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What to do with Gardner Minshew in Week 5 fantasy football

Minshew has looked like the best rookie-quarterback so far, surpassing everyone's expectations. We take a look at his upside entering Week 5 in what could be the game that ultimately proves him as a real deal of a player.

Quarterback Gardner Minshew of the Jacksonville Jaguars walks on the sidelines against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on September 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

I was the one adding Gardner Minshew through waivers even before you could watch him throw his first NFL pass. I was the one who believed in Minshew’s upside even before he was given a headshot in most fantasy platforms and he stopped carrying a random grayed-out portrait. And I’m still a believer. This kid is for real. Much has been said of Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones but Minshew has been the best rookie at the position so far, no discussions allowed. Even more, considering all quarterbacks this season, Minshew ranks 17th among players at the position through Week 4 in fantasy points and he’s always performed as a high-end QB2 in every game. Not many streamed quarterbacks are doing better in 2019, that’s for sure, and he’s becoming a solid option to keep in your roster all season long.

Minshew hasn’t cared about the level of the defenses he’s faced. Be them below-average (Kansas City and Houston), or above-average (Tennessee and Denver), Minshew has passed for more than 200 yards in every game, completed 19 or more passes and scored two touchdowns in all matches except the one against the Texans. He’s maintaining a solid 19-point fantasy floor, but his ceiling doesn’t seem to be far from that mark (his best performance sits at 22.4 points). What is more worrying, though, is that he seems to be regressing slowly but surely. His completion percentage has gone from 88 percent to 70 percent to 67 percent, and finally 58 percent in Week 4. If Minshew’s real talent is closer to what he’s shown lately than to how he started the season he might be in trouble soon.

Fantasy football analysis, Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew

Even while being very solid so far, Minshew’s underlying numbers have come down weekly. Against the second-best defense last weekend he had his worst game so far, and this week he faces Carolina. That is to say, the sixth-best defense in fantasy points per game allowed to QBs (16.8) even though they’ve already played against Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, and Deshaun Watson. Only Winston reached the 200-yard mark, and Watson finished the game with no passing touchdowns. On top of this, Minshew seems to be dealing with a knee injury that has limited him during this week’s practices—hard to see him missing Sunday’s game given Jacksonville’s already missing Nick Foles—and Fournette comes in hot after rushing for 225 yards against the Broncos in Week 4. This game can be the ultimate test to decide whether Minshew is for real or just a mirage. Give him another week and look for other options.

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