Rookie QB Sam Bradford – Surprise Fantasy Value of 2010
By NFL Fantasy Analyst Russ Bliss
Well color me impressed. When in my fantasy football dynasty leagues back in May were having their rookie drafts, you almost felt resigned when you finally took St. Louis Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford. He usually was not even taken in the top 10 of the rookie. A lot of love was given to RB's and WR's, and the thought of Bradford on the St. Louis Rams inspired no confidence that he would provide any fantasy football help, or even survive beyond the first few games while running for his life behind a bad offensive line.
What a difference 11 games of reality can make. Bradford is on track to have one of the best seasons a rookie QB has ever had. Thru 11 games, he has completed over 60% of his passes, for 2,466 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions. That's more touchdowns than Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub and fewer interceptions than Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning this season.
To put it comparison with some young QB's nearing elite status who also started as rookies, that's more touchdowns than Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco had for their entire rookie season's, in which both played a full 16 games.
And Bradford is doing it with the most non-descript set of WR's in the entire NFL. Injuries riddled the Rams WR corps. Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton were both the #1 WR's when they went down for the rest of 2010 with injuries. Laurent Robinson was the #1 WR until he got injured and missed several games. Danario Alexander flashed WR1 skills but was quickly sidetracked by injuries. The constants? Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, and rookie Mardy Gilyard (who has barely played). None of these guys would be starting for any other team in the NFL, but somehow, Bradford gets them the ball and has success week after week.
Maybe it's because they are so nondescript? There's no high profile ego that needs to be placated at WR. Maybe a lack of ego allows Bradford to be able to really just concentrate on finding whoever is open rather than having to worry about making sure a specific guy gets his targets each game.
Could it be that simple? Or could it be that Sam Bradford is EVERYTHING he was advertised as coming out of college?
Many said Bradford was the best QB to come out of college since Peyton Manning. While such a comparison often leads to scoffing (as we hear that comparison for practically every top rated QB entering the NFL draft each year), the fact of the matter is that Bradford, almost singlehandedly, has turned around what had been one of the most moribund offenses the last couple of seasons. At his current pace, Bradford will finish the season with 3,587 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. To use last year (2009) as a guide for comparison, that would rank 17th most in passing yards 13th most in passing TD's, and 15th in most interceptions. Just using the current 2010 season thru 11 games, Bradford ranks 14th in passing yards, 13th in passing TD's, and 12th in most interceptions.
H2: Will Bradford Put Up Big Fantasy Numbers in NFL 2011?
Now, his numbers don't blow you away in their enormity, but when you think about him being a rookie QB, on a woeful team, with no name WR's, the best of whom were lost to injury, and having the pressure of all the hype and expectations that come with being a QB taken 1st overall in the NFL draft, these numbers aren't just good, they're outstanding.
The next step for him is to prove it again next season and not have the sophomore slump that hit both Ryan and Flacco in their second seasons.