TEXANS BY THE NUMBERS

A shocking look at Bill O'Brien's coaching record against top-level quarterbacks

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When I think of Bill O'Brien I often think back to a movie we've all seen but may not admit to - the 1996 film Matilda. Matilda's dad (played by Danny DeVito) must have had a profound impact on O'Brien as a young man. I imagine a then-27-year-old Bill sitting down and hearing the line that seemingly guides him to this day, which is when Matilda's dad looks down on her and tells her: "I'm smart, you're dumb; I'm big, you're little; I'm right, you're wrong, and there's nothing you can do about it."

It's all about perspective. As we all know, DeVito is a micro man and he seized his one opportunity to accurately use the "big-little" line on his young, tiny co-star. I get the sense Bill's perspective is that he thinks he's the dad in this scenario and the rest of the league is sweet little Matilda, but a detailed look into the list of quarterbacks he's beaten as a head coach loudly suggests that he's more likely to be the one with the little blue dress and red ribbon in his hair.

I recently argued that Bill O'Brien has only beaten two quarterbacks that (in most people's minds) would be considered "elite." That would be Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. However, since the term "elite" is so subjective, I instead decided to state my case using Total QBR (Quarterback Rating), a widely accepted measuring stick for individual quarterback performance.

I took a look at every QB Bill O'Brien has beaten since the start of his head coaching career in 2014 and their corresponding QBR. Since his career spans five seasons and each quarterback's performance varies year to year, I used the QBR for the corresponding season in which that QB lost to the Texans. Per ESPN.com (the creators of Total QBR), a rating of 50 is considered "Average" while a rating of 75 and above is considered "Pro Bowl Level" (Keep that in mind). I've divided the results into four tiers to give a better idea of the 'quality' of quarterback play O'Brien has had most of his success against. For added perspective, I've also included what BOB's win-loss record is against each tier. This will give the complete picture of how much success he's had against every QB he's faced, based on which tier they fell into at the time.

Not counting the first two games of the 2019 season, his career win-loss record (including postseason) is 43-41. Does that not perfectly sum up what the Texans have seemingly always been, the Kings of Average? Well what's NOT average is his record against high quality quarterbacks. Take a look.

Note*: Each QBR is season-based, so some quarterbacks (i.e. divisional foes) will be listed numerous times since they've been beaten across multiple seasons.

TIER 4 (<50 Total QBR - The "Below Average" Class): Record vs. Tier 4 level QBs: 20-10

Connor Cook - 14.7

EJ Manuel - 26.0

Jay Cutler - 28.1

Robert Griffin III - 28.7

Blaine Gabbert - 34.0

Brock Osweiler - 34.5

Brian Hoyer - 38.7

Kevin Hogan - 39.4

Derek Carr - 42.1

Case Keenum - 44.5

Andy Dalton - 44.8 in 2017

Matt Hasselbeck - 45.1

Sam Darnold - 45.9

Alex Smith - 46.9 in 2018

Josh Allen - 49.8

Zach Mettenberger - 33.7 in 2014, 20.3 in 2015

Blake Bortles - 28.0 in 2014, 43.0 in 2016, 43.4 in 2018 (Really Jags, you extended this guy?!)

Summary: Bill O'Brien makes sweet, soft love to rookies, broken things, and happy-just-to-hold-a-clipboard guys. Oh, and Andy Dalton.

​TIER 3 (50.0 - 59.9 Total QBR - The "Just Good Enough to Keep a Starting Job" Class): Record vs. Tier 3 level QBs: 8-8

Baker Mayfield - 51.2

Blake Bortles - 51.4 in 2015

Andy Dalton - 52.3 in 2016

Dak Prescott - 55.2

Jameis Winston - 57.2

Marcus Mariota - 59.1 in 2016, 58.6 in 2017, 53.2 in 2018

Summary: O'Brien can generally handle the over-hyped but still-developing young QBs. And of course, Andy Dalton.

TIER 2 (60.0 - 69.9 Total QBR - The "Flashes of Greatness" Class): Record vs. Tier 2 QBs: 7-18

Alex Smith - 60.8 in 2016

Ryan Fitzpatrick - 62.0

Matt Stafford - 65.2

Andrew Luck - 65.9 in 2016, 69.6 in 2018

Drew Brees - 66.8 (*Sustained* Greatness)

Joe Flacco - 68.6

Summary: So Bill CAN beat some guys that aren't total trashcans, but ratings under 70 suggest they weren't at their best in those seasons, or that even their best is still not "Pro Bowl Level".

