I was going back through my notes on two young QBs for 2020 Draft Guide prep…two of the underappreciated QB prospects from the 2019 NFL Draft…two guys who (shockingly) find themselves as the clear starters for their teams in 2020…and two guys all of football analysis has disrespected – from their draft rankings pre-2019 NFL Draft to trying to replace them in free agency 2020 and in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Two guys we had highly graded/scouted for the 2019 NFL Draft…and we don’t know what everyone is talking about/why everyone in the mainstream of football analysis is missing on them and not changing their stances (which is nothing new for the past 10+ years of my football scouting and analysis career).
The two guys are Gardner Minshew and Jarrett Stidham…two guys who now matter for fantasy 2020, and how they’ll affect their team’s offenses. They also matter for handicapping 2020 purposes.
I clipped three events (my reports, game notes in-season) to relive Minshew’s turn from nobody to somebody. Only three written events, because unlike my similar Jarrett Stidham retrospective – I wasn’t giving much credence in the preseason on Minshew. I assumed the Jags would do what most teams do…follow the football hive mind and overlook Minshew. My summary of his 2019 preseason – he started and played most of the preseason games and was sent out to die with the backups to the backups O-Line. The mainstream football analysis wondered if Minshew would even make the roster come 53-man cutdown day – that’s how asleep they were (and still are).
The three key moments for Minshew’s rise in 2019:
1) Our January 2019 scouting report, which was way ahead of its time.
2) His Week 1 (my game notes) sudden thrust to ‘new starter’…only because Nick Foles went down in the 1st quarter of Week 1.
3) His Week 4 (my game notes) stamp of his arrival…his ‘turning point’ for me – the moment I knew he had ‘it’ for sure. Weeks 1-3, he was surprisingly good, but I still believed he would get overlooked and ignored out of any real hope in the league. It was Week 4 that he did some things that changed everything…
What do we think about him for fantasy and handicapping 2020? I think you’ll be shocked, but you won’t find out unless you are a Fantasy Football Metrics subscriber – Draft Guide dropping around June 1st and in-season coverage coming in August through however long this Virus-season goes ‘til!
Here’s the Minshew evolution in three parts. Enjoy…
From January 2019…
Scouting Report: QB Gardner Minshew, Washington State
*Our QB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.
I’ll give the one sentence scouting report, that really captures it all and then I’ll bloviate for 1,000+ words on it in case you really want the reading material/reasoning.
One sentence: Gardner Minshew is the ‘10%-less-sugar-added’ Baker Mayfield QB dessert…from style, to mannerisms, to size, to mechanics, to leadership – very similar, just not completely ‘Mayfield’ in all his Mayfield-ness.
In his favor, compared to Mayfield, Minshew has zero of the off-field issues and far fewer quotable statements in the media… but I wouldn’t be surprised if Minshew started confidently/arrogantly sparring with the media and NFL management at some point. I can see it in him.
I say ‘less-sugar-added’ Mayfield…he’s not quite Mayfield, but that’s not the worst thing ever. I would argue Baker Mayfield is the greatest processor of the field/defenses, etc., that I’ve ever seen (right up there with Tom Brady) – and has the arm and mental will/confidence combo in a QB that we’ve never seen before. Mayfield is ‘Larry Bird’ to Patrick Mahomes’ ‘Magic Johnson’. Maybe the two greatest players in basketball, with two totally different styles and personas…personas that fit the city they played in like none other. Mayfield-Mahomes is going to become that in the NFL.
Minshew is a little less football passing talented than Mayfield, in my judging of ‘the art of QB play’. A 10-20% discount on the arm, and in the middle of the field passer ability, and in the full-on confidence of Mayfield…but, again, I’d argue no one is in Mayfield’s class and every young QB is a steep discount to Mayfield except Patrick Mahomes.
Let’s look at the Minshew journey to NFL Draft prospect, because it’s a little different and did not reach a fever pitch of hype anywhere near what Mayfield did. However, it’s not out of the question if scouts and analysts wake up – they’ll see Minshew is arguably the best QB prospect in this 2019 class. But I’d bet a lot of money THEY’LL be against him, for many of the same reasons THEY were against Mayfield.
The Mississippi high school star, Minshew, began his college journey on an academic scholarship for Troy (Alabama) – after no home state/Mississippi schools showed interest. A fact that sits like a chip on his shoulder to this day.
