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

tumblr.com
tumblr.com

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

sidelinebuzz.com
sidelinebuzz.com

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

tennessean.com
tennessean.com

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]
sports.gearlive.com
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

si.com
si.com

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

http://a1.espncdn.com
http://a1.espncdn.com

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

lumenstour.org
lumenstour.org

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

 

Aaron Rodgers ranked 20th for this years NFL Quarterbacks!

Note: after slight adjustments to the SEP rating system, Aaron Rodgers was elevated to number 19 in the rankings.

May 13, 2015

Most believe Aaron Rodgers to be the cream of the crop when it comes to NFL Quarterbacks, but is he a smart bet?

As that time of year approaches quickly, I know many are already thinking about fantasy drafts, over/unders for the season, and Super Bowl picks.  For most, this is a task of looking at what teams did in the draft and how a teams talent projects to the upcoming season.  You could say that trying to measure each team and each players abilities is the best place to start when trying to make predictions on the upcoming season.  But if that is your strategy then I would say you are WRONG!

I believe it is former coach and player, and now ESPN analyst Herm Edwards who says it best; “The best ability is AVAILABILITY“.  Last season was a great example of this for those who had the pleasure of having Aaron Rodgers help them dominate fantasy leagues all season.  If you are one of those people, you also know that the domination came to a screeching halt at the end of the season when Rodgers injured his calf just in time for Fantasy Playoffs.  Now some of you  may have been supreme shakers and movers an survived this, but if you were like me, you went from favorite to win the league to out in the first round.

aaron rodgers calf
NY Post

 

Some may believe that Aaron Rodgers injury was purely chance but I suggest that his injury was entirely predictable.  In fact, I suggest that the probability for any player to be injured is entirely predictable.  Imagine if you can not only pick the right team or the right players, but could also maximize the probability that those players would be AVAILABLE when you most need them.  This is why I developed The SEP Reliability Rating!

The SEP Reliability rating is now here to make this process easier for you.  My SEP rating takes Science, Evidence, and Performance and puts them in a blender which delivers a rating with the information you need.  We have rated all the notable players that you will be following, and have calculated simple ratings that will allow you to determine who is more likely to be there when you need them.  While a player like Aaron Rodgers may put up great numbers; should you take him over Matt Ryan or Tony Romo?  If you are simply answering this question by how good you think each quarterback is, then you might just find yourself scrambling at the end of the season and starting a QB like Brian Hoyer due to injury.

The numbers are in, and if your smart you will be on the look out as we release these ratings that should guide how you look at the 2015/2016 season in its entirety.  Since I have talked about Aaron Rodgers so much, I will give a sneak peek about my rating on him.  Would you believe me if I told you that Aaron Rodgers is only the 20th most reliable Quarterback in the NFL?  Should you be spending a high draft pick on someone who has 19 other Quarter backs who are more reliable than him?  Should you be betting that the Packers can win a Superbowl with a Quarterback that may not be at full strength in crunch time?  Many will use statistics on how many fantasy points Rodgers had last year and think he is great, but most leagues don’t reward you much for having a lot of points.  The goal is to win match ups and to especially win match ups at the end of the season.  I contend that my SEP Reliability rating is best equip to predict this most important factor.

Simply put, The SEP Reliability Rating is the next level of analysis for those who are serious about being right.  I think we all agree that Aaron Rodgers is the best Quarterback in the league or at least top three, but do you really want him on your fantasy team?  Do you really want to wager that he can lead his team to the Superbowl?  Take my advice and do not let subjective feeling guide you when it comes to fantasy football or any other wagering.  There are some big buildings in Vegas built on people’s who used gut feelings to predict outcomes.  I have combined years of data, performance, and expertise to give you an edge…..Stay tuned so you can use it!

Could Injury Really Cause A Peyton Manning Led Team To Miss The Playoffs?

November 22, 2014

You can type in “NFL injuries” in any search box and get the details of who is in and who is out, that is the easy part.  The more important questions are how long will they really be out? Will they actually play well when they come back?  What players are at highest risk to get hurt next?  How will one injury affect the performance of other players?  Being caught off guard by any of these issues could derail your fantasy line-up at a time where you can not afford any glitches.  For many, playoff time is coming and for you one-day fantasy players, your time is running out to win the big one.  I will discuss which injuries I see coming and which injuries I see going, and more importantly look at all of the angles that will decide whether you win or lose with your lineup.

Lets go by position:

Quarterback

Some of you have been unlucky and lost your starting QB.  Former fantasy owners of Nick Foles and Carson Palmer are the primary victims here.  For those who took the obvious option of picking up Mark Sanchez immediately after Foles got injured–good job!  I’m not too sure on Stanton and definitely would not feel good with him as my QB down the stretch with the vicious schedule that Arizona has remaining.  It is clear that neither of these QB’s (Foles and Palmer) will be back this year, or at least not in time to have a fantasy impact.

