Jimmy Garoppolo's injury could make him a value in fantasy drafts
Under the radar quarterbacks should be couched within the context of the old fantasy football axiom "Wait on a QB." It's been around fantasy football circles for years. I actually disagree with that most years, especially in SuperFlex and 2-QB leagues. But this year I am planning on waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Most years the research indicates that you would be fine drafting one of the top 14 or 15 top quarterbacks to start for your team every week. The difference this year however is that I really think that list goes about 20 deep. One could easily build up the rest of their lineup and then have no problem drafting late and going with a Philip Rivers/Matthew Stafford tandem for example. And given that you would not have to draft either during the single-digit rounds of a standard 12-team league, you should be strong at the other positions.
However, I only chose Rivers and Stafford because they are well-known names and quantities that are certainly not under the radar. So allow me to give you a few names, broken into league size categories, whose ADP is way too low in my opinion who I think are going under the radar.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson is typically the 17th QB off the board. He seems to be the most popular on Fantrax, where he is often the 14th QB taken, but on Yahoo he nearly falls out of standard QB2 range, where he is the 23rd QB selected.
Let's just say I think Fantrax users have a better sense where Lamar Jackson should be going versus Yahoo users.
For starters, one of the biggest slights about Jackson is that his frame was too frail to weather the hits that an NFL quarterback takes. I agree about that original issue, but Jackson did some bulking up in the offseason.
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Secondly, another knock on Jackson is his passing ability but there was plenty talk during the offseason that the Ravens were looking to make the offense more balanced, a notion that has been reinforced by the early reports coming out of training camp.
Harbaugh on Lamar Jackson: "He's going to work at it every hard. Who is he going to work with? That's up to him to answer. I expect him to come back a better QB skill-wise than when he left." Harbaugh said Jackson "will throw a lot" this offseason.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) January 25, 2019
If they do that successfully, expect Jackson's passing stats to take a huge leap.
However, even if they don't, his rushing stats alone should make Jackson a valuable commodity, especially in 4-pt passing TD leagues where Jackson's rushing TDs will be a weapon. Given he had four rushing TDs and 556 rushing yards in just seven starts, I expect him to easily surpass that in a full season.
Jackson does not have a high floor. However, his ceiling for his second season is very similar to Cam Newton's sophomore season when he rushed for 741 yards and threw for nearly 3,900. If Jackson follows a similar path, he will easily surpass his ADP.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
I don't understand how a guy goes from being in the top 10 one preseason to falling to the 21st taken the following preseason. Well, he sustained a significant injury last season. Must have been to his throwing shoulder, right? Wait, what's that you say, it was his lower body and he has already been cleared to play?
#49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be fully cleared today, GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan said. He has a physical scheduled for today to make it official.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) July 26, 2019
Ok, then it must be because his supporting cast got weaker, right? The 49ers already have George Kittle, one of the best tight ends in the league, have Dante Pettis, a young wide receiver who made strides late last season, signed Tevin Coleman this offseason, and drafted a potential YAC (yards after the catch) monster in Deebo Samuel. Does that sound like a weaker supporting cast?
Unless his ADP skyrockets, I'll be shocked if Jimmy G doesn't land on at least half my teams.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Darnold finished last season with a flourish. In Weeks 14-16, he had six touchdowns. He picked up right where he left off in the first preseason game, completing four of five passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. But it wasn't just the stats, but the manner in which he did so. He sidestepped pressure on 3rd-and-6 and rifled a beautiful 32-yard seam pass to Chris Herndon. Of course Herndon will be suspended for the first four games. But if we like Garoppolo's supporting cast additions, you have to like Darnold's, who now has Jamison Crowder and Le'Veon Bell to keep defenses honest. I'm projecting Darnold for 3,600-plus passing yards and 20-25 touchdowns. I'll gladly take that from my second quarterback.
14/12-Team 2-QB League
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
I'll be honest. I don't know if Fitzpatrick is going to win the starting job for Week 1 in Miami or not. I'm not even sure Miami head coach Brian Flores knows at this point. But I do know that FitzMagic will be starting at some point this season. It's the circle of life...
16-Team or Larger League
If you're in a league with 16 teams or more, you're going to have to take a chance on a backup or two. Which is why you need to take a long look at...
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
First off, unlike half the backups in the league, I absolutely think Tannehill will be starting at one point during the season. Marcus Mariota has yet to play 16 games in a season, so it's not a question of if Tannehill will be forced into action, but when. People quickly forget how much promise Tannehill had before his injury. Now, more than a year removed from his injury, Tannehill still has the potential to pass for 4,000 yards if he played a full season. He won't, but can he start and throw three touchdowns like he did against each of Oakland, Buffalo, and New England last year? Absolutely.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.