Out of all the NFL’s signal callers, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill is the quarterback poised to make the biggest jump in 2015. That’s no small feat, considering Tannehill is coming off a 2014 season where he had significantly improved stats including a quarterback rating increase from 81.7 to 92.4. This season I expect Tannehill to have a similar leap in QBR and overall quarterback efficiency, which I expect will put the 4th year quarterback amongst the NFL’s 2nd tier of quarterbacks in fantasy football (just behind Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers).
In addition to the QBR improvement I mentioned above, Tannehill has improved in every important quarterback stat every year of his career, making him the top ascending quarterback talent in the NFL. Just look at these significant stats from every year of his career:
Completion percentage – 58.3 (2012), 60.4 (2013), 66.4 (2014).
Quarterback Rating – 76.1 (2012), 81.7 (2013), 92.4 (2014)
TD-INT ratio – 12-13 (2012), 24-17 (2013), 27-12 (2014).
Those are all stats that are very encouraging at this juncture of Tannehill’s career, and I believe all of these stats will continue to trend upwards. I’ll continue to elaborate.
This is Tannehill’s second season with offensive coordinator extraordinaire Bill Lazor, which to note is only the second offensive system Tannehill has ever played in throughout his whole quarterbacking career (college and NFL). While Tannehill looked a little uncertain early on in 2014, it became increasingly evident as the season wore on that Tannehill was cool, calm, and collected in Lazor’s system. The most noticeable difference between Tannehill’s first two seasons and last year was his decision-making. Lazor has seemed to break things down for Tannehill in a way where he can go through his progressions faster and will pull the ball down and run for it if there is no target available. This not only improves Tannehill’s rushing stats, but it also helps his completion percentage, and lowers his interception totals. In Lazor’s offense Tannehill only had 14 turnovers last season, and by comparison Dan Marino only had two seasons with fewer turnovers in his entire Miami Dolphins career.
So far I’ve mostly spoke of consistency being the key to Tannehill’s success. Consistency in terms of improvement, and consistency in the form of a genius offensive system tailored for Tannehill. But what I believe will be the deciding factor to putting Tannehill over the top this season is the next-level cast that has formed around the fourth year passer. Last year Tannehill struggled with a Mike Wallace that he couldn’t get on the same page with, a Brian Hartline that was a square peg trying to fit into the circular hole that is Lazor’s system, and a Charles Clay that suffered from a number of nagging injuries throughout the season. But this year Tannehill will have perhaps the most stacked group of supporting talent in the entire NFL.
Just take a look at some of the Dolphins offensive weapons:
DeVante Parker: One of the top two or three rookie wide receivers this season. At 6’3”, 220 lbs Parker is an absolute physical beast and a possession receiver. Parker has ridiculous hands to couple with his enormous catching radius, and has the ability to run just about any route in the book.
Jarvis Landry: A slot receiving beast who is also a possession receiver. Like Parker, Landry has some of the slickest hands in the NFL, and has a solid report built with Tannehill already.
Kenny Stills: The Dolphins big time home-run threat, who also had the fourth highest catch percentage amongst all NFL players last season (i.e. he is a great possession receiver as well).
Greg Jennings: One of the top experienced and most intelligent wide receivers in the league. Jennings is an absolutely perfect fit on the Dolphins where he can mentor Parker, Landry, and Stills who could all use a little guidance as they are all entering their first, second, and third NFL season’s respectfully.
Jordan Cameron: One of the top receiving tight ends in the NFL, Cameron is going to give Tannehill the big red zone target he needs. Which is important to have as the red zone was the area Tannehill struggled the most in last year.
With this INSANE cast of receiving talent to work with, a healthy Brandon Albert returning to an offensive line that quietly improved dramatically last season, the ruthlessly talented Lamar Miller at running back, and the unbridled potential in rookie running back Jay Ajayi, I think it is safe to say that Tannehill’s 2015 looks very promising.
*CHOO CHOO* All aboard the Tannehill train! Destination, NFL Playoffs!
As to whether Ryan Tannehill is a top-10 fantasy quarterback, the answer is simple. He already was in 2014 (8th), and with his game and surroundings only improving, he should once again be in the mix to wow his fantasy owners again in 2015. That doesn’t mean he’s a lock to get back inside the top-10, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll surely come close.