Teddy Bridgewater is coming; Teddy Bridgewater is coming!
Thanks Paul Revere, we know.
What we don’t know is when.
And if his coach knows, he’s not telling us.
“We still don't know where [practice reps are] going to go or where that's going to lead to,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday. “[Bridgewater] has been in a very controlled environment for the last 14 months. So, eventually, we have to work him into some uncontrolled environments.”
Until another quarterback not named Kyle Sloter has a left knee that can stand up to physical contact, this is the Case Keenum show.
As seen thus far, that’s not a bad thing – from a real-life or (more importantly here) a fantasy football perspective.
Keenum has completed 64.2 percent (13th best in the NFL) of his passes for 1,134 yards (21st), five touchdowns (tied for 25th) and one interception – he and Kansas City’s Alex Smith are the only two quarterbacks with 150-plus pass attempts and one or fewer interceptions.
He’s thrown five fewer attempts than Indianapolis’ Jacoby Brissett but 75 fewer yards and one more attempt than Washington’s Kirk Cousins but 200 fewer yards.
No, he hasn’t been the starter for all six games.
So, for comparison, the Vikings pass attack ranks 12th in yards per game (238.8), sixth in completion percentage (66.0), tied for 16th in touchdown passes (eight) and second in fewest interceptions (one).
“While he might not be the long-term answer at the position,” Star Tribune Vikings reporter Ben Goessling wrote of Keenum in Thursday’s newspaper, “he’s afforded some semblance of normalcy.”
That semblance of normalcy has given the Vikings (in PPR scoring, according to Fantasy Pros) two top-12 wide receivers (Stefon Diggs, eighth, and Adam Thielen, 12th) and a top-10 tight end (Kyle Rudolph, ninth).
New England is the only other offense that compares – with two top-11 wide receivers (Chris Hogan, seventh, Brandin Cooks, ninth) and a top-two tight end (Rob Gronkowski, second) – and it has the Tom Brady advantage.
When we left Bridgewater as the Vikings franchise quarterback in 2015 none of his wide receivers ranked in the top-40 in fantasy football – Diggs checked in at No. 42.
That receiving corps featured Diggs as a rookie, a seemingly old Mike Wallace, Jarius Wright and Rudolph – who was PPR’s 13th-best tight end, placing him behind the likes of Green Bay’s Richard Rogers and Detroit’s Eric Ebron.
Star Tribune Vikings and NFL Insider Mark Craig declared Bridgewater’s statistics that season “’70s throwback numbers,” noting the Louisville product had nine games where he threw for 188 or fewer yards.
Bridgewater should be better in 2017 and beyond than he was as a second-year pro, and the Vikings also have more talented pass catchers in 2017 than 2015 – which should make Bridgewater look better.
But will Bridgewater really be better than Keenum – given the current state of both players?
Bridgewater doesn’t quite have Titanic-level rust, but it’s been 13-plus months since he’s played meaningful football.
No, Keenum doesn’t have the pedigree of Bridgewater – undrafted free agent vs. 2014 first-round pick. But it’s also important not to undersell the value of continuity and rapport, which Keenum and the receivers appear to have.
Buy Bridgewater long term, but don’t be so quick to buy him as better for Vikings skill players in fantasy football than Keenum.
Want to talk more fantasy football? E-mail Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or heckle him on Twitter @mike_e_nelson.