Minshew didn’t see a chance to play quickly/ever at Troy, so he transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College (2015) and led his team to the NJCAA title. Minshew gained notoriety from his JUCO title year and was offered a scholarship to East Carolina (and, again, no Mississippi teams showed interest).
He played in 17 games at ECU over two seasons, a less than 60.0 Comp. Pct. passer in his time there. 4 TDs/4 INTs in his first five games at ECU, but then things started to click late his sophomore season…4 TDs/0 INT his last two games of 2016, and then 16 TDs/7 INTs in his junior season.
This is where the story starts to get interesting and the Minshew rocket ship started to take-off…
Minshew wasn’t starting for ECU to begin the 2017 season, he played some but it was a cluster rotation (and lots of losing). He was installed as the full starter in November 2017, and his first game he went 52-of-68 for 463 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT against a pretty good Houston defense. Minshew’s final five games for ECU…12 TDs/5 INTs with three 350+ yard games…and two wins (after 1-11 in the first 12 games he appeared in for ECU). The emergence of Minshew was happening…
But East Carolina was a bad team/program with a lot of losing and Minshew was ready to bolt…having already graduated, he could immediately go wherever he wanted after his junior season.
Minshew got noticed…and noticed by people you want to get noticed by.
Nick Saban offered Minshew the chance to be a backup for Alabama’s juggernaut run for another title. Minshew accepted, but then late in the process he got the lifechanging phone call. Washington State head coach Mike Leach called, and in the most Mike Leach-like move ever, asked Minshew if he, “…wouldn’t mind leading the nation in passing?”
With that, Minshew switched from Alabama backup to behind-the-eight-ball (in learning the offense) starter needing to get up to speed at Washington State.
Minshew ended up the 2018 season 2nd in passing yards, 1st in completions, 2nd in Completion Percentage, 4th in TD passes, 5th in total TDs in the NCAA in 2018 – winning the PAC-12 Player of the Year and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finishing 5th in the Heisman voting. Washington State went 11-2 and got to the PAC-12 title game (a loss in a snowstorm to Washington).
The knock against Minshew should be obvious by now…’of course he put up numbers at Washington State with Mike Leach’! Said by the same people who used that to knock Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff and every QB prospect that blew away numbers – for some reason NFL scouts like unproductive physical specimens like Josh Allen, DeShone Kizer, and Carson Wentz and hate super-productive, high-volume college passers. I’d argue it’s because most NFL head coaches want to ‘establish run games’ and don’t know what to do with these new age college passers. The NFL is somewhere between 15 and 500 steps behind college and high school football trends. Consequently, the slow/never-to-change NFL will be unlikely to like Minshew right away.
I liked Minshew the first moment I saw him. I had studied Haskins-Grier-Lock-Jones-Finley, etc., bigger attention name QB prospects and had varying pros and cons, but I’d never seen Minshew play (I don’t really watch CFB until after the NFL season/for draft scouting purposes) and not seen his name ever among the guys the mainstream liked – I wasn’t expecting much, but instantly lit up when watching him work on tape.
He’s probably 6’1”+, so he looks and works like Baker Mayfield…which scouts will hate (they want 6’4”+ always). Minshew has no issues working as a passer at 6’1”, just like Baker had zero problems in the NFL. Minshew sees the field. He has that uncanny escape-ability to slide around in the pocket to buy time for throws as needed. He has a nice arm with good mechanics. He’s accurate on all types of throws. He has great feet in the pocket, like Mayfield – a perfect form dropping back, and bounce and really lets it rip on his throws and doesn’t always need to step into his throws. He can throw from off-kilter angles. He works the middle of the field and tight windows…he has very good accuracy on his throws. He reads the defense – he’s not just completing simple passes all the time like Dwayne Haskins…Minshew takes the simple when needed but, unlike Haskins, will zip passes over the middle and deep with success.
Minshew is just not as good as Mayfield…but he might be ‘close enough’, with the bonus of ‘no issues’ off the field brought to the table. Minshew checks down a little more than Mayfield did/does…but, although Mayfield is always going for the jugular when he can, he will reel it in as needed…but his default mode is ‘ruthless aggression’. Minshew will push but tends to play a bit more conservatively than Mayfield…which NFL coaches might prefer. Full-Mayfield scares them. Minshew is the non-scary Mayfield-lite.
