Sam Darnold has the chance to be a sleeper Fantasy quarterback this season in his second year in the NFL. He's gets what should be an upgrade in his coach (Adam Gase) and his weapons (Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder), which should help him build off his rookie campaign. In 2018, Darnold only scored 20-plus Fantasy points in four of 13 games (he missed three due to a foot injury), but two of those came in the final three outings of the year. With Bell and Crowder joining Robby Anderson, Chris Herndon and Quincy Enunwa, Darnold should have reliable targets to help him improve. He's worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues, and he could be a surprise Fantasy option as the season goes along.
Darnold and the Jets offense struggled during June minicamp, though dropped passes were part of the problem, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Darnold's work throughout the offseason program has mostly drawn praise from the media, but it sounds like the Gang Green defense got the best of the offense in the final few practices before training camp. In addition to learning a new scheme from coach Adam Gase, the 22-year-old quarterback is trying to get comfortable with offseason acquisitions Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder. The Jets have a well-balanced group of pass catchers, though tight end could be a weak spot early in the season with Chris Herndon expected to serve a short suspension.
Darnold is excited to work with new head coach Adam Gase, Al Iannazzone of Newsday reports. "I think the stuff that coach Gase does is amazing," Darnold said. "The scheme that he's able to create and to be able to put the defense in uncomfortable positions, which he does a lot, I think it is awesome and shows a lot about his creativity and his offensive mind." The 40-year-old Gase will stay in the AFC East after producing a 23-25 record in three seasons as head coach of the Dolphins, with his offenses finishing in the bottom half of the league for both points and yards each season. The statistics don't provide much cause for optimism, but it can easily be argued Gase overachieved in winning 7.7 games per season with some brutal rosters that were further weakened by Ryan Tannehill's injuries (24 missed games). The current collection of talent isn't any better in New York, but the Jets do have a plethora of cap space as well as the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. The team has every opportunity to improve its situation around Darnold, who closed out his rookie season by completing 64 percent of his passes for 7.4 yards per attempt and a 6:1 TD:INT in four December games.
Darnold completed 16 of 28 passes for 167 yards while adding a 28-yard carry and losing a fumble in Sunday's 38-3 loss to New England. He finishes the season with 2,865 passing yards and a 17:15 touchdown to interception ratio. Darnold ends his up-and-down rookie season on a down note, though the 28-yard rush was the longest of his career. He should undoubtedly return as the Jets' starting quarterback next season, and the team has oodles of cap space and a high draft pick to surround Darnold with more talent, as the poor play around him noticeably took a toll on the third overall pick's numbers.
Darnold completed 24 of 35 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns while rushing three times for four yards in Sunday's 44-38 overtime loss to the Packers. Darnold extended wide receiver Robby Anderson's touchdown streak to three games with a 33-yard connection in the second quarter, then added a five-yard score to Chris Herndon and a 20-yarder to Elijah McGuire, both in the third. Unfortunately for the rookie third overall selection, this career-high performance in the passing yards category was wasted by New York's undisciplined defense, as the Jets' 16 penalties for 172 yards helped keep the Packers in the game and spurred Green Bay's 24-3 run in the fourth quarter and overtime. Darnold threw for just 169 yards in the next game after topping the 300-yard mark back in Week 2, so he'll look to avoid a similar letdown in Week 17 against the Patriots.
Darnold (foot) was a full participant in Tuesday's practice, Darryl Slater of NJ.com reports. After missing three straight games with a sprained right foot, Darnold practiced fully throughout last week and gained clearance to start Sunday against the Bills. He departed in the first half after aggravating the injury, but re-entered the contest and helped guide the Jets to a 27-23 comeback victory. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Darnold split first-team reps with Josh McCown in the portion of Tuesday's practice open to the media, but the full participation listing suggests the rookie's health is on solid ground entering a tough Week 15 matchup with the Texans.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/22||@New England Patriots||18||19.95|
|7||10/22||New England Patriots||18||19.95|
|10||11/10||New York Giants||13||18.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||57.7||2865||17||15||138||1||201|