If you were not able to get in the Sanchez sweepstakes, then my suggestion would be to look at Shaun Hill as he is now injury free and the Rams have endured a tough schedule that will now lighten up just a little.  Another not so obvious option would be Zach Mettenberger, who I do not think is great by any stretch, but he has a great selection of defenses to face to close the season and a monster arm.  Last but not least is a stretch for most, but I believe Colt McCoy will finish the Washington Redskins season as a starting QB.  McCoy is also not the greatest but he will literally be playing for his NFL career, he has a ton of weapons, and he has good match ups.  I would spend a little time telling you how McCoy gets that job, but if you have a TV, a phone, or any type of electronic device I am sure that you have seen the train wreck that is RG3.

My bet is you can get any of those 3 players today and even if they just sit on your bench while you have another borderline QB playing, you will not end up in the back of the waiver line if they get hot.

peyton-manning-in-cold-weather
Fantasy owners and Peyton Manning may miss the RCA dome as this season goes down the stretch.

As for the great Peyton Manning, he is being hit by the injury bug indirectly.  With his number 1 and 2 running backs out, Julius Thomas’ status being unclear at Tight End, and his number 2 Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders just being cleared from concussion protocol; the future Hall of Fame QB may have the deck stacked against him.  Combine the injuries with the fact that his next 4 opponents all currently rank in the top ten for total defense and that 3 out of those 4 games are likely to be played in cold weather, and you may just have given the ingredients for the kryptonite recipe.  The only thing that may be missing is whipping winds and a few snow flurries.  In any case, those who pay close attention know what bothers Peyton.  When he is pushed off his spot, he is obviously uncomfortable.  When he has to hold the ball, he is uncomfortable.  With these defenses and bad weather coming, I project some sub Manning like numbers.  Now I am not talking Alex Smith mediocrity, but chances are that Peyton is carrying your fantasy team in any league play and he is eating up your salary cap in any one-day play; so you absolutely need him to put up Manning like numbers.

While I do not see a day in which I tell you to sit Peyton Manning unless it is for Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers, I think Manning owners should prepare for a more conservative output and therefore be aggressive with the remainder of the roster.  For Peyton and the Denver Broncos, I see very little chance of not making the playoffs, but for my fellow fantasy players this tough stretch falls right at a crucial time in regard to fantasy playoffs.  In the end start Peyton as usual, unless you see wind and snow in the forecast; then I may look for one of the QB’s I listed above to hold the fort for one week.  This is the closest I will get to betting against Peyton Manning and frankly it feels a little uncomfortable.  Lets see what he does over the next month.

Running Back

Running Back becomes very important in November and December as many of the outdoor teams will start to slow it down with hand-offs and short dump off passes.  However as these running backs have their workload increased you may also see more injuries.  I predicted way back in the first half of the season that DeMarco Murray would not make it through the entire season and now that its week 12, some may think I was wrong……NOT!  All of you DeMarco Murray owners better have a back up plan, because it’s coming.

Another running back to beware of is Arian Foster.  Earlier this season, I compared Foster to Steven Jackson as he is an oversized back who gets injured regularly.  He is living up to this comparison and if he does not do something different this off-season ( I would suggest some type of Yoga/Pilates blend and a very clean diet), I think you should think long and hard before drafting Foster early.  As you can see, when you need Foster most he will not be there for you.  At this point, I don’t think anyone will get caught off guard with Foster being out as he seems to be on the injury reports on a weekly basis.  The important thing is to not get your hopes up with this “game time decision” talk.  I do not see him making it back in an effective way this week as he is only been out for 2 weeks with a groin injury that should likely take at least 3 weeks to heal.   We explained the nagging groin strain a few weeks ago when predicting Monte Ball needed 3-6 weeks off before returning.  As most of you know, Monte Ball did sit out for 6 weeks and then re-injured his groin on his first game back.  Hopefully that lets you and Arian Foster know how serious this injury can be. The easy fix is to keep Alfred Blue on your bench no matter what. If you do own Foster or Murray or maybe even had Ronnie Hillman or Ahmad Bradshaw, there are a few options out there for you to consider:

Arian+Foster+Houston+Texans+v+New+England+F250cpNTtbDl

C.J. Anderson could not have timed it better in regard to fantasy playoffs.  With Ronnie Hillman down for at least another 2 weeks with a foot sprain (that should take a total of 3 weeks to heal) and Monte Ball out again with a strained groin , C.J. Anderson will basically have the backfield to himself.  I expect Hillman to come back by week 14 and I expect Ball to be a non factor for the remainder of the fantasy season as his re-injury tells me he really needs to give that groin another 3 weeks  or more to heal and then return slowly (I don’t expect him to play until the NFL playoffs).  Furthermore, Peyton plus the cold means more running plays and more short passes.  The only fear is that the volume that Anderson receives in the next few weeks will get him injured too.  The good news on that front is that this is almost like game 4 for Anderson, as he has not played much this season.  In my opinion he is the top running back to pick up down the stretch.  Do anything you can to get him for your leagues and one-day players should spend whatever he cost to get him in the line up.

