This year, Sam Bradford is a solid No. 2 quarterback in standard fantasy leagues. (One exception is Matt Ryan, whose sophomore stats were a mere 7 passing yards per game below his rookie campaign.)
Notable QB second-season stat differentials
Josh Freeman: +30 pass YPG, +3.6 TD/INT ratio
Michael Vick: +98 pass YPG, +1.3 TD/INT ratio
Peyton Manning: +24 pass YPG, +0.8 TD/INT ratio
Eli Manning: +119 pass YPG, +0.7 TD/INT ratio
Mark Sanchez: +43 pass YPG, +0.7 TD/INT ratio
Joe Flacco: +40 pass YPG, +0.6 TD/INT ratio
Donovan McNabb: +131 pass YPG, +0.5 TD/INT ratio
Matt Ryan: -7 pass YPG, +0.1 TD/INT ratio
Bradford was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, posting strong numbers: 60 percent completion rate, 220 passing yards per game, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (1.2 TD/INT ratio). Sims-Walker posted a combined 1,431 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009 and 2010, while Avery has 100 grabs for 1,263 yards and eight touchdowns in his two NFL seasons. Rookie receivers Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, as well as rookie tight end Lance Kendricks, are also expected to contribute. Bradford also had some interesting splits as a rookie, though some were a tad alarming. The conservative play-calling also played a role here, as Bradford didn't have to worry about throwing many long passes through the cold air.
Bradford has looked decent this preseason in McDaniels' new system, completing 24 of 43 passes (55.8 percent) for 278 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. That said, his yards per attempt is a mere 6.5 despite having an 83-yard touchdown pass.
ESPN.com projects Bradford for 3,899 passing yards, 21 TDs and 14 INTs. I see St. Louis having to play catch-up in a lot of those matchups with the NFL beasts, allowing Bradford to average close to 40 pass attempts per game, which would be a significant jump from 36.9 last season.
Many of the above reasons will prevent Bradford from producing elite fantasy quarterback numbers this year. Bradford lit up the Seahawks at home for 289 yards and two touchdowns in last year's 20-3 victory.
Bradford will spend 2011 building a rapport with his young supporting cast, which will be orchestrated by youthful offensive coordinator McDaniels. If all goes as planned, Bradford should be ranked in the 10-12 range among fantasy quarterbacks entering 2012.
Bradford came into the league in 2010 and finished as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Why You Should Draft Sam Bradford
Bradford offers both of those. In 2010, Bradford was surprisingly safe with the football for a rookie. Why You Should Not Draft Sam Bradford
Out of his 16 regular season matchups, Bradford recorded one touchdown or less in nine games. Why You Should Draft Matthew Stafford
A healthy Stafford could mean Top 8 quarterback status in 2011.
Why You Should Not Draft Matthew Stafford
Stafford was knocked out of the first game in his sophomore campaign, only to come back and play two more games to re-aggravate his shoulder, ultimately knocking him out of the season. Both quarterbacks will throw their fair share of interceptions, although Bradford may be the safer pick in that department, and if you’re looking to take a guy who’s more likely to stay on the field, Bradford is your pick. Bradford’s upside is also there, but going into his second season, he’s still on a little bit of a learning curve, and I do expect more mistakes out of a young quarterback, although Bradford has already started more games than Stafford.
Overall as a risk-taker myself, I’m going with Stafford’s upside compared to Bradford.