Hmm, no Andy Dalton?

TIER 1 (>70.0 Total QBR - The "Cream of the Crop, Best of the-What?!" Class): Record vs. Tier 1 level QBs: 1-5

Andy Dalton - 72.5 in 2015

END. BLEEPING. LIST.

Summary: The Red Rifle?! Put some respect on that man's name! Making Katy proud!

Conclusion: Andy Dalton is the only quarterback Bill O'Brien has EVER beaten with a QBR over 70 for that particular season in which he won. Andy. Freakin'. Dalton.

Not so good

Interestingly enough you may notice that not one single quarterback on the list was considered a "Pro Bowl Level" quarterback when O'Brien faced him. No, your mighty leader of the Texans has never beaten the likes of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, or Matt Ryan, just to name a few.

Other things of note.. let's take a look at how my original argument for Brees and Luck fared. The 66.8 QBR for Brees is tied for his second lowest rating since 2009, so the Texans did beat him but clearly in a year where he wasn't at his best (but let's be fair, 66.8 is still very respectable). As for the late, great Andrew Luck, his 69.6 QBR from last season is his best, but the win O'Brien got to claim? Hardly a win at all. You may recall a first time head coach (looking at you, Frank Reich) gift-wrapping that game in OT for the Texans. If not for that, last season's version of Luck would be removed from this list, further strengthening the point.

That being said, his 65.9 rating in 2016 is his second best career rating, so that win over him is legit.

Here's where it gets ugly. Of all the QBs O'Brien has beaten, only three of those teams went on to win their division in that respective season. That is to say, three out of his 42 regular season wins (a whopping 7.14%) were against eventual playoff-bound teams in his five seasons as head coach. And only four other teams beyond that were able to snag a wildcard (that's still only 16.7%). As for the postseason, you may remember his only win being against rookie Connor Cook who, if you refer back to Tier 4, is your winner for worst QBR of any quarterback O'Brien has ever faced, with a dismal 14.7.

The bottom line

For a look at how the above mentioned quarterbacks fared against their peers for each of the past five seasons, here's a quick glance at who all cracked the top 10 in Total QBR in their respective season that they were beaten by BOB.

2014- Joe Flacco - 8th in Total QBR

2015- Andy Dalton - 3rd, Ryan Fitzpatrick - 7th, Drew Brees - 10th

2016- Andrew Luck - 7th, Matt Stafford - 8th, Alex Smith - 10th

2018- Andrew Luck - 5th

That's a grand total of eight. And only ONE of them cracked the top 3 in a season (we see you, Andy). So if last year's 11-win season felt phony, it turns out that only 1 of their 11 wins was against a top 10 QB that season, and that was the (not) win over Andrew Luck in OT.

As a Texans fan, this is a hard pill to swallow. To see so glaringly, that the leader of your team, your organization really, is the little girl with a red ribbon and psychokinetic abilities. The silver lining? If he's willing to accept who he is, then maybe he can tap into those superpowers and magically navigate the Texans to their first AFC Championship game this season. Either that, or hope he faces Andy Dalton 18 times.

FANTASY FOOTBALL ADD/DROPS

Week 11 working the waiver wire: Willswitch engage

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

I can't believe we're already talking about Week 11, which means the fantasy playoffs are right around the corner. This week, 4 teams won't be playing (Packers, Titans, Seahawks, and Giants) so expect this to be a fairly busy week on the waiver wire. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN PPR leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out. Let's get started.

QB

Derek Carr: Here's what I wrote about Carr last week:

I know it's hard to trust Carr off of name value, but he's been good for fantasy. His rookie RB Josh Jacobs looks like a stud, and Tyrell Williams has been a nice addition. He also has a good o-line and a below average defense, which are both great for fantasy. He's rostered in 37% of 10-team leagues, and he has good matchups against the Bengals and Jets coming up after this Thursday's game. Caution: This week could be tough since he's playing the Chargers, but at least the game is at home and stashing him to use for Weeks 11 and 12 could pay big dividends.

