Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Minshew Mania was in full effect last year, as the rookie QB was thrust into the starting position after an injury to veteran Nick Foles during Week 1. Nobody expected him to succeed. Even more surprising was when he finished the season arguably better than ROY Kyler Murray, despite playing less games. It was an incredible year for Gardner and year 2 may be even more fruitful for him; despite what seems to be a dumpster fire in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars essentially destroyed their defense this past off-season. They got rid of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, traded Calias Campbell, and alienated the best Edge left on the team in Yannick Ngakoue (who will most likely be playing for a different team in 2020). The good news is that their offense is actually pretty competent; with Leonard Fournette still being the bell-cow, and a plethora of talented young receivers in DJ Chark, DeDe Westbrook, an Chris Conley. They also added elite pass-catching RB Chris Thompson and solid TE Tyler Eifert in Free Agency. The better news is that despite not having a full season under his belt, Minshew has already estbalished chemistry with the team’s best WR DJ Chark. 2020 should only enhance this relationship going forward.
Part of what will help Minshew in 2020 is the hiring of Jay Gruden as Offensive Coordinator. Gruden is known around NFL circles as an offensive savant, and his time in Cincinnati and his first few years in Washington reflect this. As an OC/HC, Gruden’s offenses have averaged 12th in passing yards, 10th in passing TDs, and and 11th in NY/A when he’s had the same QB start at least 15 games. These stats bode well for Minshew who led the NFL in Passer Rating on deep passes, and was ranked 3rd by PFF as a deep paser in the league last year (he also did not turn the ball over on 49 deep throw attempts). Unexpectedly, Minshew also ranked in the Top 5 in throwing to his right (1st), in open windows, under center, and from clean pockets. These are pretty impressive stats for a rookie who came into the season with low expectations. You can expect Gruden to have Gardner sling the pigskin around plenty in 2020.
The most underrated aspect of Minshew’s game, and one that will not only help him in-game but as well as Fantasy Football is his ability to create and scramble. Despite only starting 12 games last year, Gardner tallied the second most scramble yards behind Lamar Jackson, per PFF. Having the ability to be a dual threat Quarterback opens up a dynamic that allows for success in more areas on the field. Minshew didn’t scramble in the same way that Lamar did, but his ability to do so not only allowed him to run for yardage; but pass for huge plays as well (as shown in the below video).
MINSHEW MAGIC!@GardnerMinshew finds @track_chaser for the TD.#DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/eqQfYsH1fG — #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 29, 2019 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
With the Jaguars offense expected to be playing from behind more often than not, Gardner Minshew will have an abundance of opportunity. Adding an elite pass-catching RB in Chris Thompson and a solid safety valve in Tyler Eifert will give him a much needed outlet when the pocket collapses; and you should be able to expect the chemistry with his WR’s to only get better.
At the moment, Minshew’s ADP going into 2020 is at an absurd 194, and is currently averaging as the 27th QB off the board in both standard and PPR leagues. These numbers are absolutely disrespectful, and are a drafter’s dream if they plan on getting value for their pick. For reference, Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold’s ADP are #111 (15th PPR and 16th Std) and #175 (24th QB) with similar stats to Minshew, despite being on worse teams offensively. While Minshew may not rank in the Top 10 for QB’s this year, he will easily be a high-end QB2 with QB1 potential.
Projection: QB16 – 4200 passing yards, 28 TDs, 12 INTs; 500 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs.