Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Kevin Roberts of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow Fantasy Football Overdose on twitter at @NBAandNFLInfo, and for more information on the NFL visit http://www.fantasyfootballoverdose.com – your online source for anything about fantasy football.
Can Sam Bradford ever be a QB1 in Fantasy Football?
Sam Bradford has been an arguable disappointment in his four seasons in the NFL. He and his St. Louis Rams have never had a winning record or reached the playoffs, while his overall production has been relatively average.
The biggest downer, though, might be the fact that once Bradford finally did start to appear to be making legit progress, he got knocked out of the 2013 season with a torn ACL.
With the possibility that the Rams could bring in a new signal caller, some may be wondering whether or not Bradford will ever become that true franchise passer. And in the fantasy football realm, that same questions stretches out to – can Bradford ever become a true QB1?
As long as the Rams stand behind him and he remains their guy under center, there is plenty of reason to think he can.
One great aspect of Bradford’s game has been his ability to take care of the football and his overall decision-making. He’s never thrown more than 15 interceptions in a single season, and the only time he did was in his rookie season. He earns a mulligan there.
He’s not yet proven to be an insanely accurate passer, but he did creep back into the 60% level in 2013, and has flashed great potential in that area.
Some will be concerned about his return from the knee injury, but considering his game never relied on his athleticism or running ability, it’s not as big of a question mark as it clearly has become for a guy like Robert Griffin III.
So, realistically, it comes down to Bradford’s own talent and the weapons around him.
I think there is enough evidence in front of us already that shows Bradford has some serious upside, as he put up 3,702 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012 with an inconsistent cast of weapons, while he got off to a nice start in 2013 despite playing with several rookies and first-year players. Despite that, he still put up 1,687 passing yards and 14 touchdowns in just seven starts. If we assume for a second he continues that pace, Bradford could have been giving fantasy owners career numbers at roughly 3,856 passing yards and about 32 passing touchdowns.
I tend to believe his young supporting cast held him back. Would-be rookie sensation, wide receiver Tavon Austin, wasn’t nearly as good as everyone had hoped. He needed manufactured touches too often, and it’s arguable that it held back the passing game. The Rams spent the first quarter of the season looking for a reliable running back too, while tight end Jared Cook had one elite game all season and continued to be an inconsistent fantasy option.
Should St. Louis iron out the inconsistencies and these young players improve (as they are expected to), I don’t see any reason why Bradford can’t get close or possibly exceed the numbers he was on pace for in 2013.
Then comes the real question: what is an elite fantasy quarterback, and is Bradford close to becoming one?
Had he put up those numbers and stayed healthy, I still don’t think I would have called him an elite fantasy quarterback, but I do think fantasy owners would have been able to safely use him a legit QB1. That should mean, if all goes well, Bradford should hold elite sleeper value going into 2014, and could very well be a steady and consistent QB1 for the first time in his career.