Uncertainty surrounds Teddy Bridgewater. In his first two seasons with the Vikings, Bridgewater showed he was capable of being an above-average starter in the NFL. However, a torn ACL halted his momentum, leaving the quarterback with only 118 passing yards in his last two seasons with the Vikings. Bridgewater showed promise once again after taking over for an injured Drew Brees in 5 games. Now, the former first-round pick has the opportunity to showcase his talents with the Carolina Panthers and head coach Matt Rhule. The concern is that Bridgewater hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2017. Is he ready for the grind of an entire season? Will he adjust to a new system and scheme with the Panthers? I predict he will adjust with a quality season. But by no means will it be an elite season.
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Teddy Bridgewater’s 2019 season was a success. After failing to acquire a starting quarterback role with a team, the former first-round pick from Louisville took his chances with the New Orlean Saints, a proven organization where Bridgewater could develop under perennial hall-of-fame quarterback Drew Brees. Luck was on Bridgewater’s side as Drew Brees went down with a hand injury, giving Bridgewater the opportunity to show that he was a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL.
Bridgewater capitalized on the opportunity. In 5 starts, Bridgewater threw for 1384 passing (264 yds/game) nine passing touchdowns, and rushed for 31 yards. Bridgewater showed that he could be patient, make the right reads, and take care of the ball. Because of this, the Panthers gave Bridgewater the starting quarterback position in 2020. With weapons like Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore, I expect a quality season out of Bridgewater.
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Lineups also expects a quality season as well, projecting the quarterback to throw for 3492 yards for 25 passing touchdowns. They also expect Bridgewater to contribute somewhat in the rushing game with 170 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
Bridgewater showed that he can carry an offense with elite weapons (Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara) and I think he’ll do the same with the Panthers (Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore). However, Bridgewater’s lack of a deep ball, suspect injury history, and conservative style of play isn’t conducive to fantasy success. While he has deep threat weapon DJ Moore, I don’t know if the Panthers offense will trust Bridgewater to make those deep throws consistently. Instead, of the offense running through Bridgewater, I expect the offense to run through Christian McCaffrey. This means, designed check-downs, short passes in the flats, and screens. These passes don’t equate to huge receiving yards or touchdowns, which could hurt his fantasy value.
Lastly, I question whether the Panther’s offensive line can keep Bridgewater healthy. Bridgewater excelled with the Saints who had a dominant offensive line. However, he struggled with the Vikings in his first couple of seasons because he never had time to throw. Outside of Russell Okung and Matt Paradis, the Panthers have unproven lineman. This issue could disrupt Bridgewater’s rhythm during games, impeding his timing on deep throws.
2020 Teddy Bridgewater:
* Freakishly athletic weapons
* Joe Brady's fast-paced scheme
* Bridgewater's Nola familiarity with Brady in limited-rep year
* In fantasy, #Panthers shootout upside compensating for potentially league-worst D
* FF-friendly schedule, especially early on
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 27, 2020
ADP: 162.2 QB: 26
Auction Value: $1
Given all the uncertainty surrounding Bridgewater, his ADP is 162.2 and he’s the 26th ranked quarterback. He’s not valued by fantasy owners who are keen on taking risks with younger, uncertain players. At this ADP range, I can’t hate this choice. Taking a flyer on Joe Burrow (ADP: 153), Dwayne Haskins (ADP: 157.7), or Tua Tagovailoa (ADP: 146.7), and stashing them on your bench is the move I would make if I had safe quarterback options. If these guys overperform, you can insert them into your starting lineup in favorable matchups. These are the risk you need to take to win your league.
However, I think Bridgewater is more equipped to outperform a lot of these guys. I have him rated above, Tyrod Taylor, Dwayne Haskins, and Tua Tagovailoa. It makes sense to take Bridgewater if you took a flier on a more polarizing quarterback like Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield. Either way, anyone who drafts Bridgewater is getting a guy that, if healthy, will put up 3000+ passing yards and 24+ touchdowns.
When healthy Bridgewater has a high floor. He’s an above-average game manager at heart meaning that he will make the right read, not force too many passes, and take the check-down when giving. He won’t have too many 300+ yard games, but can consistently provide a fantasy owner with 200 yard 2 touchdown performances. You won’t see wildly inconsistent games from Bridgewater.
Bridgewater doesn’t have a high ceiling. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, elite scrambling, or size. In the times he has played, he hasn’t taken over games at the quarterback position. I could see the quarterback struggle early in a new system. He has a lot to learn and prove, but I think his mentality is in the right spot. I just don’t think that the Bridgewater we know can substantially improve in 2020.
The Panthers offense has explosive weapons. DJ Moore and free-agent acquisition Robby Anderson are excellent deep-threat options. Curtis Samuel is a smaller shifty receiver with yac potential. Christian McCaffrey is the best receiving back in the NFL. The question becomes whether Bridgewater can make the most of his situation. Bridgewater doesn’t have the strongest arm and can struggle to read complex schemes. While I don’t think Bridgewater is the best quarterback fit for the offensive pieces on this team, I believe the pieces are strong enough that Bridgewater should meet his career production numbers.
Strength of Schedule
The Panthers don’t play a lot of difficult defenses. They play the dismal Falcons defense twice, Detroit, Arizona, and the Redskin’s questionable secondary. Adding on, they play the suspect Chiefs and Buccaneer’s secondaries. Needless to say, Bridgewater should have plenty of opportunities to make plays on opposing defenses. It must be noted that the Panthers have a week 13 bye, the latest possible bye. They share this bye with Buccaneers meaning that I would stay away from drafting both Bridgewater and Brady.
I think Bridgewater is a sure, safe bet for fantasy owners. With his ADP, you aren’t taking a considerable risk if he struggles. Instead, you gain a viable backup for injuries, byes, or inconsistent play by your top quarterback. Expect Bridgewater to be a stable presence on your bench with the possibility to start on byes with good matchups.