Another back who’s fantasy value just got a big boost is Trent Richardson.  I say this reluctantly as prior to this injury, I literally considered him a bottom 10 back that I would never consider starting.  However, the bottom line is Ahmad Bradshaw and his fractured fibula means he is done, and for now Trent will get all the goal line carries as well as a likely 20+ total carries per game.  In a more traditional running back way, I think this will actually help Trent Richardson, who has the potential to be a wear on you/hard to stop at the end of the game back.  The final kicker is really to look at the Colts remaining schedule.   There are some blowouts coming and you know who will be killing that clock, even if it is 3 yards at a time.  Look for some fantasy numbers in the form of 25 carries for 72 yards with 2 touchdowns with 2-3 catches sprinkled in.  I think many of us can live with those 20 + fantasy points.

Giovani Bernard appears to be ready to return for week 12 and based on reports of a hip pointer and a clavicle issue, he appears to have taken the proper time off.  For some, this may seem to be a good thing, but I look at this as a lose-lose situation for fantasy owners.  Jeremy Hill showed the ability to be a fantasy stud while Bernard was out and Bernard was a stud before he got hurt.  When you put two fantasy studs in one backfield, unfortunately they turn into one half a stud each.  If you already have Bernard and are in a PPR format, he is definitely worth keeping, but I do not see the Bengals taking Hill back to his previous role of simply spelling Bernard.  I see a backfield that will almost be half and half which is a disaster for fantasy owners.  If you can trade either of these player based off of name value, now would be a good time.  Jeremy Hill owners may consider sitting tight for a couple of games, as Bernard is undersized and as the cold weather sets in, he may be in line for another injury.  If I could pick, I would much rather the style of Hill to carry me to the fantasy playoffs, but by no means would I wish injury on any player.

Wide Receiver

It appears that the wave of wide receiver injuries is over with Megatron, A.J. Green, Andre Johnson, and Odell Beckham Jr. all back and healthy.  Despite this abundance of health at the position, there are some injuries that will make some receivers more attractive than others.

ty hilton

T.Y. Hilton is already a must own everywhere but for you one-day fantasy players who are comparing T.Y. to Dez or Megatron or Jordy Nelson on a weekly basis, here is the reason why T.Y. might have eclipsed many of them.  With the injury to Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts have lost their only receiving back.  Additionally, the Colts have an injury to their best tight end Dwayne Allen.  Allen is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury but I expect him to miss at least one game or at the very least see less time on the field.  This means more Coby Fleener during the competitive portion (there will be garbage time for Trent Richardson to get his!) of the Colts games; it means less running as Allen is the obvious running game tight end while Fleener is the passing game tight end.  T.Y. is by far the most targeted player for Andrew Luck and these injury developments likely just increased his targets.  As we hit the stretch for the fantasy season, I think T.Y. Hilton will be as good as it gets at the receiver position.

Demaryius Thomas may also get a little bump up from his already superstar status after The Dnever Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas in week 11 to injuries.  Sanders went down with a concussion and looks to be probable for week 12, however there is evidence out there that correlates concussions to poor performance shortly after recovery from said concussion.  As for Julius Thomas, he appears to have a simple low ankle sprain but he likely will miss a couple of weeks.  This sets up for Demaryius to have an even bigger role in the Broncos pass game.  We may even get a Wes Welker flash back for my fantasy league players who are desperate for a short-term play at receiver.

Brandin Cooks thumb fracture has effectively ended both his fantasy and real football seasons.  This means someone who is healthy on the Saints likely gets more targets as Cooks was the second most targeted player on the team to Jimmy Graham, and the most targeted receiver on the team.  This is a tough call between Marques Colston and Kenny Stills, but I would take a chance on Colston as Drew Brees targets him more than Stills, and Brees and Colston have more history.  This must be a cautious play as Cooks injury may actually just lead to Colston, Stills and who ever replaces Cooks to split the targets by 3, which would make no one happy.  This may be one to take a look at for a week or two before making a move.

