Dynasty Player Profile: Daniel Jones (2022 Fantasy Football)
The 2022 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and we’ll have you covered with everything dynasty fantasy football as you prepare for your startup and rookie drafts. We’ll have many dynasty veteran profiles like this one along with rookie profiles, strategy discussion, and featured rankings in our upcoming 2022 Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit.
The Giants' selection of QB Daniel Jones with the sixth pick of the 2019 NFL Draft drew more than a few catcalls, and Jones has done little to prove the hecklers wrong.
In three seasons at Duke, Jones completed 59.9% of his throws, averaged 6.4 yards per attempt, and threw 52 TD passes and 29 interceptions. Jones' mobility was considered a plus, but critics wondered whether he could become anything more than an average NFL starter.
Jones has thus far done little to muffle the critics. He has been a turnover machine, throwing 29 interceptions and coughing up 36 fumbles (20 of them lost) in 38 career games. That's 1.3 turnovers per game. He has completed 62.8% of his NFL throws, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt.
Jones has averaged 221.0 passing yards and 26.3 rushing yards per game over his three seasons, throwing for 45 touchdowns and running for five more. His yearly finishes in fantasy points per game among QBs with at least 10 starts: QB14, QB28, QB17.
In fairness, Jones has been playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Poor blocking isn't the only reason Jones has failed to live up to expectations thus far, but it's been a factor.
Before I try to sell you on a brighter outlook for Jones in 2022, let's acknowledge a big problem: The Giants declined Jones fifth-year option. He's a lame-duck quarterback. If Jones plays well this season, he'll have suitors. If he plays poorly, he might never be viewed as an NFL starter again.
The good news is that the hiring of Brian Daboll as the Giants' head coach offers a glimmer of hope that Jones might become a better real-life and fantasy quarterback.
Bills QB Josh Allen blossomed into a star with Daboll as his offensive coordinator for the last four years. Buffalo's offense steadily climbed the NFL rankings in yardage and points during Daboll's tenure, finishing first in both categories in 2021. It could be argued that Jones presents Daboll with a Josh Allen starter kit. But that premise is based mostly on the two quarterbacks' mobility; their arms aren't comparable. Allen has a cannon for an arm, while Jones' arm strength is adequate at best.
Even the fantasy managers who are reluctant to offer Jones a mulligan on his first three seasons will concede that a Daboll scheme should be an upgrade over the Jason Garrett scheme that Jones has been running the last two years. Daboll has a reputation of being QB-friendly, and he's already trying to construct a scheme that suits Jones.
According to Giants beat writer Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Daboll called Jones within hours of being hired and asked the quarterback to create a list of his favorite plays, including stuff he ran in high school and college. It's an encouraging sign that Daboll intends to play to Jones' strengths rather than trying to shoehorn the young QB into a rigid system without heed to his skill set.
Expect the Giants to make greater use of RPOs (run-pass options) to take advantage of Jones' speed. Under Garrett, the Giants ranked in the top 10 in their usage of "12" personnel: two tight ends and two wide receivers. In Buffalo, Daboll ranked dead last in percentage of "12" personnel usage and was top five in three- and four-receiver sets. Daboll also uses a lot of pre-snap motion to help his quarterback identify whether the defense is playing man or zone coverage.
Daboll is going to ramp up the Giants' use of play-action. Allen had the most play-action pass attempts of any quarterback in the league last year, with 242 play-action throws out of 646 pass attempts (37.5%). Last year, Jones had 110 play-action throws out of 361 attempts (30.5%).
Increased play-action bodes well for Jones, as you can see from his 2021 results:
Numbers provided by PFF
The Daboll hire isn't necessarily a panacea for Jones, however. Remember the renewed optimism for Sam Darnold last year because he was going from an Adam Gase offense to a Matt Rhule/Joe Brady offense? Um ... yeah.
In offensive coordinator stints with the Browns, Dolphins, and Chiefs from 2009 to 2012, Daboll's quarterbacks were Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Jake Delhomme, Chad Henne, Matt Moore and Matt Cassel. Not surprisingly, those offenses all ranked poorly in total yards. As sharp as he is, Daboll isn't capable of turning water into wine.
Under Daboll, Allen developed a knack for making plays under duress. He averaged 6.2 yards per attempt and threw 16 TD passes when pressured last season. His average depth of target when pressured was 12.4 yards. Jones averaged 5.4 yards per attempt and threw only two TD passes when pressured last season. His average depth of target when pressured was 7.8 yards, the lowest of any starting QB.
General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career
Jones is an intriguing reclamation project, and it might be worth floating an offer to the manager who's slogged through the early part of Jones' career. There's virtually no chance Jones will turn into another Josh Allen, but maybe, just maybe, Jones can become a Dollar Store version of Allen.
The FantasyPros dynasty trade value chart says that in superflex leagues, Jones is roughly equal in value to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rhamondre Stevenson, or the 2.02 or 2.03 pick in rookie drafts. For that sort of price, Jones isn't worth the risk. But if you can haggle down the price ... then maybe.
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