The Most Reliable NFL Quaterback list 2015: #22 through 16

July 10, 2015

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

I used weight, speed, experience, football IQ, injury history, position norms, and other factors to create a rating system that predicts which players are the most reliable.  Trust that each rating is calculated with injury science, 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 that I expect to be starting caliber and I included the 2 first round draft picks.  Here we go!  Click here to see quarterback rankings 33 through 23.

“The best ability is availability”-Herm Edwards

22. Geno Smith: SEP Rating – 88

When it comes to Geno Smith, he gets some benefit simply because he is a big and young quarterback.  At 220 lbs and 24 years old, he has the right stuff to stay on the field.  Furthermore, Geno has played for Rex Ryan (who has moved on to coach the Bills) who has always loved a ground and pound style which has allowed him to take fewer hits than a young QB usually takes.  Things may be a little different with Chan Gailey as his Offensive Coordinator, as we may see the Jets spread it out a little more and see if Geno can make quick decisions.  My guess is that this is the year we really see who Geno is as a quarterback.  A bad adjustment to having the ball in his hands more could mean a short season or poor play for Geno Smith and the New York Jets.

21. Jay Cutler: SEP Rating -89

Jay Cutler’s reliability stats are about as bland as the faces he makes during the games.  He seems to be at the middle of the pack in just about every category.  16th ranked for times sacked, 17th ranked for pass attempts, and 12th ranked for rush attempts over the past 3 years.  If this rating accounted for “stupid” interceptions, I think it would be safe to say that Cutler may have slid completely off the list.  Cutler is interesting for the fact that he is one of the few players who is very open about playing with Diabetes.  Some even speculate that this is why his demeanor is so poor at times.  My opinion is if he walks like a prick, talks like a prick and looks like a prick; then of course it must be Diabetes.  Hopefully the sarcasm comes through loud and clear.  It is true that the changes in blood sugar levels can affect a persons mood and even their physical performance, but if I can help poor people regulate and manage their diabetes; I am sure that a multimillionaire quarterback should have his managed pretty well.  I work with many patients who have diabetes and I will tell you first hand that Diabetes has nothing to do with the way Jay Cutler carries himself, in fact he gives the condition a bad name.  I know my rating says that a group of quarterbacks are even less reliable than Cutler, but I will take this time to disagree with myself and urge you to put him at the bottom of your list.  With his most reliable receiver –Brandon Marshall gone, I think this may be Cutler’s worst and possibly final year as a true franchise quarterback.

20. Zach Mettenberger: SEP Rating -90

When it comes to Zach Mettenberger I will not even fake like I know anymore about him than you do.  Although I do not know him well, I do know Grade III AC joint sprains pretty well; and Mettenberger ended this past season with this injury to his throwing shoulder.  That would be cause for concern to Titans fans and anyone else who plans on relying on the young quarterback.  AC stands for Acromio-clavicular and that joint represents where your collarbone (clavicle) meets the top of your shoulder-blade (acromion).  With Mettenberger having a Grade III sprain, we know that there was lots of pain and instability as that signifies tearing of the ligaments that secure that joint.  Mettenberger should have plenty of time to heal and come in a full strength this upcoming season, but the fact that he is already having season ending injuries and that the Titans drafted a quarterback that most believe will start on day 1, makes Zach Mettenberger a hard player to rely on.

19. Aaron Rodger: SEP Rating – 91

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 28: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass on his only play of the game, a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, in the 1st quarter against the Tenessee Titans on August 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) [PNG Merlin Archive]
Now here is an interesting one.  I think we all put Rodgers in our top 3 best quarterbacks, but as I mentioned in a earlier post; if you had Rodgers last year for fantasy then you know the difference between being the best and being the most reliable.  Aaron Rodgers drove me on a 16 hour trip, and while  for the first 14 hours I thought he was a great driver, during the last 2 hours he crashed and the car burned.  Over the past 3 years, Aaron Rodgers averages over 2 games per season missed due to injury.  This past year was the calf and in 2013 he broke his collarbone.  We have Rodgers rated as a 5/5 when it comes to decision-making/release time, but with that said his decisions sometimes mean a lot more risk as compared to a Manning or Brady type.  In addition to Rodgers play making style, he lands as above average with his rush attempts with a ranking of 11th most and is ranked 13th most in times sacked on this list.  Now I want it to be clear that I am not stupid; I am in no way saying that I would draft the next 18 quarterbacks over Aaron Rodgers.  However this ranking can help you make a more objective decision among the elite quarterbacks, as the ratings clearly classify Aaron Rodgers as the least reliable elite quarterback in the league.

