Garoppolo: Trust or Bust?
Jimmy Garoppolo has been severely undervalued in Fantasy drafts this summer. FantasyPros currently has him ranked at QB33, and he’s being drafted in rounds 15+ in most Super-Flex Leagues. The optics aren’t great for Jimmy! He’s coming off a disappointing 2020 campaign, and the 49ers traded THREE first-round picks to the Dolphins to move up to pick 3 to select QB Trey Lance. Despite these narratives, I’m confident Garoppolo WILL be San Francisco’s starter every game this season with upside to land in QB2 territory in Fantasy.
Garoppolo Injury Plagued in 2020
While Garoppolo didn’t impress us in 2020, we need to keep in mind that he faced multiple injuries last year. Garoppolo missed 10 games and left early in three others from ankle injuries, including a high ankle sprain in week 2 against the Jets. I saw the 49er’s drafting Lance; more as a contingency to Garoppolo’s health, who also suffered a torn ACL in 2018. The one season Garoppolo started 16+ games in 2019, he would finish as QB13 in Fantasy, totaling 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and 3978 passing yards.
Garoppolo did succeed in his first few games last year and did it with practically no offensive weapons. Ask yourself, without Google, who were the starting receivers for the 49ers last season…. If you guessed Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, you’d be incorrect. How about Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, and Dante Pettis? Can I get WR7’s for $2000, Aaron?!
Garoppolo faced the Cardinals and Jets to start last season and recorded four touchdowns and 390 passing yards before going down in game two in New York. He would return from the high ankle sprain just 3 weeks later, and you could see that he wasn’t ready yet; this injury would plague him in his remaining games and lead to another injury and missing the final 8 games of the season.
49ers Scheme + Offense’s Health
The 49er’s playbook and offensive scheme doesn’t demand a lot from the quarterback position. Kyle Shanahan’s system leans on a run-heavy west coast-style offense. I expect the running game will be a shield for either starting QB this season. However, Jimmy has been in this system for years now. He will be way ahead in terms of understanding the playbook and how to leverage Shanahan’s system against NFL defenses. It will be difficult for Garoppolo to NOT have success to start 2021, especially with a fully healthy and upgraded offense.
The 49ers are loaded with weapons this year. They have Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Raheem Mostert all healthy to start the 2021 season. Garoppolo will have upgrades everywhere and will lead the most talented offense he’s had since arriving in San Francisco. The 49ers also added RB Trey Sermon in the draft and have a more than potent offensive line; there’s a lot to like about Jimmy’s situation, especially at little to no risk given his super-late draft capital.
Read the Room
You can easily draft Garoppolo as your QB4 in most Super-Flex leagues, but I have seen some taking shots on him as their QB3. While Lance is the team’s future, the 49ers are still on the hook with Garoppolo; he holds a $26.4 million hit on the team’s salary cap. The franchise is still very committed to #10 in the short term. If the team makes a deep playoff run, it’s more likely that Garoppolo is the quarterback and not Lance, and at the end of the day, that’s the team’s ultimate goal! I TRUST Garoppolo in 2021 based on his ADP. There’s no risk drafting him in rounds 15+, and he’ll likely finish in the middle of QB2 territory if he plays at least 16 games.