sports Science.  Chip Kelly is known for his cutting edge Sports Science philosophy that gets players in better shape and analyzes how to maximize their performance.  Lets see what it can do with the injury riddled career of Sam Bradford.  The good news is that Bradford is bigger than most think at 224 lbs and Chip Kelly runs the ball more than most.  Bradford may have a chance to change gears in his career OR that might  just be the Green blood talking.

31. Robert Griffin III: SEP Rating -76

RG3 is again projected to be the starter for the Washington Redskins.  As far as I can tell, nothing has changed.  RG3 gets my lowest subjective rating with his decision-making and release, as it is quite clear that he is still unable to read an NFL defense.  When you combine that with his Andre 3000 look a like build, I think it leads to more injuries.  There are only 3 quarterbacks who have run the ball more than Griffin in the past 3 years–Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick.  2 of those 3 are physical freaks and the other is smart enough to almost never get hit.  I am sorry to say that unless RG3 has had a growth spurt or has gotten one of those pills from a Hollywood script that makes you really smart, that it will be more of the same.

30. Alex Smith: SEP Rating -80

This one kind of surprised me as when I think of Alex Smith, I think of a smart and safe QB with a low ceiling but a predictable and stable floor.  However, when you look at the numbers you can see why he is not that reliable and has missed 8 games over the past 3 years.  Alex Smith comes in as the 9th smallest quarterback, but has more rush attempts than all but 7 other quarterbacks on this list.  That is somewhat of a recipe for disaster.  In addition to that, if you have watched Andy Reid coached teams over the years you know that protecting the QB is not at the top of his priority list.  Before doing this, I probably would have rated Alex Smith as a low risk, low reward option; but the data clearly shows him to be a high risk, low reward player.

29. Ryan Tannehill: SEP Rating -80

Ryan Tannehill edged out Alex Smith by a fraction of a point to be number 29 in the SEP rankings.  By the statistics, Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback that is turning the corner and becoming better.  The biggest problem is that Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 139 times in the past 3 years to lead all quarterbacks.  The next closest quarterback is 20 sacks away.  A sack can come from any defensive player but typically a sack means big people hitting and falling on little people.  It is hard to rely on someone who gets sacked the most and is in the top ten for rush attempts amongst quarterbacks.  The Miami Dolphins will have to really improve their offensive line if Ryan Tannehill is to keep up his streak of no games missed due to injury over the past 3 years.  My guess is that these sacks and rush attempts are about to catch up to him and we may have to find out who the back up is in Miami.

28. Jonhnny Manziel: SEP Rating-82

NFL Draft Football

This is another one that surprised me a little as I would have put Johnny Football in the RG3 boat if this was strictly subjective.  I have seen him play in person and I simply do not believe that his body will hold up in the NFL for long.  This is not so I won’t detail all the other side-show things, but there is enough out there on Manziel that I don’t think I have to convince many that you can not rely on Johnny Manziel.  If the Browns are smart, they won’t rely on him either.  His career is truly too minimal for the stats to tell me much, but at 210 lbs in the AFC North I think I know how this movie ends.

27. E. J. Manuel: SEP Rating-83

This is a tough one as I am not sure that Manuel will get to play this season and at this moment, if he does play it is not clear what team he will play for.  WIth trade rumors and new coaches in place, I would take a wait and see approach on E. J.  The good news is that Manuel is listed as 237 lbs which in the NFL is a good size quarterback.  Unfortunately that is where the good news stops.  E. J. Manuel is another QB who seems to be struggling with reading defenses and at a higher risk for getting sacked and injured.  I think Manuel may move up this ranking with the right coach as he seems to want to be a pocket passer and when you combine that with his frame, he could eventually shape up to be a solid QB  in regard to reliability.

26. Colin Kaepernick: SEP Rating-84

The Colin Kaepernick stock has gone way down in the past couple of years, and with Harbaugh out, my guess is it slides even further.  I consider Colin to be a one read and run QB, and that was with a coach who was supposed to be good with the position.  When you consider that only Russell Wilson and Cam Newton run the ball more from the quarterback position, you know that he is at risk.  Colin has already had back and foot injuries in his young career, and the chronic nature of those type of injuries combined with his slow growth at the position would worry me if I had to count on him.

