For the time being, Matt Cassel remains the Minnesota Vikings' starting quarterback. Despite that, Teddy Bridgewater's fantasy value continues to rise after a 30-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night.
Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer hasn't announced who will be the starting quarterback when the Vikings open the regular season against the St. Louis Rams. That's left the two players in limbo.
Rather than wading in with an opinion before Saturday night's game, Cassel said all he can do is prove his worth on the field, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
I don't know the timetable on this thing. I've just got to continue to work hard and get prepared for Kansas City and go out there and play, and hopefully play a good football game, and then let coach make that decision when he feels it is right.
After the Vikings' win, Bridgewater looks unlikely to unseat the incumbent starter. He only attempted seven passes, compared to Cassel's 17. Tomasson pointed out that the two have quite similar lines in terms of attempts and completions:
They are nearly identical in the preseason on attempts and completions. Cassel 26-39, Bridgewater 26-40.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 24, 2014
Here's how the two QBs have performed through the Vikings' first three games.
Minnesota fans have reason to be excited about Bridgewater. He's looked poised in the pocket and already appears to be a steal with the 32nd overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft.
With that said, the rookie hasn't been otherworldly under center. He's made the kind of mistakes you'd expect a young passer to make in preseason. If Cassel weren't already on the team, then maybe Bridgewater would have a shot to start in Week 1.
The Vikings' starting QB job was Cassel's to lose, and so far, nothing leads you to believe that he hasn't solidified his role on the team. Although Bridgewater has looked promising, Cassel has at the very least met expectations. Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis felt that the 32-year-old could close the debate on Saturday:
Good outing for Bridgewater, but Cassel all but sealed the QB battle tonight. Can go for the fatality finisher next week #Vikings— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterStrib) August 17, 2014
Tomasson agreed that Cassel has positioned himself as the best candidate to start in Week 1:
Matt Cassel this preseason is 19 of 24 for 299 yards and 2 TDs. Why doesn't Mike Zimmer just call a timeout now & announce him the starter?— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 24, 2014
This is not to say that Bridgewater lacks any sort of fantasy value this season.
Earlier in training camp, Johnny Manziel was making the strongest case to be the first rookie QB taken in standard fantasy drafts. However, his stock is slipping a bit after Brian Hoyer was named the starter for Week 1. The rumor that he's struggling to grasp the Browns playbook isn't encouraging for Johnny Football's 2014 outlook, either.
Bridgewater's jumping to the top of the list, and his stiffest competition might come from Blake Bortles, who himself has a major roadblock to the starting job in Chad Henne:
"Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater have more than lived up to expectations thus far" - Bill Polian on NFL Insiders— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 19, 2014
As good as Cassel has looked over the past few weeks, he is far from a secure option. If he struggles after four or five weeks, might Zimmer opt for the rookie?
Because of that unpredictability, it's hard to get either too high on Cassel or too low on Bridgewater. Who knows where they'll finish the season?
Right now, neither is arguably worth drafting in standard 12-team leagues, unless you want to keep three or four quarterbacks. Cassel's only looked like a consistent fantasy star in two of his nine previous seasons in the league, while you're not sure when Bridgewater will see the field.
If you're willing to take a big leap of faith, then draft Bridgewater. He's certainly worth selecting in keeper leagues. Cassel should be considered a waiver-wire addition.