This isn't the time to get cute when setting your lineups for championship weekend of your fantasy leagues. You all should know that I'm heavily in favor of starting your studs over dudes that have recently shown a glimpse of greatness (Danny Woodhead, Beanie Wells are examples) with a ton on the line.
However, if you're in a pretty deep league or your options aren't very encouraging this week, you may have to reconsider. I know I have that problem somewhere, and it involves Sam Bradford…
Bradford's future is bright
Bradford has thrown for over 300 yards in a game only three times this season, but one of those came last week against the Minnesota Vikings, a game in which he also threw for three touchdowns - something he's done only twice this season.
I know, I know, Bradford hasn't been much more than a midrange backup all season long, but in his defense, his best receiving option, Danny Amendola (shoulder, foot), has appeared in only nine games due to injuries. Amendola was catching passes in two of Bradford's three 300-plus passing days, and he scored touchdowns in both of those contests.
For a stretch there, Bradford was relying on an inexperienced pair of wideouts in Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens. They've both matured a ton by being forced into relevance, and they'll be more productive in complementary roles in these last few games.
Amendola appears to be finally over his latest foot injury, and he's had at least 11 targets in three of his last four games. Tampa Bay, the Rams' Week 16 opponent, won't be able to completely neglect Gibson and Givens in favor of Amendola, though.
While the Buccaneers have been pretty decent at stopping the run this year - they allow only 15.9 standard scoring points to running backs per game - they are giving up the most points per contest to QBs (23.0). For that reason alone, it's hard to find much wrong with Bradford's matchup this Sunday, even if it's on the road.
These last two games of St. Louis' season could also provide interesting insight into Bradford's 2013 value. Steven Jackson is likely to depart, but Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead are ready to step in to give them at least a respectable rushing attack.
Gibson and Givens will effectively allow the aerial attack to stretch the field - something the offenses under Bradford have yet to successfully achieve. Amendola should be a point-per-reception monster, if only he can stay healthy. Brian Quick will be the wild card with another year of development under his belt, and he could emerge as an option for fantasy rosters by midseason.
The bottom line: There is optimism for this offense in the near future, even without S-Jax in the picture, which may have been hard to envision before this season. As a result, Bradford could emerge with the most productive seasons of his career to date. Keep him on your radar when you start drafting next year.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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