Denny Carter doesn’t draft quarterbacks in the Apex Experts League, and it doesn’t slow him down. Last year, he won the title. Only 15 QBs were taken during this year’s festivities. Since the experts are playing this out for cash, we can assume they believe it’s the best way to win.
Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Mitchell Trubisky, Josh Allen, and Tom Brady weren’t selected. Tom Brady. (Of course, Brady’s No. 1 threat may be Jakobi Meyers.)
Sam Darnold also wasn’t selected. After torching the Giants for 68 yards on an opening-drive score Thursday night, I don’t expect him to stay on the waiver wire for long.
Sam Darnold and the 2019 Breakout
Darnold is probably not the reason Denny didn’t select a QB. In his look at value QBs this spring, he liked Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, and one of the other free agent QBs from the list above. I’ll let you click over for that, because Denny wins leagues with his approach and you’ll want to follow his lead.
But Darnold is certainly one of the reasons Late Round QB is alive and well in 2019.
Earlier this week, Tyler Loechner broke down the controversy surrounding Robby Anderson’s ADP. One entry on the positive side of the ledger for Anderson: his rookie signal-caller emerged down the stretch.
Darnold also had a solid fantasy stretch from Weeks 5 through 7, but he looked like an entirely new player when he returned from injury in Week 14. His yards per attempt jumped from 6.9 to 7.4, and he only threw a single interception over the final month.
It hasn’t taken him long to pick up where he left off. Long before he led a scoring drive on his only possession pre-Week 1, Darnold was generating headlines for anything from his quick progression in the new offense to his magical increase in arm strength to his improved communication.
All of this fits with what we know about Year 2 breakouts at the QB position.
Year 2 QB Breakouts
Many of you are familiar with Blair Andrews’ excellent work on breakouts and age curves for RBs and WRs, and recently he trained that same lens on the QB position. It can be difficult to use even a late-round pick at QB when so many solid veteran options are available, but history suggests you might want to take the leap.
Year 2 is the only experience level where QB scoring increases. Most of that value comes in second-year breakouts by first-round picks.
It gets even better for Darnold. The younger the QB, the more likely the breakout.
Darnold entered the NFL as the youngest QB and one of the youngest players in his draft class.
To refresh yourself on the ages of the second-year players, be sure to check out Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones, and the Rookie Age Database.
Increased competition was one of Tyler’s negatives for Robby Anderson. But what may be a negative for Anderson is certainly a positive for Darnold, and it was on display Thursday night. He immediately took advantage of Jamison Crowder, targeting him several times and hitting him for the 3-yard score.
As the trends converge in his favor, I like Darnold to best our official projection of QB28. My recommendation? Test this for yourself. You can use the new Projection Machine to research team trends, and view the historical results for both the Jets and their new coach Adam Gase. The machine allows you to experiment with Darnold’s new weapons and see how a jump in talent from his peripheral receivers could juice his fantasy output.
Sam Darnold is not going to be Patrick Mahomes, but the stars are aligning for a league-winning second-year breakout.