Sam Bradford's injury history should have
fantasy owners thinking twice about drafting the Eagles QB.
I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and I love my hometown
Yes, I still have hope (possibly, make that probably foolish)
that Sam Hinkie and Ron Hextall can turn the 76ers and Flyers
around. OK, the Phillies and their current inept management team,
not so much.
Then there is the one ray of hope all Philadelphians have of actually
seeing a playoff game in the next calendar year - the Eagles.
The Eagles are led by a dynamic coach/general manager in Chip
Kelly. He's won 20 games over his first two seasons as a head
coach. He's done it mostly with former head coach Andy Reid's
In 2013, Kelly turned the Eagles into a dynamic offense. They
had been ranked 29th in scoring the previous season. He molded
a backup quarterback, Nick Foles, into a fantasy stud. He even
made the less-than-mediocre Riley Cooper into a valuable fantasy
wideout that season. LeSean McCoy led the league in rushing attempts
(314) and yards (1,607) and DeSean Jackson produced the best season
of his career (82-1,332-9).
Last season the Eagles, under the direction of Kelly, Foles and
backup Mark Sanchez finished third in scoring (29.6 ppg), but
the Eagles missed the playoffs by losing three of the final four
Meanwhile the coach/GM has continued to re-make the team with
players who fit his "scheme and culture." During the
past offseason he tried, and failed, to procure his old Oregon
Ducks quarterback - Marcus Mariota. He let Jackson go in 2014
and this past offseason traded McCoy for defensive help.
Kelly also traded for former St. Louis Rams signal caller Sam
Bradford (at what some would say was an exorbitant price). He
This leads us to the question of the day.
Who will be the Eagles quarterback in Week 1 against Atlanta?
Since Kelly has already proven that he has installed a quarterback-friendly
offense (his first two seasons have averaged 4,493 passing yards,
29.5 TDs, 15 INTs), determining who will be under center is of
paramount importance for fantasy owners.
Of course, who will be under center during the fantasy playoffs
(weeks 14-16) is also an important question because we have seen
that in both of Kelly's first two NFL seasons, none of his quarterbacks
were able to stay healthy enough to play all 16 games.
the newly-acquired Bradford is the epitome of injury-prone.
Bradford, the first overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, has played
just seven of 32 games (21.8 percent) over the past two seasons
due to two ACL injuries. He was pretty good in those seven games,
however, throwing 14 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
He's got a solid arm and is a quick decision-maker, two key attributes
in a Kelly offense.
He can also be had for an inexpensive price ... by fantasy owners.
Not the Eagles, who will pay him almost $13 million this season.
Fantasy owners, however, can grab him in the 11th round based
on his current ADP. That would likely be a "steal"" if I could
promise you that he would play the entire season.
Unfortunately, I can't.
At this time I can't even guarantee he'll be ready for Week 1,
latest news from Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com is that he will
be ready for 11- on-11 drills when training camp opens up on Aug.
However, even if he makes it into the starting lineup for Week
1, there are a number of issues working against him.
The sore-kneed QB will have a "re-worked" offensive line in front
of him. During the offseason the Eagles let go two of their starting
front five which Pro Football Focus ranked No. 2 in 2015. They
said goodbye to Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans.
And they failed to keep their top wideout from 2014 - Jeremy
Maclin. Over the past two seasons the Eagles have lost their
two best receivers - Jackson and Maclin, replacing them with rookie
Agholor and second-year wideout Jordan
The Eagles also loaded up at the running back position, essentially
exchanging McCoy for 2014 rushing champion DeMarco
Murray and former San Diego Chargers starter Ryan
Health, a revamped offensive line coming together and the quick
maturation of a very young receiving corps is a lot that has to
go right for Bradford to become a fantasy star for the Eagles
Still, the upside of producing top-five statistics in the Kelly
up tempo offense means fantasy owners will have to pay close attention
to the Eagles training camp and preseason games.
In my mind, however, Bradford can't be counted on to still be
under center come the fantasy playoffs which means an owner would
have to allocate at least three spots on his roster for his quarterbacks
- Bradford, handcuff Sanchez and a third reliable option. With
the way injuries can devastate a fantasy roster at other positions,
that's just too many spots to justify the low percentage chance
that Bradford becomes great this season.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.