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- Fantasy Football 2015: Sam Bradford, Chip Kelly and Love - Sep 2, 2015
Crush: a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.
Yeah. I guess you could say I have a crush on Sam Bradford.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been absolutely in love with the fantasy prospects of Bradford in his inaugural season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Heck, I’ve even started calling him “Baeford”, which, to no surprise, has me questioning both my man card and purpose on this planet. But, as we all know, in fantasy football, sometimes there are just those guys that you are so high on that you can’t imagine a fantasy roster without them. But, Adam. Why haven’t you ever talked about Bradford before?
Because he wasn’t playing in fantasy’s heavenly offense. That’s why.
City of Fantasy Love
Heading into this season, two major questions surrounded Bradford — can he stay healthy and can he excel in this offense? Well, after watching him during Saturday night’s preseason game, I can assure you that Bradford looks both healthy and very good in this offense, folks. The former Heisman winner was locked in against the Packers, going 10-for-10, totaling over 120 yards and three touchdowns. The touch on his passes were incredibly impressive, and he knows how to run this offense. Don’t forget that Bradford ran a very similar offense during his time at Oklahoma University during the 2008 season, where the Sooners averaged 79.5 offensive plays per game, the third-most in all of college football. That just happened to be the year Bradford threw for 4,700 yards and 50 touchdowns, en route to the Heisman trophy. Oh, and guess who was lined up next to him during that season?
If you guessed DeMarco Murray, you would be correct.
Having a familiarity with an offensive system and the players around you is very key for a starting quarterback, and Bradford knows this system extremely well. And boy, what a system it is. We know that the Eagles are a high-scoring offense that will put up plenty of points, but the volume is also there for anyone in this offense. Last season, no team in football ran more plays per game than the Eagles did (70.7). Chip Kelly’s arrival has really helped to not only make the quarterback’s job easier, but it also helps their numbers. And you can believe in Bradford’s ability or not, but you simply cannot deny what this offense means for fantasy purposes. Since Kelly took over this offense, whoever the Eagles’ quarterback is, whether it be Mark Sanchez, Nick Foles or Michael Vick, has accumulated at least 15 fantasy points a healthy 65 percent of the time. And since the start of the 2013 season, only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck have scored more total fantasy points than Philly’s signal callers.
This team also has plenty of weapons for Bradford to utilize. All of their running backs are very, very capable pass-catchers out of the backfield, while Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz are all big play guys.
But … Bradford is bad!
Is he though?
Like I eluded to, many people just haven’t ever been a believer in Bradford’s talent, and plenty still aren’t. And while I’m in the belief that Bradford is still more than a competent signal caller, guess what?
It doesn’t really matter.
Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles are very bad NFL quarterbacks, but that didn’t stop them from combining to average 16 fantasy points per game last year. Meanwhile, I think Bradford is still good. In 49 career starts, he has 11,065 yards, 59 touchdowns and 38 interceptions. And let’s not forget that the Rams not only had very limited offensive weapons, but they had (and still have) one of the worst offensive lines in football. For instance, since 2012, St.Louis has had a bottom-five unit in terms of pass-blocking, which may have played a minor factor in Bradford missing about 30 percent of his career games. In Philadelphia, however, he’ll be behind arguably the best offensive line in football, led by studs like Jason Peters (I miss you) and Jason Kelce. And in this offense where the football gets out a lot quicker than most systems in the league, there is less of a chance of Bradford taking hits.
Now I’ve drafted Bradford on a handful of rosters this offseason because I think, assuming he plays 16 games, will be at least a top-10 fantasy quarterback. The not-so-impressive Eagles’ duo last year combined to finish as QB8, so there is literally no reason Bradford can’t at least repeat that production. However, I’m also not an idiot or blind. I fully understand that Bradford is still a bit volatile, so pairing him with another quarterback makes the most sense. Here are a few combinations I’m fond of.
Bradford and Brady
I recently pulled this off in a CBS IDP analysts league, and Jamey Eisenberg actually coined it the “Adam Pfeifer QB Double.” So that’s cool. The move makes perfect sense, though.
Upon writing this, Brady is still expected to be suspended for the first four games of the year, which means you’ll have to roll with Bradford during that span. However, look at his opening season schedule.
Week 1 @ ATL
Week 2 vs DAL
Week 3 @NYJ
Week 4 @WAS
Week 5 vs NO
Week 6 vs NYG
Other than the Jets matchup, none of these defenses are frightening — in fact, they’re just flat out not very good. Bradford should be a top-10 guy during the first five or six weeks, at least, and then when the matchups get a bit more difficult, you can plug in Brady, who many may few safer, who gets Dallas, Indy, the Jets, Miami and Washington from weeks 5-9.
Bradford and Stafford
I’m putting Stafford here, assuming Calvin Johnson stays healthy, and if that happens, Stafford may not be a top-five fantasy quarterback, but he will be a heck of a lot safer than he normally is. Golden Tate is playing outstanding, and is a really good wideout, but this offense is another monster with Megatron active. Stafford averages about four more fantasy points per game with Calvin in the lineup, tossing almost a full touchdown more per contest, too.
Bradford and Romo
Because Bradford is still going relatively late (that may change soon), you can pair him with Romo, who is pretty safe, considering he is playing behind the best offensive line in the league, throwing to arguably the best wideout. Since 2011, Romo is averaging 31 touchdown passes, 4,155 yards and finishing on average as QB9 in fantasy land. And, like Bradford, Romo plays in the NFC East, which features some bad defenses and games that should see plenty of high-scoring totals.
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