Christian Ponder handled most of the Minnesota Vikings' snaps during their final preseason outing against the Tennessee Titans, but fantasy owners are more concerned with Teddy Bridgewater chasing down current starter Matt Cassel.
While Cassel did not play at all Thursday night, Bridgewater led Minnesota on a drive culminating in a three-yard touchdown throw to Adam Thielen. He finished with an uneventful 17 yards, completing four of nine passes.
It was certainly not the rookie's most inspiring performance, but he played well throughout the four exhibition games. Unfortunately for him, the veteran simply played better.
On Monday, Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported that the Vikings ended the preseason competition, deciding to give Cassel the starting nod.
Vikings players were informed this morning that Matt Cassel will be the starting QB in Minnesota over Teddy Bridgewater— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 25, 2014
For fantasy purposes, that's hardly the most exciting choice. The 32-year-old touts a 59.0 career completion percentage with a devilishly boring 6.66 yards per attempt. Even during his breakout 2008 campaign—when he led the New England Patriots to 11 wins after Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1—he still accumulated a moderate 3,693 passing yards and 21 touchdowns.
Only owners participating in the deepest drafts this weekend will bother targeting Cassel. He belongs in a late tier with the likes of Jake Locker and Geno Smith, and those guys at least bring higher ceilings to the table. At a position so deep that Philip Rivers barely cracks the top 15 after enjoying a career season, there's no reason to mess around with these guys in standard one-quarterback formats.
Which Minnesota Vikings quarterback finishes the 2014 season with the most fantasy value?
The news is most exciting for Greg Jennings, who caught 41 passes for 491 yards in the seven full games Cassel played last season. He's an interesting bounce-back candidate who makes a better investment than the passer making it possible.
On FantasyPros, rankings aggregated from a group of experts give Cassel a consensus ranking of No. 33. Perhaps some of them have not updated their order after he was named the starter, but Bridgewater is ranked No. 32.
That's because talent often trumps a role that late in the proceedings. At best, Cassel becomes a solid No. 2 quarterback who lights up the scoreboard one or two weeks. The more likely scenario, however, involves him floating around the waiver wire with or without the starting role.
With Bridgewater, there's at least upside to pursue. The first-round pick remains patient, telling the Star Tribune's Mark Craig that his day will soon come.
As I stated once I got drafted, I felt like this was the perfect situation for me. Right now, I’m just able to learn, sit back and continue to learn, but also learn and prepare myself as a starter because as a backup you’re one play away from being out there on the gridiron with the guys.
He could usurp Cassel this season, but rookie quarterbacks are rarely a trustworthy source for fantasy production. It's dynasty players who should capitalize on his bench duties and draft tumble to procure a future impact player.
As for Ponder going 12-of-15 with 121 yards during Minnesota's 19-3 victory over Tennessee, move along. Nothing to see here during the preseason's largely meaningless final week.