Minshew has that blue-collar vibe that could take over a depressed football town, like Mayfield did. Minshew grew out a throwback mustache in 2018 and it became such a thing that fans started wearing fake mustaches in the stands to honor Minshew. You will often see Minshew wearing big mirrored sunglasses with his 1970s mustache…he’s endearing, beloved by fans and players and coaches – a good sense of humor, but the team leader…the heart and soul of a team. Like Mayfield, on the right team, Minshew will change a culture if they let him. Players and fans will love him…the football establishment not-so-much.
Mike Leach, Washington State coach, is known as an offensive/passing game scientist…and a bit eccentric…and easily irritated. He’s coached a lot of ‘producers’ at the QB position over the years. Leach calls Minshew the smartest QB he has ever coached. I’ve never seen Leach so pleased or complimentary of a QB/player in all my years. Minshew has ‘something’…an ‘it’ factor…a nice chip on his shoulder from not being coddled and from having to fight for everything and doing it the right way.
I don’t know how high his ceiling is for the NFL, but if there is a better QB prospect than Minshew in 2019…then this will be a helluva draft class.
Gardner Minshew, Through the Lens of Our QB Scouting Algorithm:
One ‘bad’ game in 2018…his PAC-12 Conference title game loss to Washington. 152 yards passing and 0 TDs/2 INTs. Consider, this game was played in a snowstorm and one of the INTs was a time-running out before half Hail Mary fling to the end zone which got picked. Minshew rarely makes bad throws. He also completed 74.3% of his passes in that snowstorm against the #5 defense in CFB.
Aside from the Washington snowstorm game…38 TDs/7 INTs in his other 12 games…3+ TD passes per game in 2018.
Against top opponents not faced in a snowstorm, USC, Utah, Stanford, Iowa State (bowl), Minshew went 3-1 with 11 TDs/1 INT and 381.5 yards passing per game.
A knock on Minshew will be ‘system QB’ and a lower yards per attempt and lower ‘air yards’ on throws than some want to see, but you have to remember that Washington State’s offense is basically passes in lieu of the run. So, they have a lot of swing/flare passes by design…as their running plays. He will have a lot of cheap completions because it’s the offense – but then you go look at his downfield passes and where he completes them and how he completes them, and you’ll see no issue…arguably the best tight window passer among the 2019 prospects.
We projected Minshew at 6’1”+, and that will hurt him a little in scouting circles…but if he comes in at 6’2”+ that may pave the way for him running up into the top prospect debate by the time he’s done at the Senior Bowl week.
Minshew is not a runner, but he’s Mayfield sneaky-mobile. He ran for 119 yards and 4 TDs in 2018. He’s probably a 4.85+ runner.
The Historical QB Prospects to Whom Gardner Minshew Most Compares Within Our System:
I say, ‘poor man’s Baker Mayfield’, but The Computer says more ‘Teddy Bridgewater’. Being compared to Bridgewater feels like a huge deflating balloon after being called a ‘Mayfield’ like QB prospect, but we’ve lost some sense of history over time.
Remember Bridgewater’s journey – instantly capable in a stuffy Mike Zimmer/Norv Turner environment…leads his team to a division title his 2nd-season and loses 1st-round of the playoffs on a fluke, last second missed chip shot FG in a frozen tundra game. The following season he had that brutal offseason leg injury that cost him his 2016, 2017 and made him a backup perceived talent in 2018 free agency. He started out his NFL career very well in a tough environment and then injury knocked him way down. He was fine/on-the-rise before the tragedy struck.
I think Minshew has played more smart/surgical/conservative like Bridgewater than he has played a constant pedal-to-the-medal, successful style like Mayfield…but there is some of that lurking in Minshew. Minshew’s style may be more accurately portrayed as the middle ground between Mayfield and Bridgewater.
-- Comparison board available on his full scouting report only on College Football Metrics --
*“Adj” = A view of adjusted college output in our system…adjusted for strength of opponent.
**A score of 8.5+ is where we see a stronger correlation of QBs going on to become NFL good-to-great. A scouting score of 9.5+ is rarefied air—higher potential for becoming great-to-elite.
QBs scoring 6.0–8.0 are finding more success in the new passing era of the NFL (2014–on). Depending upon the system and surrounding weapons, a 6.0–8.0 rated QB can do fine in today’s NFL—with the right circumstances…but they are not ‘the next Tom Brady’ guys, just NFL-useful guys.
2019 NFL Draft Outlook:
It’s early January as I pen this, and I see Minshew as either not on early mainstream boards, or more 5th+ round. The more sharky draft services are willing to go 4th-round at the highest. The Senior Bowl week will tell the tale, I think if he measures close/over 6’2”, plays well…he could steal Will Grier’s spot as mistrusted ‘system’ QB but still top 3 QB prospect vibe.
I don’t think the mainstream will go all the way to pushing him as the #1 QB, ever. Ohio State has too many ‘friends’ in high places for that. However, I think they’ll wake up Senior Bowl week and wonder why they are supposed to love Grier…but not love Minshew. If/when the ‘Baker Mayfield’ comps start getting thrown around – then Minshew will really start to fly in the top 50 ranked overall prospects.
Minshew might make it to #1 rated QB, but I doubt it. The mainstream will never fully endorse a QB like this. Mayfield had bigger numbers over more years and higher visibility. Minshew played at boring, favorable ‘system’ Washington State. I would guess Minshew between picks #20-40 this year…but could be close to #100 if no momentum out of the Senior Bowl. I’m going to bet money Minshew is the Patriots 1st-round (or 2nd-round/3rd-round trade up) pick this year.
If I were an NFL GM, I’m staring at Minshew as arguably the best traditional QB prospect in the draft and possibly him going outside the top 30…maybe outside the top 50. This could be one of the top bargains of 2019. I’m in – imagine this guy as your groomed heir apparent to Eli or Rivers or Brady, etc.?
Drafted by the Patriots. Sits behind Brady for two years. Draws Jimmy Garoppolo comps. Everyone then claims they loved Minshew all along -- once Belichick drafts him to put that stamp of approval. Belichick has a QB he can develop to continue to run rings around the NFL with for the next decade.
2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 1 – Chiefs 40, Jags 26
Well, this was not a good start for my Jaguars ‘over’ win total bet. My main reason for the Jags love this year…Nick Foles…gone for half the year after half the 1st-half of Week 1. Great. This game was over after Foles went down as the Jaguars played one of the worst defensive performances/efforts of the week…part of that on KC’s offense, part of that on Jacksonville not really interested…just like they showed in the preseason.
Doug Marrone just moved to #1 on the ‘coach most likely to be fired midseason’ list. There is a path to a 4-4 start given their schedule, to buy time for Foles to return…but it’s not going to be easy if the defense is ‘done’. Houston and Jacksonville play for their lives, to some degree, this week.
The Jags have a favorable schedule, they just need to hold it together from here until Foles gets back.
Kansas City has fire power, but note they played a game against a team who wasn’t into it on defense and just kinda steamrolled over then, but they never fully put away Jacksonville – a backup, rookie QB came in and was giving them some problems. The KC defense is not great and that’s going to mean extra goodness for the offense for fantasy a lot this season.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Tyreek Hill (1-5-0, 2-16-0/2) is out for 3-4 weeks, at least. Hopefully, returns sooner-rather-than-later. It’s a blow for all us fantasy owners.
I drafted a lot of Marquise Brown late as a flyer…and if you have him, you have a hopeful Tyreek temp replacement and then some. I’m not proclaiming Brown as the next NFL superstar. And I fear the Ravens pass game/Lamar Jackson when they play a real team. BUT they don’t play a real defense for several weeks.
Miami was a joke Week 1, and Arizona and KC the next two weeks may be as bad on pass defense. I’ve talked about Hollywood Brown as a great sell high this week – I mean sell SUPER high or hold. Brown might be the #1 WR in fantasy after three weeks. Brown saves your Tyreek issue, potentially. ESPN issued a report saying people should fear going in on Brown because of the snap counts from Week 1…that means you likely cannot trade him as a hot of the moment WR1-ish value now, cold water has been thrown. But let’s assume the Ravens play him a few more snaps in the games to come? Why wear him out in that joke of a game Week 1?
The next alternative…the guy who could pop like Marquise Brown…is Mecole Hardman. I think Hardman has the same skill sets if not overall better than Brown. He’s as fast/faster for sure, but now he gets in the prime position of major playing time while Tyreek is out. Any speed WR working with Mahomes = money. Hardman doesn’t have to be a Pro Bowl WR…he just has to be with Mahomes.
Sammy Watkins (9-198-3/11) also looks reborn, and is the veteran of the group of WRs left for Mahomes, so he will shine while Tyreek is out. I’d lean riding Watkins for the next week or two just to jack his value sky high and then look to see if you want. When Tyreek comes back, Watkins falls back to earth some…but this offense is so good it’s not a far fall.