18. Carson Palmer: SEP Rating – 93

This may be one of the only list you will see this year that will have Carson Palmer ahead of Aaron Rodgers regarding anything related to the quarterback position.  The fact is that despite Palmer missing some games over the past 3 years, he gets rid of the ball quick in Bruce Arians offense. He is ranked in the best 33% of these quarterbacks when it comes to taking sacks and rush attempts.  I am actually eating my own words on this one as I put Carson Palmer in my list of Red Zone players last year; with the Red Zone tag signifying that he is on the last legs of his career.  I still do believe his career is winding to a close but the data suggest that he is around the middle of the pack when it comes to reliability.  I think it is safe to say that Palmers veteran mind and Bruce Arians complimentary scheme is what may extend his career a little more than I anticipated before creating this rating system.

17. Nick Foles: SEP Rating – 93

Nick Foles edges Palmer out by fractions of a point for the 17th spot on my most reliable quarterback rating. As an Eagles fan I am very familiar with Foles and I believe he gets this spot primarily because of a Chip Kelly system that protected him well with easy reads and heavy run emphasis.  The good news for Nick Foles is that Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams will likely run the ball almost as much as Chip and the Eagles.  At 243 lbs, Foles size gives him a big bump in this rating system and despite his collarbone fracture last year, he has shown that he can take some huge hits to his big frame.  The problem is that his decision-making is going to make his body keep proving this point.  Foles receives a 2 out of 5 in our decision-making category, and trust me he deserves it.  I have watched every snap of his career, and while Foles is not RG3 bad when it comes to reading the field, he is not much better.  Only time will tell if experience will allow him to get rid of the ball quicker, but those who expect Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles numbers; you will be very disappointed this year.  Look for Foles to stay on the field all year, but likely with average to sub par performance.

16. Marcus Marriota: SEP Rating – 93

As you can see there was a big log jam at SEP 93 as Mariota edged out Foles by fractions.  When I did this SEP rating system the rookies were definitely a challenge.  With no professional statistics to consider it made it difficult to compare them to players who are already up to NFL speed.  But I knew not having the top picks who will almost definitely be starters in the league this year, would throw everything off.  For a player like Marcus Mariota with no real injury history, the primary fear is the catastrophic injuries like an ACL or achilles injury.  It is unlikely that a fresh bodied rookie quarterback will succumb to a chronic or nagging injury as he simply has not compiled the hits and collisions that other players have endured. Mariota gets a 2 out of 5 on our subjective rating primarily because he is a rookie, but his college background in a Chip Kelly system in which he showed how fast his mind can process information prevented him from the getting the basement score of a 1 out of 5.  Mariota enters the league listed as 212 lbs, but that may change after his first offseason as a pro.  The data for these high first round franchise quarterbacks shows that their teams will at least try to protect them through scheme and I think Mariota will handle the rest with what I believe will show to be a high football IQ.  I think the number 2 pick is sitting right about where he should be in the middle of the pack for reliability.

Stay tuned for the next half of the leagues most reliable QB’s as we inch near pre-season.  Feel free to comment or email me any feedback or questions about the SEP rating system.

Dr. Petty


Week 5-Doubtul, Questionable, and Probable (DQP) players

Here is how we see this weeks big injuries playing out.  No need to list the players who are ruled out as we already know they won’t play.  Let’s take a look at the DQP players, so you can hit the waiver wire or your bench for a winning line up.


brandon marshall

Brandon Marshall (Start him with confidence)

Marshall has been playing with an injured ankle since hurting it in week 1.  Although he gets out there and plays every week and I expect him to do the same this week, he has grossly been a decoy or non factor.  Even with a 3 TD performance in week 2 at San Francisco, he only had 48 yards.  His skill set does allow him to play with this injury as he can still be productive without the quickness and cuts that his ankle is likely limiting him with.  With that said, keep in mind that it has been 3 weeks since his injury and most mild ankle sprains are mostly healed within that time or less.  Marshall likely could have improved faster by taking some time off, but I expect him to be closer to his normal self this week and put up normal Brandon Marshall numbers against a tough Carolina defense that has had a few hiccups this year.  No bubble screens or crisp route running is likely just yet, but I see no reason why Marshalls’ ankle won’t allow him to post up in the end zone and score.  I would start him with confidence.

Jamal Charles (The 49ers defense is a bigger factor than his ankle sprain at this point)

Charles bounced back pretty quickly from his high ankle sprain to light The Patriots up.  I see no reason why he is not physically able to perform this week with the exception of The San Francisco 49ers.  There is the likelihood that he still has some lingering swelling and pain, but based on his performance last week and the fact that he will be 3 weeks out, I think Charles is back to business as usual.


Check out the questionable spelling at a local store. I guess Teddy will have to win a few more games so they will spell his name correctly.

