I do this every year. I fall in love with someone and scream their name from the rooftops. This year it's come earlier than before and the one that has caught my eye is none other than Teddy Bridgewater.
Listen, I don't need to explain myself to you. But I totally will anyway.
It's possible that you overlooked the solid rookie season that Teddy Bridgewater had in 2014. Most people did.
Bridgewater, whom was the #32 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, took every snap at QB for the Vikings following week 5 (he also accounted for 80% of the team's snaps in weeks 3 & 4).
Those early games were rocky, as expected. Hell, I think we'd all expect rookie QB's to struggle in the beginning. I'd be a nightmare back there and not in a good way.
Teddy Bridgewater's 2014 Fantasy Impact
It's great that he was the starter and got a ton of exposure, but from a fantasy perspective he was nothing more than a QB2 last year (which you can debate endlessly). Looking at this chart from FFToday.com (which includes the top 32 fantasy football QB's in 2014) shows that he came in at #23 on the season. Not exactly inspiring.
This is the part where I tell you I think he can be a top-12 guy. Now I know what you're thinking, "Nick, you really expect me to believe this shit?". No I don't, not immediately. But let me take you on a journey, one where you'll see Teddy Bridgewater for the fantasy value he's going to be.
These are important.
No really. During that time frame Bridgewater tied Tony Romo with the highest completion % at 72.1 and was only one spot behind Tony (we use first names here) with a NFL QB rating of 103. He was also 2nd behind Russell Wilson, with a 8.79 yards per attempt average. Now he's just showing off.
Sure he only threw for 14 touchdowns on the year with 12 interceptions to go along with it, not exactly inspiring. I mean 14 touchdowns is roughly half the number of what fantasy QB's 5-12 produced last year. So those need to go up, which they will with some new weapons and changes for the 2015 NFL season.
On the ground Bridgewater was on the move 47 times last year, but was woefully inefficient (209 yards). If he wants to push his way into the top 12 fantasy football QB conversation he needs to become more efficient running the ball. Especially because he needs to compete with the likes of Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and even some Colin Kaepernick on the ground.
Looking Towards Teddy's Fantasy Value for 2015
There's a lot of things to love about Teddy Bridgewater and his fantasy value in 2015, well according to me.
You can look at his accuracy, his weapons for 2015, industry comparisons and dare I say, other experts opinions?
Let's see if he can be fantasy gold.
I told you this guy was good didn't I? (Patting myself on the back). Well anyway, Teddy Bridgewater finished with the highest accuracy percentage under pressure since PFF started keeping the records in 2007. Not too shabby right? His accuracy score was 75.2% -- almost 2% points above Drew Brees.
I won't pretend to have done the numbers myself, instead I'd let PFF explain the numbers and how they got to them.
"Accuracy percentage considers dropped passes as completions, and factors in throw aways, spikes, batted passes, etc. to gain a more accurate estimate of the percentage of catchable passes thrown by each QB.
Only quarterbacks with at least 150 total drop-backs were considered. The pressure percentage gives us the percentage of those drop-backs on which the quarterback was pressured while the TD, INT, Sack % and Accuracy % stats show us how each quarterback performed when the rush closed in." -- Pro Football Focus
Bridgewater had a rough start to the year, but bounced back nicely in the second half. That led him to be only the second rookie to finish at the top of these rankings. Pretty impressive if you ask me, but you didn't ask for my opinion.
Teddy will continue to develop and ideally he'll get even better. He avoided some of the common rookie issues because of his poise under pressure. He could be even more exciting for fantasy football in 2015.
His Offensive Weapons for 2015
Let's assume (I hate assuming) that Adrian Peterson is back with the Viking in 2015. That's an instant bonus for Teddy Bridgewater's fantasy value in 2015. If defenses have to respect the fact that they can run the ball when they want, Teddy will have more time in the pocket.
