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Fantasy Football Draft 2012: Sam Bradford Will Bounce Back, But How High?

A look at the St. Louis Rams' fantasy football options for the 2012 NFL season.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 01:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams attempts a pass during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 1, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 01: Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams attempts a pass during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 1, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Here's the dirty secret of St. Louis Rams fandom, which I am offering to you, the fantasy football reader, as 2012 draft advice: Sam Bradford's 2011 season wasn't really much worse than his 2011 season. It looked much worse, of course; he threw more incompletions, so his QB rating, which double-counts accuracy, was down, and he missed six games so he didn't top 3000 yards again. But his yards-per-attempt was identical to the year before, and he did that while getting sacked an incredible 3.6 times per game, twice as frequently as in 2010.

So he'll bounce back, in the sense that the numbers he will put up in 2012 will be more in keeping with his superficially impressive 2010 season. But where does that put him in fantasy football terms? Well, here's the other dirty secret: He wasn't all that great in 2010. His big counting stats were the result of a Pat Shurmur offense that made an art out of throwing four passes to Danny Amendola when one to a normal receiver would do; Bradford did little work downfield, and since his personnel didn't get any better in 2011 that only marginally improved then. (His yards-per-completion went up from a league-worst 9.9 to a below-average 11.3.)

So Sam Bradford will put up some solid numbers, though he might not pass as frequently under Jeff Fisher. But that still only makes him a fantasy backup, until he can make a more dynamic connection with one of his new receiving options.