In the 14th round, with the 166th Overall pick in the #Razzbowl League 13 Draft, “Team 3 Barry” selects, JIMMY GAROPPOLO! With an ADP of 141.76 according to NFFC, I was more than happy to take Jimmy G as my QB2 to pair with Kyler Murray. That QB duo gives me the classic “Floor/Ceiling” pairing that you like to have in a format like the “better ball” format of the Razzbowl. A lot of people are very low on Jimmy coming into this year’s fantasy draft season, but I believe that he will prove the doubters wrong and return a solid value on your investment.
This past off-season, many analysts were talking about how the 49ers should outright release Garoppolo and replace him with free agent California native Tom Brady. Some were even talking about how they should bring in guys like Cam Newton, Teddy Bridgewater or Jameis Winston to take over the helm from Garoppolo. How can a guy who is 19-5 in 24 regular season starts with the 49ers have people calling for his release? A guy who, in his first full regular season last year, helped his team be 9 minutes from winning the Super Bowl. A guy who just last year got the ultimate vote of confidence, signing a 5 year $137.5 million contract.
Most of the criticism of Jimmy G is his inconsistency and lack of passing attempts. This is not only a criticism among the Fantasy Football community, but even Chiefs’ Frank Clark made a comment after the Super Bowl about Jimmy in a post-game interview saying “Hes gotta throw the ball. Obviously, he didn’t do that. They threw for about 200 yards on checkdowns”. Clark does make a valid point. In fact, Garoppolo had the lowest ADOT of the last decade of any QB with 8+ YPA. If you include the postseason, Jimmy’s average depth of target was 6.9 yards which tied him for lowest in the NFL.
This “knock” on Jimmy is not his fault. The San Francisco offense is built around the concept of attacking the middle of the field with short passes and quick routes. They have built their roster with quick pass catchers who can take a short pass and rack up the YAC. Jimmy is doing what his boss asks of him, and he has learned Kyle Shanahan’s complicated system and has done a good job executing it and winning ball games.
Most fantasy drafters are shying away from Garoppolo due to the fear of lack of passing volume. Even with only 526 drop backs and 476 passing attempts last season, Jimmy still nearly threw for 4000 yards, finishing the season at 3978 which ranked him 12th in the NFL. He was also tied for 5th in the league throwing for 27 passing touchdowns. In addition, he ranked in the top 5 in completion percentage at 69.1 percent. Surprisingly, thanks to the design of the play calling and the YAC monsters he has to throw to, he also finished top 5 in yards per attempt at 8.4 YPA. He finished the 2019 season as the 13th ranked QB in PFF grade, but he is being drafted this season as QB20 or worse. I just drafted him the pick AFTER Mitch Trubisky for cryin’ out loud! (Thanks Wes!)
Now there are certainly some question marks heading into 2020 about the 49er receiving core. Rookie sensation Deebo Samuel broke out in a major way last season but will miss some time in the beginning of this season after undergoing surgery on his foot in June. They also had veteran Emmanuel Sanders last season who has since moved on to New Orleans. Kendrick Bourne came up clutch in some big spots, but behind him there are major uncertainties. The addition of Brandon Aiyuk in the first round of the draft was an exciting addition as he is a very fluid route runner who brings some explosiveness and speed to the table; all traits that Kyle Shanahan loves in his wide receivers. The wild cards will be Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd who both spent 2019 on the IR. Taylor showed rapport with Jimmy G in 2017, especially on third down, showing he was trusted by the QB. Hurd was drafted to be a matchup nightmare for Shanahan in this offense but his back injury put a damper on those plans so we are yet to see how he could be deployed in the 49er offense. Having one of the best TE in the league in George Kittle also makes you worry a little less about wide receivers knowing you have him as a top target and an receiving threat. Deebo will be back, so put a combination of Kittle, Deebo, Aiyuk, Bourne, Taylor, Hurd on the field for most of the season and I cant see why Garoppolo couldn’t succeed.
The last thing to consider coming into 2020 is that Garoppolo has a full offseason healthy and is not rehabbing an injury like he was coming into last season. After tearing his ACL in 2018, the 49ers were cautious with the rehab process and didn’t rush him along too early. His focus of the 2019 offseason was on his health and his knee and this offseason Jimmy says his knee feels “night and day” better than it did in 2019. With his health improved and a solid team and coaching staff around him, Garoppolo is focused on proving the doubters wrong and WINNING a Super Bowl now. I am taking him with confidence as my QB2 in 2020, especially with his current draft value.