After coming into the season with hope for an improved season from last year, the St. Louis Rams had their worst fears realized Sunday. Sam Bradford, the team's franchise quarterback, will reportedly miss the 2014 season with a torn ACL.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported the news on Twitter:
Rams QB Sam Bradford is out for season after MRI shows he did tear left knee ACL, per sources. Rams will announce later today. @ESPNNFL— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) August 24, 2014
The loss of Bradford leaves an opportunity for former starting quarterback Shaun Hill. Though he hasn't been given many opportunities in recent years, Hill has put together a decent career and is a viable backup.
Adam Caplan of ESPN provides some background information on the quarterback:
Shaun Hill is the only QB remaining on the #Rams roster who has started a game (26 in career).— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 24, 2014
Luckily for the Rams, Hill is an experienced backup quarterback ready to take over the starting role. Though he doesn't offer quite the same fantasy value for owners, he has a chance to put up good statistics.
Following the first preseason game, Hill spoke about trying to get comfortable with the Rams offense, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com:
There’s still some learning for me and some comfort in the offense that needs to come. But that’s what the preseason is for and I’m very glad that they still have four preseason games. I know there’s been a lot of talk about pushing them back to two, but for young guys or any new guy to the team, having four preseason games is great just to get that experience.
A former starter for the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, Hill has put together decent numbers over his career. In 34 games played, he has 6,381 passing yards, 41 touchdowns to just 23 interceptions and a career 85.9 quarterback rating.
Those numbers are worthy of being a decent starter, but they're not quite at the level of a healthy Bradford. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report shares his thoughts on the situation:
I do like Shaun Hill a lot, he's one of the better backups in the league, but he's a step down from where Bradford was thought to be.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) August 24, 2014
Needless to say, Hill might not be a strong fantasy option for teams looking at backups. But with targets like Tavon Austin, Brian Quick and Zac Stacy around him, he has a chance to be a consistent signal-caller for the Rams.
Albert Breer of NFL.com notes that St. Louis might be looking at other options for the position:
If there's one trade target makes sense for the Rams, if Bradford is out for any period of time, I'd say it'd be Eagles QB Mark Sanchez.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 24, 2014
What is Hill's fantasy value for this season?
Much like Josh McCown stepped up last season in the absence of Jay Cutler, Hill has a chance to do the same. But Quick and Austin are hardly the receivers that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were for McCown last season.
Given a chance to thrive with a strong offense and defense, Hill could be a waiver-wire pickup if a backup becomes a blunder early in the year. If his consistency in the pocket continues with the Rams, expect him to put up decent numbers in St. Louis.
But with the possibility of the Rams going shopping around the league, Hill could be a difficult choice with other veteran starters on the waiver wire. In deep leagues, he might be one to watch moving forward at the position.
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