Daniel Jones Fantasy Football Outlook & Value

The New York Giants spent their first-round pick last season on Daniel Jones, something that wasn’t necessarily well-received by their fan base. However, in his rookie season, Jones put together some impressive numbers and flashed star potential, even earning himself the nickname of Danny Dimes. The Giants have an underrated group of skill position players – Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley are a better group than anyone gives them credit. Jones is going to be playing for a new coach and new offensive coordinator in 2020. Can he elevate his game in his sophomore campaign with new coaching, or is he due for a sophomore slump?

2019 Statistics

PASS YDSPASS TDSINTSRUSH YDSRUSH TDSFPTSFPPG
3,02724122792226.9817.46

Danny Dimes only started 12 games for the Giants last season as Eli Manning started the first three and then passed the torch to his eventual successor. The Giants only went 3-9 in Jones’s 12 starts, but that was hardly his fault as the team allowed the 3rd-most points per game. Jones was also hurt by the missed games from the Giants’ surrounding offensive talent – Saquon Barkley (3 games), Sterling Shepard (6), Golden Tate (5), Evan Engram (8), and Darius Slayton (2) all missed significant time. What was impressive about Jones’s rookie season is he rushed for 6.2 yards per attempt – if he qualified on Pro Football Reference’s leaderboard, this would have been 2nd in the league behind Lamar Jackson. Dimes was the QB15 in per-game scoring for fantasy football last season.

2020 Projections

PASS YDSPASS TDSINTSRUSH YDSRUSH TDSFPTSFPPG
4,368.22612302.12296.9418.56

These numbers aren’t even that big of an upgrade for Jones over his rookie season – I have him down for the same TD: INT stats in 16 games that he put up in 12 starts last year. I do have his completion percentage jumping up 5% as he should be able to process plays quicker and make better decisions in Year Two. I decreased his yards per carry a bit, but he’s still one of the better rushing threats at his position. He should benefit from healthier pass-catchers in 2020 as well as an improved rapport with fellow sophomore and leading receiver from last season, Darius Slayton.

ADP/Auction Value

ADP: 120.1, QB15
Auction Value: $2

I honestly wasn’t thrilled when I saw the ADP number for Danny Dimes, as I thought he would be much more of a value in drafts. He’s being drafted as the 15th quarterback off the board, exactly where he finished in per-game scoring in his rookie season. However, I think there’s reason to believe he could build on that rookie production and return substantial value on his current ADP.

Floor

One concern I do have about Daniel Jones is that he fumbled the ball more times than any other player last season – 18 times – and also lost more fumbles than any other player with 11 of them. He isn’t in any real danger of being benched – backup QB Colt McCoy was signed to a 1-year, $2.25 million deal and isn’t expected to pose a real threat to take the starting role. Those fumbles do mean less offensive drives overall, though. There are numbers in Jones’s rookie report card that scream regression – his rushing yards per carry and his touchdown rate, in particular, may not repeat.

Ceiling

If you extrapolate Daniel Jones’s rookie numbers to a full 16-game slate, he would have been good for 4,036 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 372 rushing yards, and 2.6 rushing touchdowns. Thirty-two touchdowns is a massive number for the number of yards Jones threw for, but I see him improving his passing yardage for a few reasons. First off, the Giants’ defense should be a disaster again – positive game script allowed the Giants to rank 8th in passing attempts per game last year, and I see that repeating. I also think Jones’s efficiency will be boosted by new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as well as a cadre of hopefully potent pass-catching weapons. Finally, the arrival of Andrew Thomas should bolster the offensive line and allow Jones more time to find his open receivers downfield.

New York Giants Offense

New York GiantsLike I just mentioned, the arrival of Andrew Thomas in New York should do wonders for Danny Dimes’s productivity. Jones was sacked 38 times last season – the 12th most in the NFL. That doesn’t sound so bad until you realize he did that in 4 fewer starts than most of his contemporaries. Thomas is a dominant left tackle and a future All-Pro candidate. The arrival of Jason Garrett should also help this offense excel right away. In 8 of his 12 years as a coach in Dallas, his offense ranked inside the top-ten for either total points, total yards, or both. Sure, he may not have been a lights-out head coach, but he certainly knows his way around an offense. I’m skeptical of Sterling Shepard’s ability to play a full 16-game slate given his concussion history, but I do expect Evan Engram to be healthy as well as Golden Tate. Darius Slayton had an unexpectedly excellent rookie season, showing great rapport with his QB, and their connection should only improve in Year Two. Saquon Barkley is also one of the best pass-catchers at running back in football.

Strength of Schedule

Unfortunately for Daniel Jones and friends, the beginning of the Giants’ schedule is a murderers’ row of tough defenses. Their first five opponents – the Steelers (5th), Bears (7th), 49ers (2nd), Rams (12th), and Cowboys (10th) all ranked inside the top 12 of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last year. Things open up considerably after their Week 5 date with the Cowboys as the Giants play the Eagles twice (14th), Buccaneers (26th), Redskins twice (29th), Bengals (23rd), Seahawks (22nd), Cardinals (32nd), and Browns (18th) over their next nine games. I won’t be thrilled about starting Daniel Jones in the fantasy football championship against the Ravens’ 4th-ranked defense against quarterbacks from last year, but that stretch from Week 6 to Week 15 is pretty enticing.

Bottom Line

There’s plenty to like about Daniel Jones for this upcoming season between the Giants’ underrated pass-catchers, the arrival of Andrew Thomas and Jason Garrett, and his expected improvement in Year Two. However, with his opening schedule seemingly incredibly difficult, I’ll be hesitant to draft him in many leagues, especially at his current ADP. In redraft leagues, there’s a strong chance he gets dropped at some point during that brutal opening stretch, and I would scoop him up off the waiver wire at that point to take advantage of the beautiful schedule from Week 6 to Week 15. He’ll likely finish as a top-12 QB on the season or very close to it, with definite top-10 upside.

  
There are few things I love more in this world than the sweet glory of fantasy football. It's a year round sport and championships are won and lost well before the draft. When I was 15 I put together my first fantasy league and I was hooked for life.

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