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2022 Fantasy Football: Should You Draft QB Daniel Jones?

Matt Brandon Jun 17th 1:59 PM EDT.

Ever since entering the NFL out of Duke, Daniel Jones has been somewhat of an enigma, Many pundits think he’s a complete bust after being selected sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft during Dave Gettleman’s horrendous tenure as the New York Giants’ General Manager. However, some think that he is a quarterback who hasn’t been allowed to thrive given the weak weapons at his disposal. 

Let’s take a close look at Danny Dimes the enigma and decipher a few reasons to take a chance on him as well as a few reasons to consider fading him entirely.

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Why Fantasy Owners Should Draft Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones gets the most hate for his proneness to turnovers. In 2019, he tossed 12 interceptions and fumbled the ball 19 times in just 12 games. He was a bit of a liability, which you can’t have at the quarterback position in the NFL. However, since 2020, Jones has committed just the 15th-most turnovers among quarterbacks in the league. Yes, he didn’t suit up for quite as many games as some of the players at the top of the list but he has clearly improved his ball protection skills over the last two seasons.

What has hurt Jones almost as much as turnovers has been the atrocious offensive line that the Giants put together over the last few years? Jones has been sacked the sixth-most times since entering the league despite playing at least seven fewer games than the few players who are ahead of him on the list. If he suited up as many times as Matt Ryan, he might be the most-sacked quarterback over the past three years. However, the New York Giants finally have two young promising tackles in former first-round pick Andrew Thomas and the No. 7 selection out of the 2022 NFL Draft, Evan Neal. The Giants got rid of the aging Nate Solder and signed Mark Glowinski at the guard position in free agency. Big Blue’s offensive line should be better than it has been since the G-Men won the Super Bowl back in 2012. These talented big men in the trenches should give Danny Dimes a ton of extra time to throw the pigskin in the pocket. Jones has already proved that he is capable of being an elite deep-ball passer when he actually has time to drop back. Although Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton struggled big-time last season, Golladay was far from fully healthy. Both of these players should stretch the field and create some deep-ball opportunities for their quarterback. 

Following his 24-touchdown and 12-interception rookie year, Jones has improved as a passer according to Pro Football Focus. That said, Jones was asked to employ a far more conservative game plan under Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Instead of letting Jones be aggressive with his arm, the Giants opted to prevent silly turnovers by simplifying the playbook. Fortunately for Jones and the Giants, Big Blue brought in Brian Daboll as the new head coach, who is a much more innovate play-caller than Garrett and is a huge reason that Josh Allen progressed as well as he did in Buffalo. 

With more competent coaches and a much better supporting cast, this is the make-or-break season for Daniel Jones. And we haven’t even talked about the kid’s running ability. Since 2019, Jones has averaged 5.8 yards per carry, only second among quarterbacks to the great Lamar Jackson. When Daboll was in Buffalo, Allen averaged nearly seven rushes per game. Jones only carried the ball across the line of scrimmage 5.6 times per game in 2021 after only averaging 4.6 carries per game in 2020. Jones should see more options where if there is space, he will be asked to take off using his legs. Jones should see more production on the ground given his mobility. He may not be a top-12 quarterback but he can certainly come close if the injury bug doesn’t hit the Giants’ locker room.

Why Fantasy Owners Shouldn’t Draft Daniel Jones

Not only does Jones still have turnover issues but fantasy owners may be worried about his touchdown production on such a mediocre team. Over his last 25 games, Jones has just 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. While part of this can be blamed on the duo of Judge and Garrett, who seemed to prioritize field goals over touchdowns, the product out of Duke deserves his share of the blame too. Jones has an abysmal 46% completion percentage inside the red zone over his last two seasons. However, the play calling is a huge reason why.

We know that Jones is capable of throwing touchdowns in the red zone because he tossed 12 without throwing a single interception back in 2019. But that was with a different coaching staff and it was three seasons ago. Through three seasons, fantasy owners and fans have yet to see if Danny Dimes can combine his big arm with a more risk-averse style of play. As he enters his fourth year in the pros, this could be his last chance to put it all together. It doesn’t help that he will have to learn an entirely new playbook and offensive scheme for the third time in his young career. Is Jones’ career over with the Giants if he can’t get it right in 2022? I’m afraid so. However, this gives the young quarterback more ammunition and motivation to finally get it right.

The Verdict

Many pundits have already written Jones off but with Saquon Barkley in the backfield and Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney catching passes from Jones, this could very well be the season that Jones finally thrives. The offensive line should be significantly better but this team will have to avoid injuries like they never have before and that includes Jones. The fourth-year quarterback has missed significant time over the past two seasons due to a nagging hamstring injury and a concussion last year. It’s something to monitor but Jones should be good to go in 2022 and I’m expecting a breakout campaign.

Given that his ADP is hovering around 200, fantasy owners can grab Jones between the 18th and 20th round. Rather than grabbing a more boring backup quarterback with significantly less upside such as Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, or even rookie Kenny Pickett, fantasy owners should consider Daniel Jones ahead of these guys. A significantly boosted offensive line, another year of experience in the NFL, a healthy star running back, and his wide receivers at 100% health should result in Jones’ best season to date. Jones might not be a league-winner, but this is a fantasy backup with greater upside than most outside of the top 15 QBs.

* In a 2-QB league, Jones is a legitimate starter that could allow managers to bolster other positions first. Grab him before the 12th round, if not sooner.

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