Carson Wentz WILL BE READY FOR WEEK ONE!

The Teddy Bridgewater domino effect has finally produced some actionable fantasy football strategy. I know that knee jerkers everywhere will believe that Adrian Peterson’s value went up because he lost his quarterback, but I believe at best his value stays exactly the same. I downgraded Stefon Diggs a bit and decreased my investment in him with daily fantasy, but overall there really was no big shift that would affect anything I planned to do in week one.

That was until the news broke that if healthy, Carson Wentz would start for the Philadelphia Eagles in week one. I don’t expect many to target Wentz as a season long quarterback, but with the daily game being my fantasy setting of choice, this  news is big. I won’t go too deep into strategy, as injuries are more what I am here to talk about, but take a look at the Cleveland Browns defense and then at the salary for Wentz and you be the judge.

If you come to the same conclusion as me, the only thing stopping you from locking Wentz into a bunch of lineups is the hairline rib fracture that he suffered on August 13th. I am here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about on the injury front, as Injury Science virtually guarantees that Carson Wentz will be ready for week one.

Here are a few reasons that I am so sure:

  1. Wentz was injured on August 13th. A CT scan on August 29th suggested he was 60 percent healed. At this rate of healing, his rib would mathematically be 108 percent healed by opening day.
  2. Rib injuries are mostly about pain tolerance. Because the ribs are not weight-bearing bones, the risk for re-injury is less than other bones which must bear weight. The issue with rib injuries is that pain during movement may disrupt rhythm or the chance that a direct hit may cause intolerable pain. There is always a chance to suffer a more severe fracture if the player returns too soon, but in the case of Carson Wentz this will not be a concern after 4 weeks of healing time.
  3. If you pay attention to Carson Wentz’s personality, there is no way that he will choose to sit out in week one with the chance to take the starting job. I fully expect the medical team to clear him and the only remaining variable will be his willingness to play through any lingering pain symptoms.

I often talk about using the injury angle to your advantage and this will prove to be a perfect example. Those who play daily should build line-ups around Wentz, and those who don’t have a good quarterback or a good matchup in week one for season long should consider starting Wentz. I can almost guarantee that the obscurity of Carson Wentz combined with the questionable tag will make Wentz one of the lowest owned quarterbacks in week one.

I am not promising that Wentz will outscore the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton type players, but considering the low price he will cost across the board, and the defense he will face, I am sure he will prove to be a great investment.

 

 

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

rantsports.com
rantsports.com

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

philly.com
philly.com

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

bet.com
bet.com

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

nfl.com
nfl.com

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

dolphinshout.com
dolphinshout.com

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
pagesix.com

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 TMZ.com 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

buffalobills.com
buffalobills.com

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

huffingtonpost.com
huffingtonpost.com

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

blake-bortles-nfl-preseason-tampa-bay-buccaneers-jacksonville-jaguars2-850x560
nflpinzone.com

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
bleacherreport.com

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

Russell_Wilson_vs_Vikings,_November_4,_2012
Wikipedia

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

drpetty@theinjuryreportdoctor.com

 

 

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.

Probable

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.

Questionable

teddy-bridgewater-target-blunder
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.

Doubtful

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.