by Russ Bliss

It was just three weeks ago I wrote a fantasy football article on Sam Bradford and how he was on his way to having the best season ever by a rookie QB starting all 16 games. Bradford had exceeded all expectations both in terms of being an NFL QB in his first season and as an actual solid backup fantasy football QB.

Since then, Bradford has gone thru back to back games without a TD pass. He's had two of his worst games of the seasons in weeks 13 and 14, and has tossed 3 interceptions in that span.


What happened?


Tampa Bay struck gold with 4th round rookie WR Mike Williams. Williams, like Bradford, had exceeded all expectations for a rookie WR. He hasn't been outstanding, but he has certainly been the best WR on the Bucs, and has been a steady starting #3 WR for fantasy purposes having very few lows.

However, in 2 of the last 3 weeks, Williams has had his two worst games of the season.


What happened?


It's called: The Rookie Wall. And it happens to rookies every season.

Rookies aren't used to playing 16 games every year. Their bodies have gotten used to playing 11, maybe 12 games in a season. And there's a nice long resting period between their 11th game and their possible 12th. Time to get healed up. Time to get rested and refreshed. We tend to forget rookies are still basically kids. They're 20, 21, maybe 22 years old on average. Yes, I'm using the term "kids" loosely as technically they are young adults, but you know what I mean. Yes they are in tremendous physical condition, but when you aren't used to playing 16 full games and starting most every one of them, and playing most every snap, their bodies tend to wear down. Especially as the weather gets colder.

In the cases of Bradford and Williams, they have both been starters since the first game of the regular season. Bradford has played every offensive snap for the Rams and Williams the majority of them for the Bucs. So it's understandable they are starting to see a drop in their productivity.

I'm not saying that all rookies will be bad the last few weeks of the season. And there's a chance for rookies to have excellent games down the stretch as well. But historically, the odds are against them. It's a trend that has become so recognizable as to get its own name over the last couple of decades now in the NFL: The Rookie Wall.