Now this one has nothing to do with an injury per say, but those who read my work often know that I split my skilled players into Freaky Talented and Supremely Skilled.  Around this time of season the Freaky Talented group will start to slow down as the weather elements may not be ideal for their talents to fully shine.  Additionally, it is my theory that these Freaky Talented athletes need pit stops to rejuvenate as they max their bodies out while utilizing all of their god given talent.  But if I can get one of the most Freaky Talented players in the league with completely fresh legs at this point in the season, I am all over that!.  Josh Gordon is exactly that.  Not only does the physical play in his favor, but the mental sounds like it is ready too. One of the first quotes given to nfl.com from Gordon was “I’m going to tear this league up”.  If your league is anything like the one I am in, Gordon has been owned all year despite not playing…he is that coveted.  If there is any way to get him, I would go for it.  For one-day fantasy players, this may be the only week you will get him cheap.  After he faces the worst pass defense in the league down in Atlanta, my guess is that his price will be right up there with the elite wide receivers where it belongs.

Marqis Lee is a low-level benefactor of the foot fracture that Allen Robinson suffered.  This consideration is more for the one-day fantasy players who have the bare minimum to spend on a flex player that has the chance to actually do something.  The two things I think I know is that Lee will now be on the field in all 3 wide receiver sets (with Robinson out) and that Lee has lots of talented.  Everything beyond that is a gamble….your choice.

Tight End

As I mentioned earlier, the Dwayne Allen injury may officially push Coby Fleener to the TE1 conversation.  Fleener has been inconsistent despite being Andrew Luck’s teammate in college, but now he appears to be ramping up.  1-2 weeks of Allen being out may generate a role for Fleener that will become a little more permanent int the Colts offense.  Additionally, if Trent Richardson does not take advantage of his opportunity like I think he will, you may see the Colts just turn into a pure passing team in which Fleener stays on the field a bunch more as run blocking would not be needed.  I would keep my eye on Fleener in fantasy leagues and pick him up if a roster spot is available.  He is also a good one-day play if you don’t want to spend on one the big three of Gronk, Graham, or Thomas.

Some of you may be waiting for Jordan Cameron to be cleared from the concussion protocol and are ready to plug him in as your starter.  I would look in another direction.  Again, performance after concussions can be tricky and with the reports indicating Cameron having some long-term concerns, I would simply stay away from Cameron this year.  Any return will be on egg shells and the likelihood of poor performance or another concussion is a very real possibility.

Tight End is a tough position to pick up late in the season and in most cases the match up should dictate who you play, but there are a few that you may be able to pick up and fill in with.  Zach Ertz had a big buzz at the beginning of the season but that buzz has faded fast.  I am not saying Ertz will win any week for you but I think the addition of Mark Sanchez to the equation allows him to not lose a week for you.  Sanchez and Ertz have a relationship that ranges from preseason as they both had significant 2nd team reps.  Sanchez is definitely looking for him more than Foles did.  Now all Ertz has to do is find a way to stay on the field for more snaps and you may have a decent TE2.

Defense/Special Teams

The Pittsburgh Steelers are about to get real healthy and are likely sitting there waiting to be picked up in most leagues.  With the return of 5 starters including their leader-Troy Polamalu as well as the addition and rejuvenation of the great James Harrison, the Steelers may look like the traditional Pittsburgh Steelers down the stretch.  The tricky thing with these injuries is that when the players make it through and the team stays competitive, the return from injury is that much greater.  The Steelers should have a lot of fresh legs on the field vs. many who are simply worn down from the grind of a 16 game season.

sproles punt
Sproles may be the biggest little reason to start the Eagles DST!

The Philadelphia Eagles should be on everyone’s radar as they are having a near historic year on Special Teams with punt blocks, field goal blocks, and even extra point blocks.  Combine this with arguably a top 3 punt-return man in Darren Sproles and Chris Polk who already has a kick return for a TD and you would think picking them up is a no brainer.  But then the leader of the defense Demeco Ryans goes down and Aaron Rodgers puts up a million points.  I can see how people may get nervous about this being their starting defense.  As bad as the Demeco Ryans injury is for the actual defense, I think the response to the injury by the Eagles is even more telling.  Instead of looking for another linebacker to replace Ryans or even just looking for another defensive player, the Eagles signed Chris Prosinski.  Posinski is a safety from Jacksonville who is primarily a Special Teams stud.  They added him to a Special Teams that already boast Chris Maragos who is arguably the Michael Jordan of Special Teams.  So while losing your middle linebacker is bad, the Eagles may have gotten even better with rushing the quarterback by bringing more speed and agility to the linebacker position with Mychal Kendricks as the new focal point.  The bigger point is that I don’t think any other team in the league takes Special Teams as serious as the Eagles and frankly that is where all the points are coming from rather than the actual defense.  They should be the premiere DST going down the stretch in all formats despite losing the leader of their defense for the remainder of the season.

Good Luck