-- My first reaction to Gardner Minshew (22-25 for 275 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) was “Nice! I knew he was capable.” I’m a fan. I think he’s more ready than most rookie QBs because of the style offense he came from, been trained in, succeeded in at Washington State for a season. I thought Minshew game managed as KC drubbed the Jags…that was my reaction Sunday.
Re-watching this today…hold the phone a bit. Minshew was actually really pretty good. He was finding receivers and throwing the ball successfully downfield…not just dinking and dunking. The KC pass defense was bad, but Minshew accounted himself quite nicely.
You almost have to bet against him for any 1-QB league fantasy value in the Jags offense, but maybe we don’t have to discount the whole offense just yet.
-- With that said…I want to love my D.J. Chark (4-146-1/4) and Chris Conley (6-97-1/7) sleepers for 2019 more but I have to be careful as the rookie is taking on a lot of responsibility here…in a low volume passing game with a run game oriented head coach.
Conley looked nice with Minshew.
Chark, as I wrote about this offseason…he’s got #1 WR skills. He showed that he’s the future. I just don’t know if the future is consistently here yet.
Like I also said…Dede Westbrook was never the answer here for FF.
-- If Minshew isn’t bad, Leonard Fournette (13-66-0, 4-28-0/6) may not miss a beat. Note…Minshew was a part of a college offense where his RB (James Williams, who the Jags should sign RIGHT NOW) was like another WR. Minshew is very aware of checking down to the RB and using him as a pass game weapon.
-- I don’t know what the touch counts will be Week 2 or Week 3, all I’ll say is… LeSean McCoy (10-81-0, 1-12-0/1) looks EXPONENTIALLY better than Damien Williams and it cannot be long before McCoy is the lead.
LeSean looks reborn; turn back the clock like it’s the early 2010s.
If McCoy gets a 70-80% workload in this offense…he’ll be an RB1. You’re 1-2-3 weeks away from it…just hold your FF-team’s RB group together until then. Also, if you don’t have him – he’s a great investment piece for the future (like 1-3 weeks from now). People see him as ‘the backup’ kinda to DW…a split role. It won’t be that way for long.
-- The Jacksonville defense was as bad as I’ve ever seen it here. I know KC had a part in that, but they couldn’t cover and they didn’t want to tackle.
I bet an embarrassed Jags D comes out maniacal against Houston Week 2. We’ll see. If Houston stomps them…the Jags DST story is ‘over’ and this team is over.
-- Jags Rookie ILB Quincy Williams (4 tackles) started but was hurt early on and missed a lot of snaps trying to come in and out. He only booked 66% of the snaps. That didn’t help the Jags defense much either.
-- There was a “Hey, Week 2 KC DST vs. OAK! What a great DST play!” on Monday morning in fantasy articles. Well, there’s a problem with that…
1) Oakland looked solid Week 1 MNF in handling Denver.
2) The KC defense was a borderline joke here too. Not sure I’d want to bet anything on them against a solid offense.
-- For the record, Patrick Mahomes (25-33 for 378 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) rules the fantasy world. The gold standard. Best in class. I thought this game would be a bit of a downer…it wasn’t even close.
Everyone laughs at taking QBs highly in fantasy. You wish you pulled the trigger on Mahomes early now. Those that did, you got an ace fantasy player. And if Denver’s defense is that bad as we saw MNF – Mahomes will surpass his totals from last year for sure. No reason to fear the two matchups with them this season.
The best fantasy asset to own in all the game. RBs come and go. Mahomes is priceless.
2019 Dynasty/Fantasy Football Analysis: Week 4 – Jags 26, Broncos 24
Denver had a 17-6 halftime lead, at home, and it looked like the Broncos would win their first game…and then a rookie QB outsmarted a 30+ year veteran NFL head coach and Leonard Fournette FINALLY arrived!
And my Denver ‘over’ win total bets can all go in the trash, while my Jaguars ones are back alive with a vengeance.
Denver is too good a team to be 0-4, but here we are. If they weren’t unlucky enough to lose to Chicago and Jacksonville last second, now Bryce Callahan is out for more weeks and then Bradley Chubb is gone. They might as well start selling off pieces of this team on eBay. Emmanuel Sanders to New Orleans or Cleveland or New England – watch out for it before the trade deadline.
