With the 2019 NFL season and fantasy football fast approaching, here’s our 2019 Fantasy Football Outlook for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
When the New York Jets selected 22-year-old quarterback Sam Darnold out of USC with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, many fans of the green and white rejoiced, as it seemed as if the team may have finally found a franchise quarterback after years and years without one.
Despite the optimism regarding Darnold, it was also expected that he would experience his fair share of ups and downs throughout his rookie season as he adjusted to the NFL. In addition, Darnold wasn’t exactly surrounded by a high powered offense, another reason it was expected that he would have to go through an adjustment phase.
And overall, he certainly showed signs of promise, though he struggled at times as well, especially early on in the season. Then, he suffered an injury setback that forced him to miss multiple games. Over the last four weeks of the season, however, Darnold began to put things together, playing the type of football the Jets had hoped he would when they drafted him.
On the 2018 season as a whole, Darnold threw for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. It is, however, incredibly reasonable to think that the second-year signal-caller will have a more productive year in 2019.
First off, as previously mentioned, Darnold truly began to put things together towards the tail end of his rookie season. Over the last four games, for example, he threw for 941 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He was also the highest graded quarterback in the NFL over the final three weeks of the regular season.
In addition, Darnold began to build chemistry with players like Robby Anderson and Chris Herndon as the season progressed. Looking ahead, there’s no reason to believe that Darnold won’t continue to click with these playmakers.
It’s also important to note that not only the Jets offense but the Jets team as a whole looks vastly different this year and many of these changes are expected to benefit Darnold. Heading into his second year, he’s surrounded by a much-improved offense that includes new additions like Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder. In addition, new head coach Adam Gase, known as an offensive guru, is expected to work well with Darnold.
In regards to the upcoming fantasy football season specifically, Darnold represents a bit of an interesting case. While his future is bright and it’s certainly expected that he’ll continue to progress in 2019, he is still only 22 years old. Also, while the many changes the Jets have made are expected to benefit Darnold, it’s also quite possible that there will be another adjustment period in which the kinks need to be worked out.
Ultimately, an impressive season could undoubtedly be awaiting Darnold, though at this point in his career it’d likely be smart to pass on him for a more experienced and established quarterback for fantasy football.