The Jet Press

Early fantasy football expectations for Sam Darnold

By John Post
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans looks for an open receiver against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans looks for an open receiver against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Should fantasy football owners consider drafting rookie quarterback Sam Darnold to stash for later on in the season? It’s best to wait a bit on making such a decision.

The New York Jets traded with the Indianapolis Colts, to move up from the 6th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft to the 3rd pick, ensuring themselves of getting one of the three potential franchise quarterbacks.

Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped towards the podium, anticipation started growing on which player the Jets would pick. Then Goodell spoke, “With the 3rd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select, Sam Darnold, quarterback USC.”

As NFL teams and players are preparing for their preseason games and ultimately the start of the regular season, fantasy football owners are starting to prepare for their drafts. To help with that preparation, we are going to look at what the early expectations are for Darnold.

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Head coach Todd Bowles has stated that Josh McCown is the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart and that either Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater would have to take that spot away. Darnold signed his rookie contract late and missed the first few days of camp, putting him behind the top two on the depth chart.

The Jets open their preseason schedule on August 10th against the Atlanta Falcons and it will be interesting to see how much playing time each quarterback receives.

If McCown is currently the Jets starter, he should only see a drive or two before being replaced. It will then be up to the coaching staff to see who plays. There are still questions about Bridgewater, who suffered a horrific injury before the 2016 season and Darnold may not have enough of the playbook to truly put in a staggering effort.

Here are Darnold’s projected stats heading into the season; ESPN has him getting some more playing time, where Fantasy Pros and myself have about equal stats.

What’s not projected in these stats are fumbles. In 2016, Darnold fumbled nine times, losing five of them, but his last season at USC, those numbers jumped to 12 and nine. Those nine lost fumbles would have been enough to lead the league. Here is the list for the most fumbles lost in the 2017 NFL season:

Next. Top 10 greatest draft selections of all-time by the Jets

With the depth chart currently the way it is, McCown will be starting and either Bridgewater or Darnold will be backing him up. It’s hard to see how Darnold will have any real fantasy value in the 2018 season, but it is something to keep your eye on as the season gets closer. For now, however, it’s best to search for other quarterbacks to start and have as your backup(s) since Darnold will likely have to wait a while before his number is called.

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