Quarterbacks in the NFC East have been very…interesting lately, to say the least. Dak Prescott was throwing the football into the sun weekly but got hurt, unfortunately. Then, we got to watch that mediocre train of backups light up the NFL and sit there wondering what could have been. In Washington, you have the Football Team that still doesn’t have a name. They went from the G.O.A.T Dwayne Haskins to Kyle Allen, to the comeback player of the year Alex Smith, and to the child that we were promised, Taylor Heinicke. That’s not all, kids.
How can we forget about the complete shit sandwich that was the Philidelphia Eagles QB situation? Love Carson Wentz, great guy, we’ll always have 2017…blah blah blah…but good lord, that man played like he was trying to lose his job. Then a rookie came in mid-season and outplayed him. The only team that had consistent QB play last year was the one and only New York Giants. Who was their guy? Danny Dimes ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Daniel Jones.
Now, this isn’t to say he lit the world on fire, but he did pretty well. He did miss two games and played like dog shit one game and still finished as QB24 with terrible weapons, a new coach, a horrendous offensive line, and missing a pretty good running back. Today, I am here to decide if Daniel Jones will take that leap into franchise quarterback for the Giants and your fantasy teams. We will be looking at his weapons, previous performance, and the offensive line to determine if we want Jones to lead us to glory, or if we want to let our Giants friend draft him. We all have at least one.
Note: You can read Club Fantasy’s preview of the entire Giants’ offense here!
Taking A Look Back
Daniel Jones has had an interesting career, to say the least. He took over for Eli Manning and, while he didn’t light the world on fire, he did just fine his rookie season. That’s not to say he didn’t have his problems. The fumbles. Oh, the fumbles. He had 18 in 2019 and 11 in 2020. He’s had a few accuracy problems as well, with some dangerous throws here and there. Let’s take a look at a quick breakdown so we can reference it.:
|Yards per Attempt||6.6||6.6|
|Fantasy Points per Dropback||.34||NA|
|Fantasy Points per Game||13.4||16.2|
|True Passer Rating||79%||78%|
|Pressured Completion %||33.3%||38.9%|
|Clean Pocket Completion %||75.7%||71.1%|
|Carries per Game||4.6||3.5|
|Games with 0-11 fantasy points||6||3|
|Games with 12-17 fantasy points||3||6|
|Games with 18-25 fantasy points||5||0|
|Games with 25+ fantasy points||0||4|
At first glance, Mr. DJ didn’t really improve as a passer, aside from his deep pass accuracy, which is not listed. He only threw it deep 39 times last year but ranked as the top deep passer in 2020. Some could blame it on sample size but that’s still pretty good. However, most of his stats didn’t improve all that much. He went from having a “boom or bust” fantasy floor to more of a steady QB2 pace. TDs were down, yards were down, fantasy points per game — the only thing that improved was his rushing. But why? Well, one huge reason was his weapons. He lost Saquon Barkley, his best WR was Sterling Shepard, and his offensive line was paper. But has that changed at all this year? Let’s see if the right changes were made.
The Giants wasted no time this offseason not only declaring Daniel Jones as the QB for 2021 but also adding what every fan wants to see: weapons. First of all, he’s getting back one of, if not the best running backs in the NFL, Saquon Barkley. He causes a lot of problems for opposing defenses and will open up so much more for that offense. I have a feeling he’ll be busy once he gets going too. The Giants need him. More importantly, New York got Daniel Jones some WR help.
First, they added former Detriot Lions WR Kenny Golladay. Golladay is a true WR1 and will give Jones a huge option on the outside. Jones hasn’t really had a true big-bodied WR his whole NFL career, so I’m interested to see if this becomes a pair to watch. They also added competition for both Shepard and Slayton in the first round of this year’s draft, Kadarius Toney. My guess is he goes to the slot. He’s the most dynamic there. That affects Shepard.
Then they added John Ross for competition for the up and down Darius Slayton. Some might be excited about John Ross but I’d rather have Slayton. Ross hasn’t been good his whole career and I don’t expect Jason Garrett to bring the best out of him now. Toney is a huge addition and absolutely causes a problem for Shepard. Whoever wins will benefit from Mr. Jones’ low YPA. Either way, Jones can now go to several targets. Something is wrong though…
A huge problem last year was the New York offensive line. It was ranked 31st out of 32 teams in 2020 by PFF and was a mess all year. First Nate Solder opted out. Then, after Will Hernandez got COVID, Andrew Thomas underwhelmed as a rookie, and Shane Lemieux (ranked last among guards in 2020) looked lost. It’s never good when Zack Fulton is the most consistent lineman you have. Despite this underwhelming performance, very little was done to improve this unit. Nate Solder is starting at right tackle while Thomas is on the left, while I assume Will Hernandez will return to guard. The loss of Zeitler is a bummer for sure. This is a huge problem.
The offensive line is the most important part of football outside the QB, and in some cases, it’s more important. Daniel Jones’ accuracy drastically changes when he is under pressure. It drops from 75.7% in a clean pocket to 33.3% under pressure. That’s a huge drop-off. Their line is ranked last (32nd if we’re scoring at home) heading into the 2021 season. That’s terrifying for Mr. Jones. But it’s not all bleak. Andrew Thomas was a rookie, we can’t count him out yet. Will Hernandez and Zack Fulton haven’t been world beaters but they are consistent options at their positions. The return of Nate Solder is a good sign, but we want 2018 Nate Solder and not 2019. Hopefully, the new OL coach Rob Sale can bring the best of out these boys.
To wrap it up, Daniel Jones needs a few things to go his way in 2021 to be a true QB1 in fantasy. The connection with Golladay has to be sharp and the chemistry has to be there. His upgrades on offense will help for sure. So many people to throw to with Barkley returning to take the pressure off. I think Daniel Jones takes a leap this year, having that number one option can really help you take that next step. Plus, his rushing was really underrated last year, he was 6th in rushing yards among QBs. So if he can tap into that, he may be a mini Konami code.
It just concerns me when they have Washington and Dallas twice, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City. The Eagles don’t have a bad pass rush either and this line might not be able to hold. I said above there is hope for the offensive line, but it doesn’t look good. Daniel Jones ADP right now is QB19, which isn’t expensive at all. It’s not like you are risking high draft capital. If you are a wait and grab two QBs late and see which one pans out kind of player, Daniel Jones might be perfect for you. He will have his weeks (read: favorable matchups) but he’s best to be looked at as a QB2 with rare QB1 upside until we see more.