Hopefully, you stashed him and can use him the next 2 weeks. In Week 10, Lamar Jackson ripped the Bengals to pieces and Daniel Jones had 4 TDs against the Jets, so fire up Carr for the next two weeks. He's currently rostered in 37% of 10-team ESPN leagues.

Kyle Allen: Allen really played well against the Packers, and I have to admit he's a better player than I thought. Before the Falcons beat the Saints this week, Allen's matchup couldn't have looked much better. Either way, he's worth using if you need a QB to fill in for the bye week. He's out there in 90% of 10-team leagues.

Nick Foles: Foles made my article last week too, and not much has changed since the Jags were on a bye, except the Colts losing to the Dolphins. Which means Foles might produce for your fantasy team in his matchup against Indy this week. He's widely available.

RB

Brian Hill: It's officially the time of year when we plug players we've never heard of into our lineups and hope for the best. The Packers had a lot of success with their ground game against the Panthers, so Hill has a shot. Devonta Freeman is banged up, so Hill looks like the guy if Freeman doesn't play. Ian Rapoport is reporting that Freeman will be out for a couple weeks, so Hill's a decent short-term play. He's available in 99% of leagues.

Derrius Guice: If Guice is ready to return from injury, he could make Peterson worthless. It's hard to know what the Redskins will do though. Maybe just stash him and see what happens. His first 2 matchups are great (Jets, Lions). If he returns and gets the majority of the touches, look out. He's only rostered in 38% of 10-team leagues.

Adrian Peterson: He's clearly more valuable in non-PPR. He has 2 great matchups, so he's worth grabbing. Also, he might have been dropped so add him if he's available. We'll see if Guice is ready to return and receive a big workload, so that could change things. We'll have to wait and see. He's owned in 55% of leagues.

J.D. McKissic: He got 16 touches against the Bears. I know you won't be thrilled to start him, but he is getting a fair amount of work. He's currently rostered in 16% of leagues.

Alexander Mattison: If Dalvin Cook goes down, he could be a league winner. He's worth stashing for sure and only owned in 20% of leagues.

WR

Will Fuller: If he's been dropped in your league, this is the time to pick him up. He has a really tough matchup against the Ravens if he plays this week, but all he needs is one big play to come through for you. He's available in 45% of 10-team leagues. *Update: He returned to practice on Monday, so he should play.

Dede Westbrook: He's another guy that might have been dropped, and Foles taking the job back from Minshew should be very good news for Westbrook. He gets the Colts and Titans over the next 2 weeks, so it could be worse. He's rostered in 59% of leagues.

DeVante Parker: I wrote about Parker last week, and although he wasn't great (5 receptions for 69 yards), he didn't kill you either. He's not a guy you want to start this week though having a brutal matchup against Tre'Davious White and the Bills. You can pick him up in 55% of leagues.

Darius Slayton: He had a huge game against the Jets on Sunday, so now is a good time to stash him. He's on a bye this week, so many owners will avoid adding him. He's out there in 83% of leagues.

Deep league dart throw:

Hunter Renfrow: With the Bengals and Jets coming up, he could be a sneaky-good flex option. Both of those defenses have been torched by WRs, and Carr is targeting him more. He's out there in 92% of leagues.

TE

Jared Cook: Upon returning from injury, Cook caught 6 balls for 74 yards. This week, he gets to play a Bucs secondary that is flat out terrible. He's owned in 74% of leagues, but add him if he's out there.

Darren Fells: Fells only caught one pass against the Jags in London, but at least it was a TD. He'll have his hands full against the Ravens this week, but Watson will continue to look for him in the red zone. He might have been dropped while the Texans had their bye week. Fells is currently owned in 26% of leagues.

O.J. Howard: If he didn't come through with some production against the Cardinals, he'd officially be dead to fantasy owners. He's still hard to trust, but the TE position is so bad this year that he deserves consideration. He plays the Saints this week, and they're a little banged up in the secondary. Rostered in 45% of leagues.

Noah Fant: I know it was just one big game (115-yards, 1TD), but there's a reason he was drafted in the 1st round, and he should continue to get targets with Emmanuel Sanders in San Francisco now. He's widely available.

DEF

The Oakland Raiders look like a team you can stream this week with a tasty matchup against the Bengals. Oakland forced Philip Rivers into 3 interceptions last week, so they're viable.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

@JoshJordan975

@Moneyline975

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