The 2019 NFL season brought forward unexpected stars, as fantasy football owners attempted to get ahead of the curve. The standout performances of select players will be carefully monitored for consistency later this year. Here, we discuss the performances of last year’s rookies and whether they can uphold their fantasy value moving forward.
Kyler Murray (QB, Arizona Cardinals)
Despite finishing with a 5-10-1 record, Murray was a standout fantasy option on a weekly basis. In 10 of his 16 regular season starts, Murray exceeded his fantasy projections. This season, the Cardinals have the 19th-ranked schedule based on fantasy quarterback friendliness.
Through the offseason, the team traded for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and drafted an offensive tackle in Josh Jones in the third round. Considering he finished as QB7 last season, Murray could very well finish in the top five at the quarterback position.
Standout or Slump: Standout
Daniel Jones (New York Giants)
After taking over for Eli Manning in Week 3, Daniel Jones was a sneaky starting option in select weeks. When he surpassed his projections, Jones did so by 10+ fantasy points on four occasions.
This season, without Manning on the sidelines, Jones will be forced to open against five difficult fantasy matchups (PIT, @CHI, SF, @LAR, @DAL). Overall, the Giants have the 16th-ranked schedule based on fantasy quarterback friendliness. During the offseason, the Giants front office drafted three offensive linemen within their first five selections. As a result, Jones could finish around QB15.
Standout or Slump: Slight Standout
Dwayne Haskins (Washington Redskins)
At times, we did witness promise that Haskins could be a fantasy option within dynasty leagues in future seasons. In the 2019 season, he only had one game of 15+ fantasy points; making him an impossible weekly starter in redraft leagues.
However, the Redskins now face the third-easiest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks, and the front office added plenty of support for Haskins to be remotely successful. After drafting Chase Young in the NFL Draft, Washington proceeded to select four consecutive offensive players. While Haskins still won’t be a reliable starter in redraft leagues, he is slowly becoming a work in progress in dynasty settings.
Standout or Slump: Slight Standout
Gardner Minshew (Jacksonville Jaguars)
During the 2019 season, Minshew was thrown into the starting position and made the most of his opportunity. He finished as QB20, despite sitting for two games. In eight of his matchups, Minshew totaled 15 or more fantasy points.
Moving into this season, with Nick Foles out of the picture, the Jaguars will open with a favorable schedule in the eyes of fantasy owners. However, during the fantasy playoffs (Week 14-16), the Jaguars are forced to play TEN, @BAL, and CHI. Considering the team is seeking trade options for cornerstone players such as Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Fournette, this isn’t the year to invest in Minshew in redraft leagues.
Standout or Slump: Slight Slump
Drew Lock (Denver Broncos)
The Broncos were 4-1 last season with Lock under center, but that doesn’t always correlate to fantasy success. In his five starts, Lock had one quality start (24.9 fantasy points, Week 14 @HOU). Based on fantasy quarterback strength of schedule, Lock will have the third-toughest schedule in the NFL.
Still, the team could be trapped in high-scoring games in the middle of the season against KC (Week 7), @ATL (Week 9), and NO (Week 12). The team drafted wide receivers in Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler with their first two selections, but I wouldn’t expect much fantasy success from Lock this season.
Standout or Slump: Slump