For whatever reason they may have, the Minnesota Vikings chose to name Matt Cassel as their starting quarterback for the 2014 NFL season. Maybe they wanted to let Bridgewater sit and develop or maybe they actually believed Cassel gave them the best chance to win. Regardless of their reasoning, their plans are now irrelevant.
Matt Cassel went down in the Vikings Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints with multiple fractures in his foot. They have since officially placed Cassel on the injured reserve, meaning he will be out for the entire season. This has catapulted Teddy Bridgewater into the starting quarterback roll sooner than the Vikings would have liked.
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Minnesota chose Teddy Bridgewater with their first round pick (32nd overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Louisville. This put him behind first round quarterbacks such as Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. He is 21 years old and stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing in at 210 pounds. Bridgewater possesses decent size for a quarterback and is extremely smart, well-prepared and driven. He can be considered a good athlete, but should ultimately be looked at as a pocket passer. He does, however, lack elite arm strength and touch on his deep balls.
In terms of a fantasy player, the question we all want to know is: Can Teddy Bridgewater Be a top-15 quarterback? Well, first we have to look at exactly what it means to be a top 15 fantasy quarterback. According to Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football, EJ Manuel is the 15th ranked quarterback this season with 46.42 fantasy points, or 15.5 points per game. So basically, can Bridgewater score 15.5 points a game?
Like with any athletic quarterback, fantasy points accumulated from rushing yards will be present. This year there are 7 quarterbacks with at least 54 rush yards on the season, or 18 yards a game. So realistically you can expect Bridgewater to be able to match that, if not post higher numbers due to the shaky o-line play of Minnesota forcing Bridgewater to run from the pocket. So let’s mark that as 2 FPPG from rushing. He needs 13.5 more per game. Strictly through the air, that’s about 235 yards and a touchdown per game, doesn’t seem too crazy, right?
Taken all this into consideration we must remember that he is a rookie. He will throw interceptions which will hurt his fantasy value and he will make mistakes. But, the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings will need to throw the ball if they want to have a chance to win games this season. Bridgewater is a more talented quarterback than Cassel and will be able to make plays with the weapons he is given, whether it is through the air or with his legs. My money is on Bridgewater sneaking into the top 15. His rushing ability will bring him there and his short-medium throwing accuracy will keep him there.