Teddy Bridgewater had a better 2015 than fantasy owners think
(Editor’s note: Our Crazy Fantasy Stat of the Day is an occasional free PFF Fantasy offering, highlighting something that catches our eye and helps us learn something for the 2016 fantasy season.)
Popular opinion would have that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a pretty bad sophomore slump. After all, he averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game as a rookie in 2014, and not only did that number not grow in 2015, it actually fell to 13.3. On the other hand, he had a higher passer rating in 2015 than 2014, fewer interceptions despite more games played, and raised his number of rushing scores from one to three.
Bridgewater didn’t make the leaps in his second year that some foresaw for him, that’s true. But he also didn’t get the chance to do much. As a rookie, Bridgewater had Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata as his primary running backs, and while they are fine for what they are, neither guy is Adrian Peterson, whom Bridgewater and the Vikings got back in 2015.
A lot of it adds up to our Fantasy Stat of the Day: Despite a disappointing reputation, Teddy Bridgewater actually led all qualified quarterbacks in adjusted completion percentage in 2015, at 79.3 percent. Adjusted completion percentage is a quarterback’s completion percentage that also gives him credit for receiver drops. Bridgewater’s 79.3 percent rate was tops, just ahead of Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson.
He did this on only 32.4 dropbacks per game, the fewest of any full-time quarterback (only Nick Foles, Johnny Manziel, Matt Cassel and Case Keenum had fewer among quarterbacks playing 25 percent of their teams’ snaps). He also had the fewest pass attempts of any quarterback who played all 16 games.
Basically, once the Vikings got Peterson back, they didn’t need Bridgewater nearly as much. Minnesota running backs ran the ball 336 times in 2014. Peterson ran the ball almost that many (327) by himself last year, and McKinnon, Asiata and Zach Line divided another 87 among them. That’s almost five extra plays again with the Vikings’ running backs doing the work instead of the quarterback.
[Will the Vikings let Bridgewater throw more in 2016, and if so, will that hurt Peterson’s value? Try a mock in our new fantasy Draft Master tool and see if Peterson is worth the pick it will cost.]
Bridgewater drew some buzz before 2015 as a quarterback set to make a leap, and he didn’t do that. But by most measures, he also didn’t fall off that much. His adjusted completion percentage rose from Year 1 to Year 2. His interceptions and sacks fell. He put up 0.40 fantasy points per dropback as a rookie, 0.41 in his second year. It was just that he didn’t have many dropbacks.
With Adrian Peterson getting ever older, and rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell in the fold, there’s a chance that the Vikings to be slightly more Bridgewater-heavy in 2016. Bridgewater is the No. 26 quarterback in our staff consensus rankings, between Brock Osweiler and Geno Smith, but if he gets more usage in 2016 than he did in 2015, he has a shot at exceeding that. As for the rest of the relevant Vikings, Peterson is our No. 6 RB, Treadwell is our No. 38 WR and second-year receiver Stefon Diggs is our No. 42 WR.