25. Blake Bortles: SEP Rating-84


55! That number is what jumps out when you look at the numbers on Bortles.  He was sacked 55 times last year!  If he keeps at this rate he simply will not make it.  Even at 232 lbs, I am surprised that Bortles made it through the season although he was obviously banged up much of the year.  The good news for Bortles is that he has a big frame and looks like he will be more of the Ben Roethlisberger type who runs to throw and not truly scrambling down the field.  Despite that he gets a 2/5 on his decision-making for now and the Jaguars offensive line will make sure that his decision-making gets put to the test.  Overall, I think Bortles youth lands him low on this list, but I would expect him to be moving up in years to come.

24. Teddy Bridgewater: SEP Rating-86

teddy bridgewater

As you can see, the rookies are not far apart.  From what I saw, Bridgewater was a pleasant surprise for the Vikings.  Bridgewater should do even better with Adrian Peterson in his backfield this year.  He will need to rely on the running game to keep his risk down as his 210 lb frame, like Johnny Footballs, does not seem built for the NFL.  The difference with Bridgewater is that there appears to be better decision-making from him and his coaches that will hopefully protect him in the future.  I would hold off until the strength and conditioning team has a few years to put a few pounds on him, but it seems that Bridgewater may have a good future as he is already bordering the top 2/3 of the league after his rookie season.

23. Russell Wilson: SEP Rating-86


This is not a misprint!  I am talking about Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson and he only edged rookie quarterback-Teddy Bridgewater by a fraction of a point.  I thought the same thing when I saw it….that must be wrong!  I even re-checked my formulas and tried to see if  I had a glitch or an oversight.  But what you have to remember is that this is not a “best quarterbacks” list, it is a “most reliable quarterbacks” list.  Also, this is not a list that is telling you what the player was in the past, it is a prediction of what this player will be in the future.

With that said, Russell Wilson is our 23rd most reliable quarterback!  We all know Russell Wilson is great, but I think we all know that Russell Wilson is small.  In fact I saw the making of Entourage-the movie and he has a cameo.  While standing next to the actor that plays Turtle, he and Russell Wilson look like they are in the same ball park when it comes to size.  Wilson is listed as 206 lbs; he runs the ball more than any quarterback over the past 3 years except for Cam Newton; he has been sacked more than any quarterback over the last 3 years except for Ryan Tannehill; and again he is about the size of Turtle from Entourage.

I know our eyes say he is great, but the numbers say he may not be the most reliable quarterback in the years to come.  Wilson has not missed any games due to injury, and to some that may seem like it supports the fact that you can rely on him, but I challenge you to find a NFL player who has never been hurt.  The key word on Wilson is “yet”; he has not been hurt or missed a game “yet”.  The good news is that Russell WIlson gets a 4 out of 5 on our decision-making rating and the focus that the Seattle Seahawks put on the run game give him a chance to keep his streak alive, but if I was a betting man I would plan on at least seeing Wilson play through some injuries this season.


Stay Tuned for the rest of the list as the season draws near.  Feel free to email me or comment with your thoughts on the list so far.

Dr. Petty




December 4, 2014

With most either getting ready or already in playoff mode, I thought I would cover some of the injuries that may literally make or break your season.  Here are some of the key injuries to take note of, as well as what you can expect:

rashad jennings

Rashad Jennings is suffering from an ankle injury from this past weeks loss vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.  This is one of the biggest injuries for league play and one day players as Jennings was in line to face the awful run defense of the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been a running backs dream this season and I think that Jennings will unfortunately miss out.  Initially the injury was said to not be serious but Jennings was quoted as not being able to put enough weight on his foot when it first happen.  These details likely suggest that he is dealing with a simple grade 1 or 2 low ankle sprain.  Although this may not be a serious injury, it will still need to go through the phases of healing.  Like most ankle injuries, this will limit Jennings ability to cut and plant on that foot and should take 1-3 weeks of rest and treatment to heal.  My guess is that Jennings is currently dealing with a swollen ankle that gives him pain if not supported significantly.  The training staff should be focused on getting the swelling and pain under control and we may see him give it a go with a heavy tape job, but I would need to see him practice at least on Friday to have any faith.  If you are in a league, a Friday practice and good reports may allow you to start him, but for one day fantasy it would be impossible to pay that premium price for damaged goods (wish they would adjust the prices mid-week). Unfortunately those who were licking their chops for this matchup will either have to trust Andre Williams,  his back up, to still light up this poor run defense or look elsewhere for a quality running back.  I would give Jennings until week 15 if it were my line up; after all it’s not like the Giants are in the playoff hunt and that he will pull out all the stops to get on the field.  For league players, I would just pick up Williams.  For one day players, there are other backs to consider near his price point (Eddie Lacy and Joique Bell are my picks for now).

Alshon Jeffrey’s injured hamstring is likely on many people’s minds.  If I had to pick my least favorite injury for one of my fantasy players to have it would be either a groin strain or a hamstring strain.  I despise these injuries mostly because they are the lingering type.  In many cases with a hamstring strain, a player will seem to come along well, may be practicing again, and be generally pointing in the right direction; and with one simple stride that player will do what all fantasy owners dread seeing–abruptly slow up and grab the back of their leg in pain.  Many of the other injuries are easy to predict, but a hamstring strain can feel like rolling the dice.  The good news is that Jeffrey appears to have been struggling with hamstring issues as early as week 3 of the season and has now been dealing with it for the past 2-3 weeks, and during that time his production has been good.

The infamous hamstring pull or strain is generally a result of one or more of the hamstring muscles stretching to forcefully or quickly.  This can happen for a number of reasons, but I believe that in many cases these athletes are simply too fast for their own bodies.  This may be the case for Jeffries as he clocks in at a 4.48 with his 40 yard dash; and for a receiver standing 6’3″ and 216lbs that may almost slot him in the “Freaky Talented” column (although my verdict is still out on that).  During the process of running, these athletes can sometimes just simply be thrusting their legs into extension (a straight knee position) too fast, and when this is combined with any contraction of the hamstring; the athlete will typically experience a strain or even a tear of the muscle fibers.

Additionally, some individuals simply suffer from muscle imbalances.  Despite state of the art facilities and the top strength and conditioning professionals in the country, some athletes are still disproportioned.  With respect to hamstring injuries, the culprit would be extremely strong quadriceps (thigh muscles on the front) combined with slightly less strong hamstring muscles (thigh muscles on the back).  While in full speed action, if both sides are acting at their max capacities, the quadriceps can over power the hamstrings and in the process injure the hamstrings.

These are all things Alshon Jeffrey and his team should examine in the offseason to reduce his chances of repetitive hamstring issues next year, but for now I would expect Jeffries to play.  Despite him playing, I would not play him on my fantasy team regardless of the upside he may possess .  As I stated before, you are one stride away from that moment of him grabbing the back of his leg and ending your fantasy season.  Combine that with the fact that he has to share with Brandon Marshall and the fact that Jay Cutler can not be trusted and I would simply look elsewhere for nearly all formats.

T.Y. Hilton was also limited on Wednesday with a reported hamstring injury.  The timing of this being a Wednesday injury is the most troublesome factor to me as a T.Y. Hilton owner.  Hamstring strain recovery feeds off of time to recover, and with a mid-week starting point, Hilton may be feeling some restrictions on Sunday.  Additionally, Hilton is definitely in the “Freaky Talented” column based off his 4.34 speed alone.  With his game being primarily based on his speed, a hamstring injury may bump Hilton’s stock down significantly.  The Indianapolis Colts also have to leave the comfort of their temperature and surface controlled dome to go to Cleveland.  As hard as it may be for a league player (I know as I own T.Y. in my league), this is a week I would have already considered sitting Hilton but any signs of a hamstring issue beyond Thursday would reserve a spot on the bench for T.Y. Hilton on my team.  The good news is that wide receiver would have to be the deepest position in fantasy right now and you should be able to find a good matchup this week for league play (I have the luxury of Randall Cobb, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans as my other wideouts…..ha ha).  One day players should not even consider Hilton an option.

