32 for 32: Jimmy Garoppolo and What Could Be

Editor’s Note: This is a part of our 32 for 32 QB Profiles series. This post was written by guest writer Brad Harrison — follow him on Twitter @spoony____.

Jimmy Garoppolo is currently overvalued at his QB5-QB7 price tag in dynasty leagues and at his QB9 cost in 2QB redraft leagues simply due to the small sample size we have seen him perform at. Garoppolo is currently being priced around his ceiling, taken ahead of other signal-callers like Matthew Stafford who has finished as top-end quarterback for the past three seasons.

One of the most sustainable metrics when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks is Passer Rating when Kept Clean — Garoppolo ranked sixth in that category during his 2017 starts.

Garoppolo also performed exceptionally well under pressure, which is vital since San Francisco’s O-Line ranked 18th in Pass Protection in 2017, according to Football Outsiders. He will need to improve on his intermediate and deep passes, but a majority of his passes in 2017 were in the short game, which we’ll see later. One primary concern is the number of interceptions he threw during his short time as the starter — five (2.8 INT%), seventh-highest rate in the league. Another concern is the number of touchdowns Garoppolo threw in the red zone since the 49ers scored points on 60 percent of his drives, but he threw only 11 touchdowns in 24 red zone trips. Another potential issue is Garoppolo also does not appear to have a safe rushing floor that one would like to see in their fantasy QB. He ranked 17th in Rush Attempts per Game and 27th in Rushing Yards gained on those attempts, which would project him as a Matthew Stafford or Ben Roethlisberger type of quarterback.

If Garoppolo keeps up this efficiency, improves his intermediate and deep passes, and lowers his interception rate then he should hit the ceiling he’s currently being priced at. If not, then you’ll have missed out on other possible studs/values for your teams. Take a look at the ADP list above. You’ll notice Garoppolo is going around guys like Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, who have proven to be top-tier QB1s in terms of fantasy finishes, and above guys like Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, and Dak Prescott, who have established themselves with multiple QB1 finishes. I believe Garoppolo is priced at about his ceiling, even though he averaged 16.48 fantasy points per game in his five starts, which would have ranked 13th in 2017. He also recorded three QB1 weeks in his first five starts. It seems he’s being picked so early due to some of his efficiencies during his starts and his upside of being tied to Kyle Shanahan. Below is a chart showing the fantasy history of QBs under Shanahan:

Shanahan quarterbacks have produced some top fantasy QB finishes in the past, with three of his signal-callers having high-end QB1 finishes. His other QBs have generally finished as QB2s, but they missed multiple games in their seasons, except for Matt Ryan. There are several pluses for Garoppolo playing in Shanahan’s offense. The following stats are courtesy of Graham Barfield: In 2017, the 49ers ranked fifth in Plays/Game and fifth in Red Zone Plays/Game. They were also sixth in Percentage of Pass Plays run and fifth in Pace of Play. Finally, they were also first in Passes Per Game and second in Pass Attempts in 2017.

The 49ers passed a ton in 2017, which is what we love to see for fantasy QBs. The amount of passing they attempt this year will be crucial to Garoppolo’s fantasy success, since he doesn’t have the rushing upside of other quarterbacks.

Speaking of passing, when looking at Garoppolo’s Passer-Air Conversion Ratio (PACR) over at airyards.com, we can look further into where he was efficient. Garoppolo’s PACR in his five starts was 0.97, which puts him above guys like Matthew Stafford (0.95), Tom Brady (0.84), and Carson Wentz (0.72), but below Aaron Rodgers (0.98) and Alex Smith (1.02). If we look at PACR by Depth of Target, we see Garoppolo was dominant in the short game to roughly the 15-yard line, where a majority of his passes went. Garoppolo does need to improve his intermediate and deep passes if he wants to be included in the elite tier of fantasy quarterbacks.

Yards Per pass Route Run (YPRR):
Pre-Garoppolo/Garoppolo’s 5 starts:

  • Goodwin: 1.65/2.63
  • Bourne: 0.92/1.73
  • Taylor: 0.88/2.10
  • Kittle: 1.06/2.57

There are reasons to be excited about Garoppolo. When he took over as the starting quarterback, his receivers improved greatly in their yards per route run:

*George Kittle: 1.06/2.57

Yards Per Route Run is an important metric for receivers as it correlates to receiving fantasy points scored in the following season. Though it’s on a smaller sample size, five games vs. a whole season, Goodwin’s 2.63 YPRR would have ranked third in 2017, and Taylor would have ranked 10th. The 49ers are a better team when Garoppolo plays, and he makes their playmakers fantasy viable.

Jimmy Garoppolo can be a special QB in NFL based on the numbers he produced in his five starts. He was extremely efficient over those five games, and if upheld over the course of a season he could be a top-tier QB. He will need to improve on his intermediate and deep passes while lowering his interception percentage and raising his TDs in the red zone. He also doesn’t appear to have any rushing upside or floor so he will have to rely on his passing game to uphold his value, which shouldn’t be a problem if the 49ers continue their trend from last season of being the team that passed the most per game. If you’re okay taking the risk on a highly efficient five-game sample then Garoppolo is the guy for you; I’ll pass and take more proven options like Cousins and Stafford.

*A majority of statistics used in this article were gathered from Pro-Football-Reference and FF Statistics. All statistics and sources can be found here.

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