Why Sam Bradford Will Be on All of My Fantasy Football Teams This Year
I don't think Sam Bradford is very good at football. But he's still going to be on all of my fantasy football teams this year.
I like to stream my quarterbacks -- I enjoy optimizing my fantasy lineup each week at the position using waiver wire players with favorable matchups. During fantasy drafts, I'm less concerned about what my quarterback's going to do for the entire year, and more worried about what he'll accomplish over the first few weeks of the season.
And it's because streaming the signal-calling position in fantasy football works. Sure, it's easy to say that in hindsight -- 41 different passers ended 2014 with at least one top-12 (QB1) performance, so usable, start-worthy quarterbacks were clearly out there on your waiver wire each week. But, last year, I (along with my podcast partner-in-crime, Denny Carter) proved that it was a viable strategy. We streamed a mid-QB1, one that was a little better than Matt Ryan and a little worse than Drew Brees. And we did it with zero investment.
That brings me back to Sam Bradford. Whether I think he's a good quarterback or not doesn't really matter for fantasy football. What's important is his situation -- where he's being drafted, the offense he's in and the weapons he has to throw to. And that situation, for quarterback streamers, is ideal.
Kelly's 2014 QuarterbacksNick Foles and Mark Sanchez. Those were the quarterbacks Chip Kelly used last season en route to the 13th best passing offense in the NFL, per our schedule-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.
I guess that's pretty impressive.
What really stood out last year was Mark Sanchez's play. According to our Passing NEP metric -- which measures expected points added through the air -- Sanchez blew his best year out of the water in 2014. It wasn't even close.
|Year||Passing NEP||Per Drop Back||Success Rate|
Sanchez's 0.15 Passing NEP per drop back last year was 13th best in the NFL, better than Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson.
It'd be foolish to think this was the result of Sanchez all of a sudden becoming a top-notch quarterback. No, considering this incredible jump, this has just as much to do with the Chip Kelly offense as anything else.
This efficiency translated to the fantasy gridiron, too. From that perspective, Foles and Sanchez combined for borderline QB1 (top 12) numbers last season. And weekly, the two finished with six top-12 performances, which would have been seven had only one of them played against the Texans. That type of production is only seen from low-end QB1s.
Bradford's Early-Season Outlook
There's even more to this Eagles quarterback story entering 2015. The biggest thing quarterback streamers look for when picking a passer to use is good matchups -- who wants to start Shaun Hill against the Seahawks? Maybe his mom, but I doubt she'd even have the confidence to do that.
Using your streamer against bad, [hopefully] bottom-half ranked defenses against the pass is important. And that's exactly what Sam Bradford gets to start the year.
If you're looking at drafting a quarterback late (Bradford's early average draft position suggests he'll be a double-digit round selection) or streaming the position, your goal should be two-fold. You want that passer to have a good ceiling, and you want him to also have a good early-season schedule.
The former is pretty obvious for Bradford. We just witnessed Mark Sanchez perform like a QB1 in fantasy football last year. To start his career, Bradford's been more effective than Sanchez in terms of NEP. In turn, he's got a reasonable ceiling in a high-powered offense.
But the schedule, man. Whew, boy. The Eagles' schedule to start the season is fantastic.
|Week||Opponent||2014 Adj. Def. Passing NEP Rank|
|3||New York (Jets)||21st|
While some of these teams should improve against the pass (I'm looking at you, New York), it's tough to not get excited about Bradford's potential here. And considering Nick Foles scored 21.90 fantasy points per game against bottom half defenses last year (four points per touchdown pass leagues) while Sanchez was at 20.46, you're looking at a potentially incredible start to your quarterback streaming Frankenstein in 2015.
And who knows, maybe Bradford will perform so well that he becomes an every week fantasy football starter. Even if he doesn't, at least you have the waiver wire.