That trade won’t happen yet/this week. If the Broncos manage an upset of the Chargers Week 5 (possible) and then they beat Tennessee at home (possible) then a 2-4 Denver can play Week 7 TNF hosting KC like it’s a Super Bowl. If they lose Week 5 or 6, any 2019 season delusion is over. If they can win their next two, the season is not totally over yet…even if they then lose to KC.
The Jags…oh, my beloved Jags! If they can split their next two (at CAR, host Brees-less Saints) they would then beat (in theory) CIN-NYJ after that and be 5-3 heading to Europe for a Houston showdown that if they win – they are winning the AFC South with ease. We’re still projecting the Jags at 9-10 wins…and me in the ‘over’ win total money.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I don’t really miss on QB scouting by too much. I’m rarely miles off, and I’m usually the only one right where everyone else is wrong on a thing…a lot. I have more confidence in my QB scouting than any position, not to insult my other brilliant scouting abilities. I’m even more confident in my scouting once I’ve done the college study and then get to see them in the pros for a few games.
With that being said, I offer you this: Gardner Minshew (19-33 for 213 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) might end up the best QB in this 2019 NFL Draft class.
I thought Jarrett Stidham would be better, and he might still. I think Kyler Murray is clearly better than all of them in raw talent but if Kingsbury gets canned…I’m not sure what happens with Murray down the line. I thought Minshew had some ‘it’ in pre-Draft scouting (his CFM scouting report is on FFM for free), but I also thought he’d never get a real shot or development.
Turns out…he didn’t need any development, and he’s got his shot. He looks utterly brilliant for a rookie. Considering his path to this point, maybe only Baker looked better among the rookies thrown into the fire early their rookie season. Minshew is playing ‘capably’, he’s working like one of the 15 best QBs in the league. I am not joking.
THEY are thinking Daniel Jones is the future. THEY have gone silent on their boy Lamar Jackson (2020 note = BAL had just lost two games in a row and LJax struggled Weeks 3-8 as a passer...go look, it will semi-shock you). THEY think Minshew is funny because of his mustache – and really, they are insulting him with all the mustache stuff. They are treating him like a wacky side show character who came out of nowhere but doesn’t belong and not supposed to be much more than an NFL backup – so they are treating him like a freak show attraction who doesn’t belong at their party. Heck, THEY didn’t think he’d beat out Cody Kessler for the #2 job this preseason. Now, here he is…about to lead the Jags to a division crown.
Minshew has an ‘it’ factor that’s hard to describe – I just know it when I see it. I stand by my scouting report…he’s Baker Mayfield-lite, 10% less sugar added Baker. A good+ arm. Great pocket awareness and unflappable in muddy situations. Can read defenses with the best of them. Smart feet to avoid trouble, slides and throws or scrambles if needed. He should be touted as a future star…not Daniel Jones. But Jones play in New York and was picked higher -- and that’s all that matters to the extraordinarily lazy football media. Jacksonville isn’t on their agenda of things to watch…nor anything to do with Washington State/Mike Leach.
Minshew has 7 TDs/1 INT in his first 4 games. 5 TDs/0 INTs as the full starter with a 2-1 record. He’s only throwing for 200-215 yards in games not because that’s what he does (like Jacoby Brissett will over time), but because he’s just missed on some bombs and/or had the WRs yanked down for a P.I. versus a catch. Minshew took two big shots to Chris Conley in this game…he just missed on both. He took some shots at Chark too. He’s been throwing for 200-215 yards per game, but 250+ yard games are coming. The defense’s focus on Leonard Fournette will make sure of that.
Watch these highlights from Week 4 on Minshew…there’s like 3-4 Hall of Fame level plays of vision and escape-ability in one little old game as a rookie. It’s crazy. You want to talk about crazy – the TD pass to Armstead after Minshew escapes about 15 sack attempts is surreal. And then his TD pass (about at the 1:00 mark here) to O’Shaughnessy was the best designed play 2019 potentially.
Oh, and yes…the Jags have a Nick Foles issue. This is Minshew’s team. He is the future, and the future is now…BUT they have so much money into Foles for 2019-2020. Foles is a good guy and would not make waves – but he deserves to start in the NFL. Jacksonville can’t trade him this season. Likely, Foles takes back over when he returns, and then is dealt in the offseason. It’s a great issue to have – two top 20 in the league talents on the same roster right now. The easier management decision is to play Foles and let cheap Minshew sit/grow, but the moment Foles loses a game people will lose their mustaches over him playing ahead of Minshew. I know how this works – Foles is to be hated at all times. Now, the football media can get him again…get him booted out of Jacksonville.
