2020 is the first year that New York Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones is going to be able to play without having to deal with the shadow of now-retired QB Eli Manning being cast over him. But with the Giants not making a ton of offseason improvements, what can Jones actually do with his existing cast of offensive weapons?
Obviously having star running back Saquon Barkley be the top offensive option in both the running and passing game certainly helps Jones’ job, the wide receiver and tight end weapons are really nothing more than an average to a slightly above-average grouping.
Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton are the top WR options on this team, and while Slayton put together a super impressive rookie campaign, they are lacking that clear-cut top option that can be a consistent 100+ target guy year in, year out. And for Evan Engram at tight end, the ceiling and potential is very much there, yet his role in the offense has been struggling to remain consistent – but with a new offensive coordinator in the building, the hope is that he is able to become a regular threat moving forward.
2019 Fantasy Statistics
In Jones’ rookie campaign, a 2:1 TD to interception ratio was quite impressive, even with 12 interceptions being quite high. And while having thrown for only 3,027 yards on a 61.9 completion percentage, it was certainly a strong starting point for the Duke rookie.
Tack on his 279 rushing yards and 2 rushing scores on the ground and Jones accounted for 26 total touchdowns in 2019, a pretty substantial amount, considering the type of attention that Barkley earned in his target and touch share. But even with those positives, fumbles were a huge reason why he was not as successful as he could have been.
18 total fumbles, with 6 of those coming in rushing situations (the other 12 while in the pocket), is an extremely high number. Three of his lost fumbles came while rushing as well, so Jones needs to work on ball security, and that can easily lead to boosting his total touchdown count by at least five, if the Giants are able to sustain more drives.
Jones played in 13 games last year, and with Barkley having missed time as well, the onus falls on Jones to remain healthy going into the 2020 season, something that he should be able to do with a reworked offensive line.
Daniel Jones Fantasy Football Outlook
Around the fantasy football industry, it seems like Jones is gaining a ton of steam to be able to put together a breakout sophomore campaign, something that not a ton of QBs in that same class can say. One of the most heavily talked about draft picks from last year, Jones came out in his first season, amongst all of the talk about how Manning was still going to hold as long as he could for the Giants, and he handled it very smoothly.
Can Jones put together a top 15 season amongst all NFL quarterbacks in fantasy this year? Absolutely. But what has to go right for that to come true? A lot.
First and most importantly, the offensive line needs to rebound from an injury-plagued season that was marred with a ton of inconsistencies. But with the Giants having used the fourth-overall selection on Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas, the behemoth will slide into the left tackle role for the next ten-plus seasons, giving Jones blindside protection all while helping Barkley have a better chance at efficient rushing lanes.
Secondly, Barkley is the most integral factor in Jones’ success, outside of the offensive line unit. It is not a secret that Barkley is the most important part of the offense, as opposing defenses choose to stack boxes against him and dare him to try and run the ball – but his receiving chops are so polished for a third-year back, that his dual-threat abilities are almost just as valuable as what he is able to do on the ground.
If Jones is able to stay healthy and establish even more of a rapport with his weapons, then 30+ passing touchdowns are more than within reach. 35 may be his ceiling, but even that amount could be reached if any of his five main weapons becomes even more of a threat in the passing game.
Barely sneaking over the 3,000 passing yardage mark is something that Jones should not have a problem with this year, as his yardage should see a healthy uptick along with his passing TD’s. A line sitting around 3,800 yards, 32 TDs, and 10 interceptions seems all within reason, as the passing volume for Jones could increase, even with new OC Jason Garrett in the fold.
With Garrett, his admiration for a run-focused offense speaks volumes for what kind of role Barkley should have this year, yet it also has a profound impact on what can be expected out of Jones as well, which is both a good and a bad thing.
A heavy run-focused scheme, tied in with a nice uptick in tight end involvement, and you have the makings of a more efficient Jones for the ‘20 season.
Rushing-wise, Jones should see more attempts as well, but not necessarily more attempts in a sense of that he will be running read-option or QB Power plays down by the goal line. Instead, if plays end up breaking down or if coverage dictates an open rushing lane, then Jones certainly has the athleticism to do that.
In comparison, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills rushed 109 times in his second season (2019), and while that number is nowhere close to what Jones should do, an uptick of roughly his overall rushing attempts from last year (to finish around 65-70) is certainly possible.
Rank at Position
Jones fits more into Tier 4 of the QBs, as he profiles more to be a guy that is looking to break out and has to work heavily with his weapons around him to make that a reality. Coming into the season, ranking Jones as QB15 is a healthy start, with an upside to fit in as the QB10 as the season ends.
Cam Newton, Jared Goff, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger are all being projected around the same area as Jones in the industry, and Jones can easily produce more results than any of these players as well, if he is able to hit on all the needed metrics.
The role that Jones plays in the NYG offense is to be the guy that helps coordinate an offense that has a superb running back, an improved offensive line, and a group of weapons that starts the year around average but can jump above that if certain weapons hit. With Barkley, Thomas, and all of the WRs and TEs in the fold, the 2020 season for Jones can help paint a picture for what can be expected from him for the remainder of his career.