Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the winningest quarterbacks in the NFL. But will he get a chance to start in 2022?
Of signal-callers with over 50 career starts, only Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Lamar Jackson have a better record than Garoppolo. He has quarterbacked his team to one Super Bowl and has a 5-2 record in the playoffs, including a 2-0 record against Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers is now 0-2 in the playoffs vs Jimmy Garoppolo pic.twitter.com/jRZIdXiFsl— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2022
But even if his teammates love him, NFL front offices don’t, and fantasy team managers shouldn’t. Over his past five years with the 49ers, he has never thrown for more than 4,000 yards and never finished a season as a top 12 quarterback.
His best season was 2019. He threw for 3,978 yards (8.4 YPA), 27 TDs, and 13 INTs, good for 16.3 points per game in standard scoring and the #14 position in total points. Now he has lost his starting job and has no suitors as teams start training camps for the 2022 season.
What to expect in 2022?
Garoppolo is a passable starting QB for a team with a strong starting lineup that needs him to deliver the ball to skill players and manage the game. When healthy, he completed between 67 and 69 percent of his passes for between 8 and 9 yards per attempt in the 49ers’ offense.
His PFF grade last season was 74.9, the 22nd best in the NFL. Other QBs in that low 70’s range include washed-out veterans (Carson Wentz, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Ryan) and unproven rookies in the last years of their first contract (Daniel Jones, Tua Tagovailoa), as well as a few stars who struggled through injury or illness last season (Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson).
No matter where Garoppolo ends up, he will be in a worse fantasy production situation than in San Francisco. Few teams have the same quality weapons as the 49ers, and none have Kyle Shanahan drawing up plays.
To illustrate how favorable San Fran was for Jimmy G’s numbers, look at his air yards. Garoppolo finished second amongst full-time starters in yards per attempt with 8.4, only behind Joe Burrow. But his average depth of target was just 7.6 yards, 23rd in the NFL, one behind Sam Darnold. He was benefiting greatly from Deebo Samuel gobbling up yards after the catch.
Garoppolo’s skill set
You may have seen some misleading headlines that Garoppolo was the best deep passer in 2019 (on a small sample size), but he was the 24th-best in 2021, the 43rd-best in 2020, and the 11th-best in 2018. What is his skill set?
Garoppolo is good at anticipating and putting the ball in the place for his WRs to make a play. On throws between 10 and 20 yards in 2021, Garoppolo completed 65.8 percent, the third-most in the NFL.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Garoppolo seems to have what NFL commentators call “intangibles” and what football writers call “Garoppolo’s irrational confidence.” His confidence comes through on the TV screen. He has energy in his movements, a feistiness in his voice, a subtle cockiness in his smile, more self-assuredness than arrogance. By all accounts, his teammates fed on that confidence.
That might be good for whatever team picks him up. It is certainly a good trait to have in a backup QB. When the starter goes down, the team won’t be despairing, knowing they still have a QB who thinks he can win and has won before.
Unfortunately, you don’t get fantasy points for intangibles that can’t be measured.
Garoppolo’s value in fantasy
Garoppolo’s value is impossible to project without knowing what team he will be on. A contending team will trade for him after their starter gets injured, or he could be signed as a backup after the 49ers cut him to save cap space before the season starts. After this season, he will be a free agent. He could be a borderline or placeholder starter for a team that drafts a rookie. Even if he does become an NFL starter again, Garoppolo has limited fantasy value. He was never able to produce a QB1 season on the Niners.
He could be a low-end QB2 depending on where he ends up.
Looking to acquire Garoppolo?
That said, if you are incredibly weak at the QB position or a Jimmy G-liever, there might be no cheaper time to acquire him.
*All trades are based on 12-team Super Flex leagues*
Trade 1 (seen twice):
2023 3rd for Jimmy Garoppolo
Davis Mills and 2022 5th for Jimmy Garoppolo and 2022 3rd
2023 2nd for Jimmy Garoppolo and 2022 3rd
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