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Daniel Jones Erupts (That's Nice, Now Do It Again)

It has been a whirlwind six-month run for Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. He went from being the draft choice that no one wanted in April to a highly praised savior and successor to Eli Manning on Sunday. His impressive performance against Tampa Bay also has stirred a lot of Fantasy interest, but not to the point where he is a surefire starter yet. Fantasy owners want to see more than one quality outing before they feel comfortable using him as a starter.

In his postgame presser on Sunday, Pat Shurmur could have been perceived as speaking for Fantasy owners as well as the Giants when he tried to rein in some of the incredible emotion circulating after the Giants’ 32-31 victory over Tampa Bay.

“Now, we’re going to see. We’re looking for consistency, so we’re looking for him to not be heroic but just be the best Daniel Jones he can be,” Shurmur said.

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The Rise to Relevance

Jones entered Fantasy leagues as a complete afterthought this season. He was only drafted in the deepest or two-QB formats in seasonal leagues, being taken as the 32nd to 38th player at his position on various platforms according to FantasyPros. Even dynasty league owners were cool on Jones, and seemed to be affected by the overwhelmingly negative press surrounding his No. 6 overall selection in the NFL Draft.

According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Jones was the 27th player of 44 taken on average in Dynasty rookie drafts in 2019. He was the third of four QBs selected, with his ADP 14 spots behind Dwayne Haskins and two ahead of Drew Lock.

But his Fantasy outlook suddenly and quickly changed this week when he threw for 336 yards and two TDs and ran for two more scores. Jones became the third-most added player in FleaFlicker leagues this week, as his ownership raced up to 52 percent. It may rise even more with another quality outing on Sunday. Everything is seemingly set for him to perform well in Week 4. It will be his first home start against Washington, which just allowed three TD passes to Mitch Trubisky.


Beating the Pressure

MetLife Stadium may be rocking with the most optimism in seven years as the fans get their first chance to support Jones as a starter, half a year after they decisively offered him no welcome mat into New Jersey. But Jones has already shown he can handle the pressure.

He delivered a string of quality preseason performances that started to change the widespread estimations of him. Then on Sunday, he hung in the pocket and made very quick decisions and admirable throws under pressure. Check out this Tweet from Next Gen Stats that illustrates just how savvy Jones proved to be when pressure was applied.

If you watch just the highlights of Jones’ pro debut, and there were many, it looked like he played a perfect game. While he most certainly did not, he did demonstrate ultra-crisp decision making most of the time and made quality throws against all levels of the defense.

In this terrific breakdown of every Jones throw from Week 4 via The Ringer, some of the less impressive moments are captured. There was a near interception and two fumbles, plus a few downfield incompletions. Jones may need to work on his ball security. He was sacked five times, but remained steady in the pocket and made the important plays.

There will also be added expectations to carry the offense without the injured Saquon Barkley. Defenses may alter their game plans when facing the Giants. How Jones responds could determine his shorter-term Fantasy value.


Jones' Fantasy Outlook

It is really hard to find much fault with Jones’ performance against Tampa Bay. Some cynics will cite the quality of the opponent, but Jones had to show he could take advantage of that type of matchup to be considered a quality QB at all. You can’t add a guy to your Fantasy roster if he does not perform well against the teams he is supposed to.

It’s a very small sample size, but Jones has already earned strong Fantasy streaming consideration. If you lost Drew Brees, you likely don’t have a better option to use in Week 4. Otherwise, do not use him over a more proven passer yet in most cases. The Jones or Matt Ryan start/sit questions we have been receiving are not legitimate yet.

There are some instances in which you have to consider Jones, though, Obviously, every Fantasy team’s situation is different. We would strongly recommend using him over Josh Allen, who faces New England.

Jones showed off the added dimension of mobility against Tampa Bay, which may give him an edge in close lineup decisions with other Fantasy QBs going forward. While Jones is not the type of dual-threat that Allen or Kyler Murray can be, the threat of some bonus rushing yardage and six-point Fantasy scores obviously elevate his appeal.

For those 48 percent of you in FleaFlicker leagues who still have a chance to acquire him and are mulling it over, make the move to pick him up before you end up regretting it. If he turns out to be a QB1 in Fantasy, he can either become your new starter or turn into a significant trade chip. You just can’t leave potential value like that on the waiver wire. Even if your starting QB is Patrick Mahomes, you may have a weakness somewhere else that you can fill with a Jones-related offer in the near future.

Of course, if Jones turns out to be erratic after a great first start, you can simply cut him. Naturally, it all depends on who you have on your current roster and can afford to release. But we will bet, in most cases, there is room on a lot of rosters for Jones. As Brees’ owners can attest, it’s not a bad thing to have a respectable or potentially higher quality QB as a backup.

Right now, Jones has vaulted himself into the high-end Fantasy QB2 area, because some of the traits he displayed against Tampa Bay are the true signs of a successful passer: Quick decisions, confidence in the pocket and sharp throws in all situations. He was poised and remained aggressive. A few more games like that and he will soar into Fantasy QB1 territory, which no one expected in his rookie year.

But hey, he’s already silenced the negativity in New York, and has seemed to officially end the Eli Manning era. The transition was smooth, with Manning getting a few days of public salutes and reverence before Jones was completely moved into the forefront. The next chapter has apparently started at QB for the Giants, as Jones succeeds a possible Hall of Famer (this writer does not believe two great seasons and being average the rest of the time constitutes a HOF career, but that is another debate for another time).

This coming Sunday’s game will be must-watch football. For the Giants fans, to see the beginning of a long and loving relationship between themselves and their new QB, and for Fantasy players to see if the positive sample size grows larger. For now, there is certain Fantasy QB1 potential for Jones, but that has to be earned over time.

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