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Game-By-Game Projections: Lamar Jackson (2020 Fantasy Football)

Jun 15, 2020

Will Lamar Jackson repeat as the QB1 this season?

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Below are the game-by-game projections for Lamar Jackson. It takes into account all factors from athletic profile and volume of touches to offensive line talent, surrounding skill player talent, matchups, game scripts, and the likelihood of injury to Lamar and those surrounding him. Let’s take a look at his game by game expectations in 2020.

Warning: What you are about to read may offend you. Direct all complaints to @MikeTagliereNFL on Twitter.

You can find our entire 2020 Player Game-By-Game Projection series here.

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Week 1: vs Cleveland Browns
There will be games where the Ravens take a big lead and Jackson doesn’t throw the ball as much just like we saw last season. This isn’t one of them. In fact, this is an extremely typical volume for Jackson. The lone difference from what we saw last season is a flip in touchdown rates. Jackson’s 9.0% passing TD-rate was entirely unsustainable while his mere 7 rushing TDs despite ridiculous rushing numbers is unsustainable in the opposite way. Jackson should have fewer passing TDs this year and more rushing TDs.

Predicted stat line: 19/29, 198 yds, 1 TDs, 0 INTs, 11 carries, 75 yds, 2, TDs, 28.5 fantasy pts


Week 2: @ Houston Texans
Jackson continues his MVP pace into Week 2 against a #bad Texans’ defense. Once again, he puts up double-digit yards on the ground alone while producing like a low-end QB2 through their air. In total, that comes to a top 3 QB for the week once again as the Ravens blow past Houston to move to 2-0 on the season.

Predicted stat line: 17/27, 182 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 12 carries, 79 yds, 1, TDs, 26.5 fantasy pts


Week 3: vs Kansas City Chiefs
While most quarterbacks will air the ball out 40 or even 50 times in a big deficit, we see Jackson pick up chunks of yardage on the ground. That is what happens in this contest as Jackson carries the ball a whopping 17 times for nearly 100 yards. Although it isn’t a traditional way to finish within the top-five fantasy quarterbacks, the reigning MVP pulls it off once again even with a two-TD loss.

Predicted stat line: 20/30, 195 yds, 1 TDs, 1 INT, 17 carries, 97 yds, 1, TDs, 24.6 fantasy pts


Week 4: @ Washington
Oh, this stat line looks familiar, doesn’t it? Two quarters of absolute dominance then the foot comes off the pedal, the backup running back is given a huge second half workload and Jackson stops piling up fantasy points. Either way, here we are again with another top-five fantasy quarterback week. Each one of them has had a different flavor, though, so far.

Predicted stat line: 15/17, 203 yds, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 6 carries, 48 yds, 0, TDs, 25.9 fantasy pts


Week 5: vs Cincinnati Bengals
You were all waiting for this one. Not only does Jackson have a historically incredible floor, but his game by game ceiling is astronomical as well. In this contest, Jackson accounts for all five of the Ravens touchdowns despite just 33 total touches. In doing so, he puts up the largest fantasy point production by any quarterback thus far in the season.

Predicted stat line: 17/24, 165 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 9 carries, 86 yds, 2, TDs, 36.8 fantasy pts


Week 6: @ Philadelphia Eagles
Stinkers are bound to happen to any quarterback but in Lamar Jackson‘s case, when it happens, he still finishes right on the cusp of a QB1 performance. Even though he doesn’t run into the end-zone this game, his 50 rushing yards are the fantasy equivalent of more than one passing touchdown. The Ravens drop another game but Jackson is still the #1 fantasy QB thus far by a large margin.

Predicted stat line: 19/36, 191 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 12 carries, 50 yds, 0, TDs, 17.8 fantasy pts


Week 7: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Oh uh, a MAJOR STINKER. Folks, the Steelers are going to do this to teams a LOT this season. This defense is the best in football and I wouldn’t advise starting anyone besdies Jackson and Mahomes against them. Even with the three turnovers and sub 50% completion rate, Jackson’s meltdown isn’t a complete fantasy disaster. 

Predicted stat line: 13/28, 106 yds, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 11 carries, 55 yds, 1, TDs, 14.2 fantasy pts


Week 8: BYE WEEK


Week 9: @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming off the bye, Jackson posts his third consecutive lackluster performance leaving fantasy owners everywhere wondering if they can buy low on the potential league-winner. As is the case in any QB’s career, their game to game fantasy log will feature ebbs and flows primarily as a result of standard touchdown volatility and a few difficult or cupcake matchups sprinkled in here or there. When this inevitably happens with Jackson, don’t panic.

Predicted stat line: 18/27, 167 yds, 1 TDs, 1 INT, 10 carries, 86 yds, 0, TDs, 16.8 fantasy pts


Week 10: @ New England Patriots
After a full month of Jackson not carrying fantasy owners, he comes into a near-impossible matchup versus the Patriots’ defense that dominated so many last season. Once again, Jackson doesn’t even reach 150 passing yards but because of his prowess on the ground, he sneaks back up into QB1 territory and owners are feeling a bit of relief heading into Week 11.