DeSean Jackson has a lower leg contusion.  Those who are familiar with me know that a contusion is just a fancy word for a bruise.  Jackson may take a little time to manage any pain or swelling associated with the injury but he should be a full go.  His presence is a domino effect for any offensive Washington player you may have.  He opens up Jordan Reed who should continue to be a PPR monster, he allows Colt McCoy to likely put up 20 + for his 3rd straight time as a starter, and he gives Alfred Morris a chance to run in a box that would not dare stack 8 with Jackson as the deep threat.  I am not sure DeSean would be my guy at receiver but in one-day PPR play, I think Reed and McCoy hold good value due to his presence.  Use the information as you see fit, but expect him to be ready to go.

Dwayne Allen is back after suffering an ankle sprain.  I think he took the perfect amount of time off as an ankle sprain generally is a 1-3 week injury, and he took the 3.  I expect Allen to be effective, and with my expectations for T.Y. Hilton being low, you may find Allen to be a low-cost/high reward option especially in one day play.  Coby Fleener is the obvious buzz kill for those who own Allen in traditional leagues, but simply stated–Dwayne Allen is a better football player than Coby Fleener (for now).  That may be unpopular to the highlight watchers of the recent weeks, but most who really pay attention know this to be true.  So in this spot, I would roll with Allen and expect things to slowly return to normal in which Allen is the obvious TE1 on the Indianapolis Colts.

How about some defense?  They say defense wins championships and this can be true in fantasy football too.  Aqib Talib has the hamstring bug too.  Talib will have about 2 weeks off from game action by the time the Denver Broncos face the Buffalo Bills, but I would watch out for him having some difficulty.  I especially think he will have difficulty if he somehow get matched up with Robert Woods.  If he covers Sammy Watkins as expected, their injuries may cancel each other out as they are both banged up.  Denver got away with missing their #1 corner vs. the Kansas City Chiefs as the Chiefs have no wide receivers, but I am not so sure they will fair as well without Talib against a respectable wide receiver duo.  Owners of the Denver D/ST should pay attention and look for a good matchup this week instead of using a defense that may be without a true #1 cornerback, as I think I have cemented how I feel about depending on players with hamstring strains.

The other cornerback that may cause a fantasy domino effect is Vontae Davis who is coming off a concussion last week.  I will eventually talk about concussion a little more in-depth, but one of my simple rules is to not trust a player to play at their best the week following a concussion.  There is complicated evidence out there that correlates concussions with poor performance, but my stance is more from a common sense point of view.  Concussion cloud the brain and typically take the player out of their normal routine.  I believe that many of the players in positions in which studying the opponent is key, will suffer the most, shortly after a concussion.  I especially worry about defensive players who need to read and react to the offense and as the corner that makes that defense go, Vontae not being at full capacity may spell disaster in Cleveland.  I think the Davis concussion takes the Colts out of the starting D/ST conversation as I believe he is the single most important person on their defense.  I also think his injury bumps Josh Gordon stock up. Gordon already has a QB in Brian Hoyer with something to prove and he gets what may be a shoot out vs. Andrew Luck.  When you add in a recovering Vontae Davis, I think Gordon will be lighting up the scoreboard this week.  If one day players can get lucky enough for Davis to not play, I think Hoyer and Gordon could be the value play of the week.

Quick notes:

Reggie Bush- You can’t trust him.  He’s been out too long with this ankle injury.  Maybe during the regular season you could take a chance but at playoff time he is too much of a gamble.  He made our running backs running out of time earlier this season and is fully living up to the injury prone status that I predicted.


bush in new orleansbush in miamibush in detroit

Greg Olsen –The proof is in the pudding.  Make sure he gets back to practice before believing that his swollen knee is not a problem.  With tight end being such a tough position to fill, I think if he practices he should start in all league play.  As a one day option, he would be way down my list.

Larry Fitzgerald- He should be back this week but watch his practice pattern.  If he misses any practices, I would  throw up a red flag for a set back.

Andre Ellington-He needs to rest and heal!  Unfortunately his owners will have to scramble to find a RB1 that can get them through a playoff run.  You better start matchup hunting.

Good Luck!