Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension for Deflategate has been upheld in a court of law. Whether it will stick this time around remains to be seen. … But if Brady does indeed miss the first four games of the Patriots’ 2016 season (@Arizona, VS. Miami, VS. Houston, VS. Buffalo), then that means backup Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter.
The former second-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft has never started a regular season game in the NFL. In seven career preseason games (one start) Garoppolo has completed 110-of-159 passes for 1,172 yards, 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
As for the regular season, he has 31 attempts to his name, completing 20 for 188 yards, 1 touchdown and zero interceptions.
That’s all the data we have regarding Garoppolo’s NFL career to this point. As has been customary with these ‘Insert Quarterback Name Here Who‘ profiles, we need to dig a little deeper to find out more about Garoppolo, his situation, and what it means for 2QB fantasy football purposes.
Are You Jimmy G.? Who Wants Know? Who Wants to Know ‘Bout Me?
Is Jimmy Garoppolo lean-a and mean-a than Tom Brady? Maybe. But we’ll save the answers to those questions for when this website becomes Pro 2QB Fantasy Football Talk dot com. For now, let’s focus on figuring out who Garoppolo is.
Garoppolo played at Eastern Illinois, where he started eight games his freshman year and never looked back. In his collegiate career, Garoppolo completed 62.8 percent of his passes (1047-of-1668) for 13,156 yards, 118 touchdowns and 51 interceptions. He sported a 7.9 average Y/A mark for his career, but it was a robust 8.9 in his final season.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports had the following to say about Garoppolo in his 2014 scouting profile:
“Garoppolo is a very efficient and smart passer with lightning quickness between the time he takes the snap, makes a decision and gets the ball out of his hand. He lacks elite arm strength, but is more than adequate in this area and isn’t afraid to test small windows. Garoppolo is appealing as a next level quarterback because of his eye use, timing and overall intellectual process as a passer – will benefit from NFL coaching and should continue to get better, projecting as a future NFL starter within 2-3 years.”
The former Eastern Illinois Panther threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns in his final season alone. Those might seem like video game stats when you turn the setting on Madden to easy mode, and are explained by the level of talent he played against in the FCS, the lower Division-1 football level.
What this tells us is that Garoppolo was able to produce against lesser talent and competition in college. But can it translate to the NFL?
Cardinals, Dolphins, (Texans), and Bills! Oh My!
If Brady’s suspension is upheld, Garoppolo will play Arizona, Miami, Houston, and Buffalo in his first four games. It’s not the most fantasy friendly schedule overall, but does leave room the possibility to stream Jimmy Garoppolo as a QB2 in the right matchup(s).
Diving into 2015 numbers in terms of yards allowed per game, overall touchdowns given up, and fantasy points allowed per game by New England’s first four opponents we get the following:
|Yards Allowed/Game||Total Touchdowns Allowed||Fantasy Points/Game Allowed|
|Arizona (Week 1)||247.5||24||16.24|
|Miami (Week 2)||264.1||31||18.11|
|Houston (Week 3)||229.8||24||16.34|
|Buffalo (Week 4)||255.5||30||18.01|
Miami and Buffalo were both in the top-ten of most passing touchdowns allowed last season, and were middle of the pack when it came to fantasy points allowed per game.
When we break it down from a weekly standpoint (Week 1 to Week 16 only), these four teams combined to allowed 23 QB1 (top-12) fantasy performances last season. Only 12 times (out of 60) did an opposing quarterback finish in the QB3 tier (QB25 or worse).
That means opposing quarterbacks versus these four opponents last season finished as a QB1 (top-12) or QB2 (QB12-QB24) 48/60 times, or in 80 percent of games. Below is the weekly quarterback finish allowed breakdown for each defense:
Here’s the breakdown for each team and weekly finishes allowed to each quarterback tier:
|QB1 Finishes Allowed||QB2 Finishes Allowed||QB3 Finishes Allowed|
To Jimmy G. or Not to Jimmy G.?
That is the question, isn’t it?
Until we see have some 2QB redraft ADP to dissect it will be hard to gauge whether or not it’s worth spending a draft pick on Garoppolo this year. If what happened last year takes place again this year in 2QB redraft circles, which is Brady’s ADP falls because of the suspension threat looming the smart play would be to lock up both Brady and Garoppolo as a tandem to create a cheap fantasy QB1.
Because of last year’s possible four-game suspension, Brady’s 2015 2QB ADP was QB13 (49.7) and Garoppolo was going off the board on average as the QB31 (140). Brady finished as the fantasy QB2 last season. Drafting a QB2 who performs as a QB1 is the ultimate 2QB league winning move and history has a chance to repeat itself this year with Brady.
Of the six mock drafts TwoQBs is running right now, I have seen Brady selected with the following picks: 5.09, 5.05, and 4.10. Using a late-fourth/fifth-round pick on a potential QB1 screams value. Pairing Brady with a late round selection of Garoppolo gives you a security blanket if Brady does indeed miss the first four weeks.
We have seen how valuable backup quarterbacks are in the NFL and in 2QB leagues, as 53 different quarterbacks started at least one game last season. If you do draft Garoppolo, there’s a possibility he might be valuable even later in the season.
It’s hard to project Jimmy Garoppolo in Josh McDaniels’ offense, as Brady has earned the trust of the offensive staff to have more of a hands on role. It’s doubtful Garoppolo would have the same freedom as Brady, but he will be playing in an offense that features pass-catching threats such as Rob Gronkowksi, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, and Dion Lewis.
Regardless of the offensive schemes and plays McDaniels calls for Garoppolo, that’s an impressive arsenal of offensive talent you want your fantasy quarterback throwing to.
Rich Hill of SB Nation’s Patspulpit.com took to watching game tape of Garoppolo and said:
“His growth from his first preseason to his snaps against the Bills and Packers was considerable, as was his develop from the Packers game to his time against the Saints and Panthers. Another year and summer in the Patriots system should have him feeling more comfortable than ever before.”
Hill’s words are promising, as another year in the New England system should only serve to help his growth. I think these words would also make me feel a lot more comfortable about Garoppolo’s dynasty value.
Once redraft 2QB ADP becomes available it will give us a greater picture of how we should target Garoppolo. If last season’s ADP holds steady or is similar, using a late round pick on a quarterback guaranteed to start four games will be a move you will want to make (especially if you drafted Brady earlier). Or he could also be used as a part of streaming trio you plan to use early in the season and then wipe your hands (and a roster spot) free of once Brady comes back.
Whatever happens with Garoppolo at least we know he has had a more productive career than Jimmy Ray.