Teddy Bridgewater (Get him ready for week 6 at home vs. the Lions)

The Vikings should not play him and nor should you.  After an exciting week for Minnesota fans and those who had Bridgewater in the stash for fantasy, everyone is probably a little over excited about a rookie QB that lit up a sub par defense who had no pro film on him.  With what appears to be a mild eversion sprain or maybe a mild high ankle sprain, I don’t see any way Bridgewater gets on the field in a productive way on Thursday night.  Furthermore the Green Bay weather forecast calls for rain which compromises his footing.  All signs point to sitting Teddy for a week and preserving the excitement that he earned in week 4.  So regardless of what Zimmer and the Vikings do, you should not risk a start on Bridgewater and should plan for another QB to be in your line up.

Carson Palmer (over/under for remaining time in Carson Palmers career is 4 months-never start him.  Take Denver defense if Palmer steps on the field)

Palmer is listed as questionable but I would have put him as doubtful.  Those who read my recent story on Palmer know that I do not have high hopes for Palmer when/if he comes back.  With the nerve injury in his throwing shoulder now causing him to see a second specialist confirms my initial fears that this is the beginning of the end for Palmer.  As a general rule of thumb, players don’t seek a second opinion for injuries that are doing well.  I doubt anyone plans to start him at Denver, but just in case…..DON’T.  The smarter bet is probably betting on Denver to cover if Palmer is in the lineup.  I don’t expect Palmer to throw well at all if he is on the field and a Palmer start elevates the Denver Broncos Defense to a start in my opinion.

Vernon Davis (Sit him if you can)

We predicted that Vernon Davis would play against Philly and also predicted that he would not play well.  Although this small example does not make me right (yet), but I also predicted that Davis is near The Redzone stage of his career and likely to decline rapidly.  I feel like this week will be a continuation of last week.  It is likely that his ankle is still not fully healed and that his knee also still has pain. As simple as it sounds, the song is true–“the knee bones connected to the thigh bone….the thigh bones connected to the hip bone…. the hip bones connected to the back bone…. All of these injuries become somewhat related and with Davis now suffering from 3 injured areas, other body parts will pick up the slack.  In the case of Davis, I believe a hit triggered the back spasms he is currently suffering from, but I also believe his back was primed for this by him trying to play on an injury, which caused him to compensate by putting more work on his back as well as other body parts.  I would stay away from Davis for a week or 2 if possible, although productive TE’s are tough to find.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he sat this one out or left the game one more injury richer.

Jake Locker (SIt him, start the Browns Defense)

In week 3 we predicted it would be 2-3 weeks before Locker would be effective.  Nothing has changed since then and the prediction is still that his first productive week will be week 6 when the Titans host the Jaguars.  I don’t know if this is really a sleeper play with all the negative pub that Charlie Whitehurst has received, but The Browns Defense may be a good sleeper play here as no matter who plays, the Titans will be fielding an ineffective QB.


There are no key players listed as doubtful so for this week my doubtful is The entire Atlanta Falcons team.  They are very banged up  and are holding open tryout for various positions (just kidding).  I would stay away from them all, if possible for fantasy, and expect the Giants to cover easily at home.

Player on the mend?

Carson Palmer prognosis:  Plan to go the long haul with Drew Stanton!

The Science

Carson Palmer has one of the vaguest diagnosis you can have–“nerve injury”.  He himself describes it as the nerve is dead.  It is very unlikely that his nerve is dead.  The more likely case is that his nerve was impinged (or pinched) during the hit he took.  When this happens, the nerve that is injured is unable to send signals to the muscles it is responsible for and therefore that muscle will not function or will function poorly.  In Palmers, case the nerve is in his shoulder and therefore throwing is not possible.  No matter what anyone tells you in the medical field, remember this-YOU CAN NOT ACCURATELY PREDICT NERVE REGENERATION OR RETURN OF NERVE FUNCTION!  Unfortunately nerve is not like muscles, ligaments and bones which we can usually predict a time table; nerves march to their own drummer.  Carson could be throwing tomorrow or maybe in 3 months….no one knows at this point.

What you need to know

At Palmers age, and the fact that he is having neurological symptoms (which are the trickiest of them all); it may be time to stick the fork in Palmer’s career.  Peyton came back from nerve issues but he is about the only QB right now who has the IQ to throw ducks almost half the time and still get the job done.  Carson Palmer has had a solid career but our prediction is that ITS OVER!  With Stanton advancing the Cardinals to 3-0 and the Palmer show almost over, those of you who were unfortunate enough to have Palmer as your fantasy QB or those stuck in the Chad Johnson era,(pre Ocho Cinco days) and thought that Palmer gave Arizona the best chance to win, it is likely time to move on.