So we have a couple of average teams facing each other. Pretty exciting! Or not. The lines for Week 8 have the game between Jacksonville and the Jets at a slate-lowest 41 total points, and the Jaguars are six-point favorites entering this one. Expect more than few runs from Leonard Fournette and a bunch of ghosts hunting Darnold all day as he tries to keep New York’s hopes alive.
Speaking of ghosts, what a game it was for Sam Darnold last Monday. I was one of the few rooting for Darnold last season and the most confident in his progression moving forward this season. Not so fast, it seems. Darnold has played three games this year while facing a brutal schedule that included Buffalo, Dallas and lastly New England, so we can give him a pass for not overwhelming in those matchups. But aside from his 23-of-32, 338-yard, two touchdowns performance against Dallas, Darnold has been atrocious. He’s tossed three touchdowns but allowed defenses to pick him five times. His average pass distance has been lower than five (!) yards per attempt in two games. And yes, he showed a great ceiling against the Cowboys (25 fantasy points) but other than that he’s logged 12.8 and 4.2 fantasy points in his other two matches. Somebody has to improve.
While Darnold was trying to get back from mono, Gardner Minshew was partying hard on and off the field (the latter I assume). It is normal looking at what Minshew did in his first five games of the season: 22 completions per game, 66.7 completion rate, 255 yards per and nine touchdowns to go with just one interception. The last couple of weeks, though? Minshew has completed 29 passes combined, lowered his completion percentage to a ground-level 46.9 percent, and thrown one TD and one INT. Those two bumps on the road have brought him back to earth a bit, and if it wasn’t for his rushing prowess (he has three games of 40-plus yards on the ground) then his fantasy value would be much lower than it appears now. All in all, though, Minshew is proving to be a consistent and solid quarterback giving his owners very reliable outcomes of around 20 points per game without much variation (he’s dropped under 18 points one time and surpassed 22 another one).
Fantasy football analysis, Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew, Jets QB Sam Darnold
Can either of Darnold or Minshew win you the weekend? Sure. Am I confident betting on them to do so this week? Not at all. With these two it is not about the matchups—the Jets and Jags defenses are pretty much the same and average against QBs—but rather how they have shown the upside to reach 30 points on a good day but with total randomness attached to it. Darnold almost did it against a stout Dallas’ defense racking up 338 yards but his outcome against the Patriots less than a week ago was simply unacceptable. Minshew crossed the 30-point mark against Carolina passing for 374 yards and two scores but was plain bad against New Orleans.
The Jets and the Jaguars are giving up 20.3 and 21.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. New York (six touchdowns conceded, five interceptions) has been a little better than Jacksonville (nine touchdowns, four interceptions), but looking at the matchups that slight difference can be made up by Minshew edging Darnold in talent. I’m sitting Darnold until he gets his “game” together and proves he’s got the ability to be a full-time starter, and I’m starting Minshew only if I don’t have a better option sitting on waivers.
Gardner Minshew: Start
Sam Darnold: Sit