I suspect Foles will get traded or start for Jacksonville in 2020 but be under constant Minshew pressure. He will get cut by a team in 2021 and get paid a nice chunk of change to leave and then he’ll quietly retire. He’ll be done with the NFL. He’ll get $40M+ from 2019-2021 from the NFL as a parting gift. Not bad. What might have been…but forces beyond his control do not want him to be on the field it seems.
-- Speaking of trades…I’m waiting to see what the Jags do for a trade for Jalen Ramsey. Had they face planted and gone to 0-4 by now…they’d take picks, but now with Minshew/Foles and a real chance to win this division walking away – they can win this division, and all save their jobs. They would only trade Ramsey for players if they are ‘going for it’ in 2019. Picks do nothing for them right now. They can trade Ramsey for picks in the offseason.
Philly has what they want – Dallas Goedert and Al Dillard, but the Eagles are too chicken to pull the trigger…despite the fact that Ramsey is what could save their season.
Kansas City doesn’t have the players Jacksonville needs. Nor does Arizona. Nor does Baltimore. The Saints won’t part with Erik McCoy in a deal to do it. The Rams don’t have what the Jags need/want. Only the Eagles have the perfect offer of players they aren’t using much for exactly what they need (Ramsey)…and Philly is the most desperate for corner team among all the contenders.
The Eagles are trying to send Ertz instead, but the Jags want the young tight end not the older, expensive one. I expect players to be added to each side and a deal to be done between them at some point. The Eagles could have this done…it’s up to them. Maybe the Jags would add Foles?
-- Each team in this game have new era #1 WRs…future WR1s in fantasy with good QB play, but one has that QB play and the other not so much…
D.J. Chark (4-44-0/8) caught his 4th TD in 4 games here, but (of course) called back for a penalty. Chark battled Chris Harris all game and did pretty well against him. As well as Courtland Sutton (6-62-0/9) did the week prior.
Chark is clearly Minshew’s guy, because Minshew is smart…and because Chark is playing at a Pro Bowl level. He’s just not luckily open or getting a ton of targets – he’s making professional catches all over on good coverage corners. A star is born.
Sutton had 2 TDs here, Ramsey out opened things up, and he looked so graceful doing it. He’s going to score 10+ TDs this season. I love Sutton just as much, BUT the Drew Lock factor looms over the future and that scares me a bit/a lot because Lock sucks worse than Dwayne Haskins.
-- Finally, Leonard Fournette (29-225-0, 2-20-0/3)!!! Fournette looks great. The schedule is nice ahead. Please…please…please don’t get hurt.
You want me to shock you? Fournette is just 6 yards rushing away from Dalvin Cook’s 2019 rushing total this season. Now, Len…we need TOUCHDOWNS.
-- All this hype and my new/old love child Phillip Lindsay (9-53-0, 1-7-0/2) seems lost in the rubble. Nothing like the ace I glowed about last week. My bad. I’m still on the Lindsay train. I want him for RB2-2.5 money/exchange. I want him as a deal in PPR. An undervalued guy among the RB hell we all live in.
Opti Ad: The FFM Lineup Optimizer for DFS (Daily Leagues) is now available. See home page for more info on this tool – our 2nd-year partnered with Advanced Sports Logic (ASL) and at a lower entry price this season to allow you to test run to see how you like it. My projections + ASL’s programming to find the best spend of your DFS budget in a variety of ways! Ask me questions on it, if you desire. – R.C.
-- Did you see that Noah Fant (2-31-1/4) TD? Sweet catch over the middle and then just blasted off like Evan Engram and raced past/through everyone for a 25-yard TD. A fantasy star will be born someday. Useful during bye weeks this year for hope for some.
-- Two defenses heading south/going bad…Denver and Jacksonville.
Denver finally got to the QB, five sacks in this game, but lost Bradley Chubb (6 tackles, 1 sack) for the season in the process. This really kills any hope in their DST for 2019.
The Jags are headed to becoming the new 2019 Broncos – a ‘name’ but can’t get to the QB. No sacks and just 3 QB hits in this game. No Ramsey…and this Jags’ defense goes from possibly great to potentially good, maybe. Weeks 7-8 with CIN-NYJ work, in theory.
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