Sam Darnold started his first NFL start with an ill-advised throw back across the field, which Lions safety Quandre Diggs took back for a pick-six. But the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft turned it around quickly, finishing 16-for-21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-17 win for the Jets.
Turnovers were a major thing for Darnold last year at USC, with 22 (nine fumbles) as he had a general drop-off after entering the season as a Heisman candidate.
After the opening play interception, Darnold went 16-for-20 with two touchdowns on Monday night. He posted a passer rating of 141 from that point forward (h/t to Colin Cowherd).
Darnold finished his NFL debut with 18.82 fantasy points (Yahoo! scoring). That was firmly in the middle of the pack among quarterbacks for Week 1, but are better things coming?
Let’s look at the upcoming schedule for Darnold.
Week 2-Miami Dolphins
Week [email protected] Browns
Week [email protected] Jaguars
Week 5-Denver Broncos
Week 6-Indianapolis Colts
Week 7-Minnesota Vikings
Week [email protected] Bears
Week [email protected] Dolphins
Week 10-Buffalo Bills
Three of the better defenses in the league (Jaguars, Broncos, Vikings) are on Darnold’s schedule over a four-week span. The Bears and Browns look like solid units too, and in the latter case especially they may not be the layup they’ve been. Two matchups against the Dolphins could be tough, if there’s anything to be taken away from holding Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert in check last Sunday.
So that leaves Week 6 against the Colts and Week 10 against the Bills as the most favorable matchups on Darnold’s slate between now and Week 10. He’ll be on the streamer radar those weeks, as well as Week 3 against the Browns (if only for old time’s sake) and maybe Week 9 against the Dolphins once he and Miami’s defense have greater bodies of work to draw from. So that’s four startable fantasy weeks out of the next nine, which might be enough to add him in some two-quarterback leagues right now without question.
I envisioned Darnold as a back-end QB2 or a streaming option for this year in my preseason profile on him. That’s still where he belongs now, even off the high of a nice first start. Is he for real? It appears so, but let’s not push Darnold into fantasy starter territory quite yet.Download the Free GoingFor2 App by Clicking Here...