Over the next few weeks, I am going to give you a few names to consider buying at their current price tag. I’ll break down the pros and cons, give you an idea of their current value, and give you my 2021 projection for each player. Each player comes with some risk, but I think the upside is there to make each of these players a value buy right now for your dynasty team.
Sam Darnold, QB Carolina Panthers / 2021 Projections - 4369 YDS, 25 TD, 13 INT, 2 RTD
If you follow me on Twitter then you will know my love for Darnold. I know he hasn't done anything to really get anyone too excited, but he was playing under one of the worst head coaches the NFL has ever seen. Fantasy players who have played under Adam Gase have gone on to somewhat productive careers away from him including Ryan Tannehill, Kenyan Drake, Jarvis Landry, Damien Williams, Devante Parker, and Mike Gesicki. There is hope that Darnold could take a step forward away from Gase and also out of the New York spotlight.
I’d love to say there was a stretch where he impressed, but really besides three games of 20 plus points in 2018, four games in 2019, and again only 3 in 2020, it’s been rough. However, the Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year 63 million dollar contract last offseason. After one season they decided he wasn’t the right QB for them and shipped him off to the Broncos for a sixth-round pick. They were one of the rumored teams to be in on Deshaun Watson and many thought they might address the QB position in the draft. However, neither of these things happened and instead, they paid a second, fourth, and sixth-round pick to acquire Sam Darnold. Shortly after, they picked up his fifth-year option. The Panthers believe they can turn things around for Darnold and maybe you should buy into that chance!
Teddy Bridgewater finished as QB19 last year without Christian McCaffery for the majority of the year. The offense lost playmaker Curtis Samuel to free agency but drafted Terrace Marshall and Tommy Tremble to add to the offensive weapons that include D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, who Darnold played with in New York. He has never had a run game to support him and has played with bums such as Isaiah Crowell, a washed-up Le’Von Bell, and grandpa Frank Gore for most of last year. Besides Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder, his WRs were nothing to write home about either. Now he will have the support of McCaffery, Hubbard, and he will be able to dump the ball off to McCaffery and let him do his thing. Moore and Anderson are a great one-two punch and Marshall is a big body red zone threat.
I had a humbling experience doing real projections for the first time this offseason and I realized it’s pretty tough to get non-mobile QBs into the top 12, with the talent at the QB position. Do I think Sam Darnold is going to set the world on fire and become a top 12 QB for years to come? No. Do I think Sam Darnold can become a consistent number QB2 for years and have a year or two that everything hits right and he maybe finishes inside the top 12? Yes!
He is 24 years old and was drafted with the 3rd overall pick in 2018. He is no longer in fantasy football hell under Adam Gase so why not take a shot on this guy who the Panthers obviously believed in enough to move on from Bridgewater and his contract which leaves them with 17 million in dead cap this year according to Forbes.com.
According to Justin Boone’s trade value chart, you can acquire him for next to nothing in 1 QB leagues, which I wouldn’t want him as my starter, but a streaming option for sure! In 2 QB leagues, he can be acquired for the value of a mid-second. That’s screaming value for a guy who has a chance to really take a step forward with the weapons around him over the next two seasons. I’d personally be willing to move a 2022 1st if I knew I had a competitive team and maybe my QBs are on the older side. Go bargain hunting and see if you can add Darnold to your team.
(Cover Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon / USA Today Sports)