The hype surrounding rookie Teddy Bridgewater, deserved or otherwise, to this point has made it easy to overlook how Matt Cassel seems to be taking hold of the starting job under center for the Minnesota Vikings. After going 12-for-16 for 153 yards and a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night, Cassel is now 17-for-22 for 215 yards through two preseason games.
Preseason success does have to be taken with a grain of salt, but Cassel is a virtual lock to start Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams. I’m maintaining my take that he should keep the starting job as long as he is healthy and playing solidly, but has anything changed in terms of how fantasy owners should regard Cassel on draft day?
Cassel appears to have good command of Norv Turner’s offense, and we should see more of that in the Vikings’ third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Bridgewater has acknowledged he is thinking too much, and head coach Mike Zimmer has attributed some of the rookie’s struggles to not having a full grasp of the offense. Bridgewater is clearly Minnesota’s quarterback of the future, but at this point the odds he sees significant action early in his rookie season look remote.
In a 12 or 14-team league, I’d have to give Cassel a long look late in a draft or auction right now. Working in Turner’s offensive system, with some very good talent around him, I’d think about drafting Cassel as a QB2 before more notable names like Joe Flacco, Alex Smith and Geno Smith. Any owner that drafts him, maybe even as a third quarterback in very deep leagues, would be in line to get the most out of Cassel until he perhaps becomes useless waiver wire fodder in most fantasy leagues. In that scenario, his ultimate longevity as the Vikings’ starting quarterback this season becomes a moot point.