The NFL regular season is nearing and we already have one starting quarterback out for the year. It’s always tragic when a player is lost for the season because of an injury, but that’s what happened to Sam Bradford. Again.
A Bradford injury in standard fantasy leagues where only one quarterback is required in your starting lineup doesn’t mean a whole lot. Even if you drafted Bradford, either as a streaming spot starter or backup, you probably already found his replacement on the waiver wire.
Being able to replace Bradford in 2-QB leagues is not so easy though. The waiver wire is usually picked clean in 2-QB leagues, with either low-end QB3s like Chad Henne or Matt Cassel being the best starters available, or backups like Mike Glennon being the cream of the crop.
The Rams now turn to 34-year-old veteran Shaun Hill to take snaps under center for the team in 2014 as Bradford’s replacement, and many 2-QB Bradford owners have already acquired Hill or have made plans to do so once the waiver wire opens up in their league.
Last year saw a number of unknown backup quarterbacks become starters at some point in the NFL, and I did my best to profile as many of them as I could for 2-QBers.
The ‘insert quarterback name here Who?’ series turned out to be quite useful, as we learned together who the Matt McGloins and Scott Tolziens of the NFL were. Before we look into Shaun Hill, you might want to take a refresher course on Hill’s current backup, Austin Davis (Who?).
This offseason two of the more respected names in the fantasy football community, XN Sports’ own C.D. Carter and Pro Football Focus Fantasy’s Patrick Thorman, already looked at the fantasy prospects of Shaun Hill.
Both articles gave us a good head start on figuring out who Shaun Hill is and what to do with him in 2-QB fantasy football leagues.
What we know about Shaun Hill:
- He’s 34-years old.
- According to Mike Clay of PFF, he has attempted 16 passes during the last three regular seasons.
- He posted seven Top-12 fantasy performances in 11 games while filling in for an injured Matthew Stafford in 2010 (per Denny Carter).
- Is/was surprisingly mobile. From Pat Thorman: “Hill actually averaged more yards per carry than any of his running backs (5.6), and graded as PFF’s fourth best rushing quarterback (+2.7). In fact, he also graded positively as a runner and placed in the top 10 at his position both in 2009 (+1.7; 6th) and 2010 (+1.6; 10th), his only other seasons where he appeared in more than three games. Those are cumulative grades and Hill played far from complete seasons, lending credence to the notion that he was more mobile than commonly assumed”
- From Kyle Wachtel: “Shaun Hill has started 26 gms. Those AVGs over a 16-gm span: 328 of 535 for 3529 yds, 22.8 TDs & 13.5 INTs. 37 rushes for 187 yds & 1.9 TDs.“
Before we delve more into Hill’s prospects as the new starting quarterback in St. Louis, let us take a brief look at St. Louis’ quarterbacking play last season…
In the seven games Bradford played in before his season-ending surgery, he was 159-of-262 for 1,689 passing yards, and threw 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also averaged 17.5 fantasy points/game and was throwing a ton (averaged 37.3 attempts/game). After the first seven weeks he was the tenth highest scoring fantasy quarterback in the league. St. Louis post-Bradford/pre-Zac Stacy took on two different identities, even if the Rams averaged two offensive touchdowns/game with or without Bradford, according to Mr. Clay again.
When Bradford was lost for the season the team turned to Kellen Clemens. From Weeks 9-16, Clemens was QB27 overall during that time span. I removed Weeks 8 and 17 when he played the Seahawks. Those are not the greatest of cumulative stats, but if you dig deeper he scored 12 or more fantasy points four times, and was the ninth highest scoring quarterback Week 10 vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Clemens was, at best, basically a matchup dependent streamer.
This brings us back to Hill.
Talked to 2 GMs about Shaun Hill's preseason. The message was the same: "You know, he's really not bad. Better than a few starters in @NFL."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2014
If you own Bradford you most likely made your play for Hill already. If you’re in a 2-QB league and Hill is still available on your waiver wire and you need an upgrade at QB3 or don’t have a QB3 you could do worse than grabbing Hill.
Based on Pat Thorman’s Strength of Schedule analysis, Hill has three plus matchups in 2014, with an additional five games that could be deemed favorable. He starts the season playing against Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Dallas, and comes back from a Week 4 bye to face Philadelphia.
If you stash Hill on your bench, and he performs admirably during those first five weeks you could dangle him as trade bait to a quarterback-needy team. Experienced 2-QBers know exactly how shallow the position can get once the draft is over, which could lead to Hill going from waiver wire pick-up/end-of-draft selection to trade commodity quickly.
Yes, Hill won’t have Calvin Johnson to throw to like he did in Detroit, and you might not be sold on the likes of Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, and Jared Cook, and Hill could become a glorified hand-off specialist for Zac Stacy. Those are valid concerns. But, if you can pick up Hill off waivers for almost nothing to be your team’s QB3, or even QB4 in some cases, can you say no? I’d rather take my chances on Hill than say Matt Schaub.
Now that you know who Shaun Hill is. The next step is figuring out what to do with him in your 2-QB league.
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