Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Welcome back, everyone. This is our first offseason producing fantasy content and we want to stay away from the chalk. If you play DFS, you know that means common, highly-owned, and sometimes a gimme. With your DraftKings lineup, it’s often okay to eat a little chalk. With content, though, it’s important to stay away from it – I know you guys don’t want to be reading the same crap over and over. With that being said, take a lot of this article with a grain of salt – free agency hasn’t begun, the NFL Draft feels like it’s years away (partly because we are so excited over here at The Cut), and of course, the dreaded injury bug can infect one of these players before the season even starts. But for now, these are my likely breakout candidates heading into the 2020 fantasy football season. Let’s do it.
(Image from CBS Sports)
1. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gardner Minshew finished 2019 as the QB19, playing in 14 games (and really only 13 if you take the games he was inserted midway through) and with injuries to his best weapons all throughout the season. He completed 61% of his passes, threw for 3,271 yards and had a TD:INT ratio of 7:2 (21 TDs to just 6 INTs). He added over 300 yards rushing and ultimately took the world by storm. No one expected him to be anything as a 6th-round rookie. No one should have. He was pegged as a career backup behind a guy that just received a Brink’s truck last offseason. But he was thrust into a starting role in the second half of Week 1 and by all accounts delivered. Yes, Doug Marrone has said Doug Marrone things – you don’t want to piss off your bosses, especially the ones that just gave Nick Foles the password to their bank account. I fully expect Gardner to come out and win the starting job over Nick Foles in 2020. If that’s the case, I expect Gardner to become a very viable QB2 with QB1 upside. I think he’s going to be quite the asset, and while it’s extremely risky to draft him if you have an early fantasy draft, I think that risk will have quite the payout.
(Image from Giants Wire)
2. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Randy and Sean will very likely disagree with me on this – and that is okay. Daniel Jones showed a lot of good things in 2019. He completed 62% of his passes, threw for over 3,000 yards in just 13 games, and had 24 TDs. His 12 interceptions may look worrisome at face value, but most rookies have ball security issues (even the great ones). The most cause for concern comes with Daniel Jones’ fumbling issue. He fumbled the ball 18 times and lost 11 of them. He was just flat-out bad in that department. But so was the Giants’ offensive line. Ranking 18th in pass protection and 25th in the running game is not something to brag about, and I fully believe that Dave Gettleman will be adding some reinforcements this offseason. It is seeming more and more likely that the Giants draft one of these stud offensive tackles with the fourth-overall pick, and there is a decent market in free agency this year. Protect the (still overdrafted) asset and I think you have a competent quarterback in 2020.
(Image from Bleacher Report)
3. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
I’m not sure if you can breakout after winning Comeback Player of the Year as a 31-year-old, but I sure as hell am putting Ryan Tannehill on this list. In just 12 games, Tannehill finished as the QB22, throwing for 22 TDs, just 6 INTs, and rushing in an additional four touchdowns. He was, by all accounts, outstanding for the AFC runners-up. People who think that the 2019 season was a fluke for Ryan Tannehill can look back to his stretch from 2013-2015 where he finished no worse than the QB17. He even had a finish inside the top-ten. A lot of things worked in Tannehill’s favor in 2019 – he had a great running game, a phenomenal offensive line, and he wasn’t asked to do too much. However, he showed an ability to throw the football, something that his predecessor (Marcus Mariota) could not do. If both Henry and Tannehill return to the Titans, I expect a QB1-level year out of Ryan Tannehill.
(Image from Sports Illustrated)
4. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
The QB27 who played in 13 games is a breakout candidate? Maybe not. But maybe.. just maybe.. the Jets will fire Adam Gase halfway into the 2020 season. And if that’s the case, I expect the shackles to be lifted, the stud to emerge, and the Jets fans to rest easier. Sam Darnold has shown every sign of a breakout, basically since Week 8 of 2019. He doesn’t have many weapons. His coach is certifiably incompetent. His offensive line was so good that he averaged over 2.5 sacks per game (and that number doesn’t even include QB hurries, pressures, and other statistics that put a quarterback under duress). I think Darnold will get a better o-line, a better set of weapons, and hopefully, a better head coach and therefore, will get better.
(Image from Sports Illustrated)
5. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Listen. Don’t listen to me here. I don’t want to be right. I don’t think Mitch Trubisky is really any good. I think Mitch Trubisky will face stiffer competition in 2020. Whether it’s Andy Dalton, Teddy Bridgewater, or Marcus Mariota (or someone else, honestly), I think Mitch will have to fight for his job. What’s crazy is that I think he will win the starting role (unless it’s Andy Dalton – if so, throw this all out the window). I also think the Bears add some more weapons that allow Trubisky to be more successful. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018. Many people are saying that’s an outlier, and they’re probably right. But what if they’re not? What if Mitch Trubisky’s breakout season is coming in 2020 – a year later than fantasy analysts projected? I tend to think that it could happen, but please – and I repeat – please do not take this as an endorsement to draft Mitchell Trubisky in 2020. I don’t want that to tarnish my name, here.
Alright, so there you have it – five.. well.. four breakout candidates at the quarterback position for the 2020 fantasy football season. By July, this article will be dated and irrelevant, but I thought it was fun anyway.
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Until next time!