Let's not forget that the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace. I know that he's kinda a one trick pony. I wrote about Mike Wallace and his 2015 fantasy value earlier this offseason and talked about how I think he's actually a value based on his ADP at the time. Part of it has to do with his ADP, part of it has to do with his big speed ability and the other part has to do with Teddy. Do you see a trend here?
Do you remember Cordarrelle Patterson, the heartthrob of fantasy analysts everywhere in 2014? You don't? That's okay. He may be good for Teddy, he may not be. I wouldn't read too much into him here, although he did shine at times in the 2013 fantasy season. If he could bring that spark back to the Vikings we may have a fun show on our hands.
Now that those three are out of the way I'll address the elephant in the room: Norv Turner. I hate the man, but he has incredible success with tight ends (so it seems -- minus last year). If, and that's a big if, Kyle Rudolph can stay healthy, he'll be a nice little weapon for Teddy and his fantasy value in 2015. Here's a little be I wrote about my belief in him before last season:
"He’s only 24 years old and comes from a basketball background, just like Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron before him. I’m seeing the similarities and connecting the dots already. Kyle Rudolph has already made the Pro Bowl once (2012) and he may have another shot in 2014. I believe he’ll see a lot of red-zone targets, just as Cameron did last year. Jordan Cameron ended up with 19 targets in the red-zone last season (3rd best for tight ends) and didn’t have a great quarterback throwing his way."
Now Rudolph is another year older and coming off yet another injury, but I still think learning about my belief in his fantasy value is worthwhile.
I think Teddy has his best set of weapons yet, which should mean a leap forward for him professionally and in fantasy for 2015.
Comparing Teddy Bridgewater
Let's take a look at some of the people Teddy Bridgewater has been compared to. One of my favorite sites for this is PlayerProfiler.com. They've got an awesome tool that pulls some great information together for you.
Before you look at the chart below, his closest comparable here is Aaron Rodgers. That's quite the comparison I'd say.
Let's also take a look at his game log from 2015:
I threw out his week 17 fantasy numbers because you shouldn't be playing in week 17. There are too many variables to consider and I just don't like it. For the record he had 8.5 fantasy points, but that doesn't count in my book.
Sure week 11 was a disappointment with 10.5 points against the Bears. His week 17 disappointment was also against the Bears, so perhaps they've got his number so far -- 2015 will be interesting to watch there. Minus those 2 weeks, he puts up numbers that I would love to have week in and week out, especially considering the price it cost to own him in 2014 and in 2015.
I'm not saying he's going to turn into Aaron Rodgers (although Viking fans would sure love that), I'm just saying that he's worth looking into further.
The True Fantasy Football Value of Teddy Bridgewater in 2015
Let's be honest, it's impossible to predict what the 2015 season will bring us. Some early mock drafts had the Vikings adding a receiver in the first round. If that happens, it's another boost to Teddy's fantasy value for 2015.
The big takeaway here is that he needs help from his receivers in 2015 if he's going to meet my hopes of being a top-12 fantasy QB. In 2014, no Viking wide receiver caught more than 60 passes and none of them went for more than 750 yards. We've seen the Vikings already cut Greg Jennings but may have a nice piece in Charles Johnson to fill his role. If the Vikings can get Cordarrelle Patterson to get back on track with some other pieces, my hopes and dreams may still come true.
I love Bridgewater for the future -- especially for dynasty leagues. He should also be one of your top backup fantasy QB options.
There are a ton of quarterbacks that have already established themselves and need to be ranked ahead of Bridgewater, hence my hope he can crack the top-12 for fantasy in 2015.
Don't go selling the farm to get Teddy, but if you can snag him, do so. He's currently being drafted as the 1st pick in the 13th round in standard 10 team leagues (via ProFootballCalculator). That's pennies on the dollar folks. Invest, Invest, Invest.
Do you think Teddy Bridgewater has some fantasy value for 2015 or am I completely off my rocker?