The Vikings competition at quarterback is heating up between the veteran Matt Cassel and the rookie Teddy Bridgewater. According to those at Vikings training camp, Bridgewater has looked extremely impressive in the early-goings and has made a nice transition to the NFL level.
At this juncture, the expectation is that Cassel has a tiny advantage over Bridgewater at lining up under for Minnesota in Week 1. However, the 1st-year product out of Louisville is beginning to make the strides that the team envisioned when they made him the 32nd overall pick of last year’s draft.
It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out with the Vikings, but I expect Bridgewater to ultimately be handed the keys to Minnesota’s offense. For all intensive purposes, Bridgewater holds the higher fantasy value.
When Mark Wahlberg’s character in the film “Ted” met his childhood idol Flash Gordon, he muttered these words:
“I thank you for saving everyone of us.”
The fantasy community shared a similar sentiment yesterday, at the hands of another Flash Gordon…
With Josh Gordon making his season debut yesterday in Minnesota, one would have thought that Emperor Ming was lining up upposite of Gordon in the Vikings secondary. Gordon pillaged the Vikings secondary for a gawdy 10/146/1 line and added 22 yards on the ground, for good measure. Making his season debut, coming off a 2-game suspension, Gordon has high WR2 upside playing in an offensive scheme largely dominated by a vertical passing approach.
As someone who has been an adamant supporter of a breakout year from “Flash,” I’m not shocked in the least bit that he wasted no time making a big statement. After the game he went on the record to say that the Norv Turner/Rob Chudzinski offense is “the best offense to be in.” No argument here.
With Brian Hoyer proving to be a possible upgrade over Brandon Weeden, Gordon would be a direct beneficiary of the Browns confidence throwing the ball downfield.
If Gordon can avoid off-the-field troubles and stay focused, he’ll be terrorizing the planet Mongo in an attempt to salvage the Browns season.
Take it away, Freddie Mercury.
Cordarrelle Patterson – For a junior college transfer who played only his senior season at the University of Tennessee, many thought that the Vikings reached on selecting Cordarrelle Patterson with the 29th overall pick in last year’s NFL draft. After Patterson took Sunday’s opening kickoff 105 yards to the house, it’s easy to see the kid’s raw talents. With 4.4 wheels and a big frame, Patterson projects to be a nice target this season. While Patterson has only seen 11 snaps on offense, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has vowed to find ways to get Patterson more involved. Naturally, no one expected Patterson to immediately join the lineup as Minnesota’s WR2, but it’s more than realistic to expect Patterson to be a part of the Vikings offense by week 6, coming off the bye in week 5. Jerome Simpson’s track-record is enough to assume Patterson will be the Vikings #2 receiver sooner, rather than later.
The Bottom Heist: While Patterson may wear #84, he’s not Randy Moss. But, he’s a bench stash with incredibly high upside in 12+ team leagues.
Justin Blackmon – I can’t stress enough that the functionality of the waiver wire is to acquire players with big potential. The fifth pick in the 2012 NFL draft struggled out the gate with the Jaguars last year, compiling a mere 26 catches for 250 yards across his first eight games. However, Blackmon turned it up the second half of the season, catching five or more passes in six of the final seven games and recorded four TDs over that span. While Blackmon will have to sit out weeks 3 and 4 to complete his suspension, his pre-season performance was highly productive, as he was frequently locked in as the #1 target in the passing game.
The Bottom Heist: There’s no telling just how good Blackmon can be, regardless if it’s Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne throwing him the rock. Blackmon posted a monster Week 11 last year vs. the Texans, tallying a 13/236/1 line.
James Starks – The last time I can remember James Starks being a relevant name drop was when my buddy Nano and I went down to this girl’s party in Newton, MA in 2010. While we ran the ‘ruit table, some herb was chatting about the University at Buffalo football program, pretty obscure, unless of course you’re the girlfriend of the logo designer for this site. Naturally, I knew saying “James Starks what up” to the kid, would provide him with an instant football orgasm. Sure enough, he talked about how much of a beast Starks was while at Buffalo. That year, while playing in relief of Packers starter Ryan Grant, Starks capped his rookie season with a Super Bowl ring and set the Packers rookie record for most rushing yards in a post-season game with 123. Three years later and Starks seems to be all the rage this week on the waiver wire.
After relieving concussed Eddie Lacy this week, Starks became the first Packers RB to rush for over 100 yards in a game since Oct. 10th, 2010. With the Packers bye week approaching in week 4, it looks like Lacy will sit out this week as Starks is primed to get the start in Cincinnati. While Lacy’s status remains hazy, look for the Packers to trend towards more of a time-share when both backs are in the lineup, to minimize the hits on their rookie.
The Bottom Heist: If Starks continues to perform, he will sculpt his own permanent role within the Packers offense, making him at the very worst, a top handcuff in a high-powered offense.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Much like Starks, and is often the case for off-the-radar fantasy backs, Rodgers’ value is contingent upon an injury to the Falcons starter, Steven Jackson. However, contrary to the situation in the Green Bay backfield, ‘Quizz has more than enough time to play himself into a role. For the last few years now, the pass-heavy Falcons have looked for Rodgers to be a dynamic threat in the pass game, coming out of the backfield. Not doing himself any favors with the opportunities he has been given, Rodgers maintains the shiftiness that many offensive coordinators covet from their scat back. For PPR and/or leagues that count return yards, Rodgers is a legitimate flex play for the interim. While the numbers haven’t been there in the early-going, the touches are firmly laid out in the on-deck circle.
The Bottom Heist: With S-Jax a candidate to return after ATL’s Week 6 bye, Rodgers has more than enough time to prove to the Falcons coaching staff that he deserves a role in the offense. He’s worth a look in 12+ team leagues.
Joique Bell – “I’d like to throw a shout-out to the big homie Reggie Bush for donating to the Joique Bell touchdown club.” Bell wasted no time embarking on his Mike Tolbert-esque role from a couple years ago, as he vultured 2 Goal line TDs away from Bush. It appears the Lions are set to roll out Bell in goal line sets, leaving Mikel LeShoure empty-handed. Don’t forget the Lions chuck it more than just about anybody in the NFL, as Bell added 5 receptions for 67 yards in his impressive Week 1 performance.
Jonathan Dwyer – In 12+ team leagues, Dwyer’s actually not a bad pickup this week. Just over a week ago, the Steelers pulled the plug on Dwyer, as he made his rounds to the Giants and Patriots camps for tryouts. After losing LaRod Stephens-Howling for the season to a torn ACL (and Maurkice Pouncey), the Steelers wasted no time in bringing Dwyer back. With Issac Redman totaling a meager 16 yards on 10 touches, look for Dwyer to get a crack at the workload until Le’Veon Bell returns from injury. With the Steelers o-line in shambles, don’t expect more than a low-end flex play, as Dwyer is owned in just 10% of leagues.