Predicted stat line: 17/31, 144 yds, 1 TDs, 1 INT, 15 carries, 62 yds, 1, TDs, 19.8 fantasy pts


Week 11: vs Tennessee Titans
Although this matchup isn’t so great either, it is much better than versus the Patriots or next week’s repeat of Jackson’s awful performance versus the Steelers. Jackson starts off well but suffers an injury on a carry just like we’ve seen much more often with rushing quarterbacks historically than pocket passers. We would never, of course, wish an injury on anyone, but historical data tells us how often we should expect them.

There have been 10 quarterbacks in the past 30 years to carry the ball over 100 times in a season. We will take Tyrod Taylor and Tim Tebow out of the equation because they didn’t keep their jobs and we will remove Cam Newton (6’5″, 245 lbs), Steve McNair (6’2″, 230) and Russell Wilson (5’10”, 215) because they are built much more like running backs than Jackson.

That leaves us with Jackson himself (6’2″, 212), Robert Griffin III (6’2″, 213), Michael Vick (6’0″, 210), Randall Cunningham (6’4″, 212) and Colin Kaepernick (6’4″, 225). The season following their 100 rushing attempts, they played 15 games (Jackson), 12 (Griffin, ACL injury), 4 Vick (broken leg), 8 (Kaepernick, shoulder) and 16 (Cunningham, survived!). That’s a solid sample size and 3 of the five missed considerable time. Between them all, it accounted for 4.8 games missed per season. That’s what I’ll predict for Jackson in this case as he missed 3 quarters of this contest and four more weeks.

Predicted stat line: 8/14, 83 yds, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 6 carries, 31 yds, 0, TDs, 5.2 fantasy pts


Week 12: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Injured


Week 13: vs Dallas Cowboys
Injured


Week 14: @ Cleveland Browns
Injured


Week 15: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Injured


Week 16: vs New York Giants
Fantasy owners had to decide if they wanted to hang onto Jackson for a month just to have a chance at using him in the fantasy playoffs if he even did manage to come back. Although he doesn’t run the ball quite as much right away, he still puts up a solid QB1 performance to help those who were patient win their title if they managed to make it without him.

Predicted stat line: 17/23, 174 yds, 1 TDs, 1 INT, 4 carries, 74 yds, 1, TDs, 21.8 fantasy pts


Week 17: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Last season, Jackson didn’t have to play in Week 16 because they ran away with an AFC playoff bye. That isn’t the case this year, as the Ravens managed just 1 win in the 4 and a half weeks Jackson was out. They enter Week 17 needing a win in Cincy to sneak into the playoffs with 10 W’s. Jackson pulls it off despite another small workload on the ground.

Predicted stat line: 25/35, 302 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 6 carries, 29 yds, 0, TDs, 18.5 fantasy pts

2020 Season Totals

See the chart below for full weekly stat breakdowns along with season totals:

Week Opponent Pass Att Comp Pass Yds Pass TDs INTs Carries Rush Yds Rush TDs Fantasy Points
1 vs CLE 29 19 198 1 0 11 75 2 28.5
2 @ HOU 27 17 182 2 0 12 79 1 26.5
3 vs KC 30 20 195 1 1 17 97 1 23.6
4 @ WAS 17 15 203 4 0 6 48 0 25.9
5 vs CIN 24 17 165 3 0 9 86 2 36.7
6 @ PHI 36 19 191 2 1 12 50 0 16.8
7 vs PIT 28 13 106 0 3 11 55 1 11.2
9 @ IND 27 18 167 1 1 10 86 0 15.8
10 @ NE 31 17 144 1 1 15 62 1 18.8
11 vs TEN 14 8 83 0 0 6 31 0 5.2
12 @ PIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
13 vs DAL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 @ CLE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 vs JAC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 vs NYG 23 17 174 1 1 4 74 0 20.8
17 @ CIN 35 25 302 2 0 6 29 1 18.5
TOTAL 321 205 2,110 18 8 119 772 9 248

 

Summary

You may be pretty steamed up about now, but let me ask you: did your expectations play out with Robert Griffin III in 2013, Michael Vick in 2003 or Colin Kaepernick in 2015? Injuries happen, and unfortunately, they happen more often with thinner run-heavy quarterbacks. Hopefully we don’t see history repeat itself with the league’s reigning MVP.

This projection would have had him finish as the QB17 last year, but still the QB1 in terms of fantasy points per game. Essentially, if he can stay healthy, he’ll be worth the draft capital. It is up to you if you want to gamble on that risk. It is very much like drafting Rob Gronkowski all of those years in his prime. Half the time he’d be the TE1 by a ton and win you your league. Half the time, he’d miss a chunk of games and you might not make your playoffs.

Because of Jackson’s rushing ability, the floor in his game by game projections is extremely high. You won’t ever need a streamer while he is healthy and you can’t say that about any other fantasy QB in football with Patrick Mahomes being the only possible exception (would you play Mahomes against NE over a streamer like Baker Mayfield vs MIA?). Jackson’s passing TD-rate should plummet this season but expect his rushing TD-rate to see positive regression. All in all, it’s the same fantasy player, and frankly, the risk is the same; fantasy owners just got a little lucky that he managed to stay on the field all year.

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