A player’s second season, also known as their sophomore year can be a tricky time. Get it right and you are more likely to stick around in the league a little longer.
In this final piece of the series, I look at 3 Quarterbacks who have just finished their rookie season and will be looking to do just that. In the systems they are in, stepping up is what’s needed. Knowing this could help you find some fantasy help during your drafts or at least some sleepers to keep an eye on.
Drew Lock was the third QB that started for the Broncos in 2019. Lock got his first career start in week 13 and then played out the rest of the season as the Broncos starter. In those 5 games, he came away with a 4-1 record, 1020 passing yards and 7 touchdowns.
Time to step up in 2020.
Going into his Sophomore season, Lock needs to do everything he can to step up and be the QB1 in Denver. The off-season has been all about gearing up that offence for Lock to succeed.
They already have talent in Courtland Sutton, who smashed out a nice 1000 yard season, whilst having to deal with 3 different QBs and trying to get a connection with each of them. Tight End Noah Fant is ready to step up too. I wrote about him in the Step up Sophomore-TE edition. Having a steady QB in Lock throwing him the ball is only going to be good news for both Sophomore players.
But now the Broncos have added some key players to boost this offence. Denver picked up one of the top WR prospects coming out of the draft in Jerry Jeudy and grabbed KJ Hamler too. On top of the draft, the Broncos also add Melvin Gordon to the RB room which already holds a pretty good pass-catching back in Phillip Lindsay.
Right now Lock is coming off the board around the 152nd overall pick and as the 23rd QB. We only have 5 games to go off from the 2019 season. However, with all the firepower in the Denver offence, that ADP is a nice price to pay for the potential that comes with it. If you don’t grab him in your drafts, keep an eye out for him on the waiver wire for his streaming upside.
Murray started the 2019 season with a lot of hype. He had his ups and downs as you would expect from a rookie but some of his stats have promise as he enters his sophomore year.
His season was a mixed bag but weeks 9, 10 and 11 just before the Bye showed us Murray was just getting going. He had a passer rating of 130, 97 and 101 in those weeks before the bye week knocked him off the boil.
Murray finished the season with a promising 3722 passing yards with an extra 544 rushing yards. He picked up 20 passing TDs with an extra 4 rushing to go along with it.
Time to shine.
If the hype for Murray was high in 2019, then it will only get bigger moving into his Sophomore season. Getting the rookie season under his belt and another off-season with the team will only be a good thing.
He has the capability of being able to step up this coming season in a big way. Especially after the Cardinals came away with a shock trade in the offseason. They bagged themselves one of the top WRs in the league when they traded for DeAndre Hopkins.
Along with that, the legend and Mr safe hands himself Larry Fitzgerald said he would come back for another season. Add in the 2019 midseason acquisition of running back Kenyan Drake with all the other young talent the Cardinals have at WR and this offence can start to explode.
One more thing to help things along with Kyler Murray stepping up in his sophomore year, the defence still isn’t quite ready yet. This brings with it some shootout potential in games for Murray to boost his stats.
ADP for 2020.
Murray isn’t going cheap. Right now he’s coming off the board as the 58th overall player and the 4th Qb to go. Yes, many will argue that you can wait on a QB for the later rounds where you can pick up Jones or Lock. However, Murray has the potential to be a top 5 QB and I could even go as far to say top 3 with all the potential shootouts coming in 2020.
So if you don’t mind grabbing an early Qb but missed out on the obvious choice of Mahomes and Jackson then keep an eye out for Murray. I have a feeling he’s going to do something big this year.
The rookie season for Jones was a mixed bag. We got flashes of brilliance and we got flashes of an exposed rookie. Jones started 12 games last season and in those 12 games, he threw a TD or more in every single game. Not only that but he was throwing the ball on average 37 times a game. Compare that to a similar ADP QB in Baker Mayfield, who was averaging 33 passes a game. As we all know. Volume is key.
Going off 2019 stats there is one QB that you can compare Jones to and that’s Aaron Rodgers. In 16 games Rodgers threw for 26 TDs, Jones got 24 in 12 starts. Through 16 games Rodgers threw the ball 569 times for 4002 yards. In 12 starts Jones threw the ball 445 times for 3007 yards. Using the average, Jones was projected to throw the ball 593 times. Which projects Jones to have just made it over 4000 yards in 16 games.
Rodgers’ ADP is the QB 10 – 86th overall. When you get similar stats from a QB like Jones but draft him as the QB 16 off the board and 116th overall, that’s quite a lot of draft stock you can use for very similar stats.
Time to step up.
Going into his sophomore year, Jones will have more confidence as an NFL player. Another year with the playbook and coach and another year building on everything he has already learnt.
That and he will have a healthy Saquon Barkley who is an absolute beast. A great dual-threat to help a young QB. With him in the backfield, the opposition’s defence will have to split and cover Barkley. In turn, opening up the field for the WR’s giving Jones better options. As we have already seen Barkley can catch the ball and run hard too. A perfect offensive weapon to increase Jones’ fantasy value.
There you have it Rush Nation, the final piece in the Step up Sophomore series. If you have missed the first three they are here. Wide Receiver, Running Back and Tight End
Until next time. Keep rushing.
Pittsy – @PittsyNFL