Fantasy Football: Can Jared Goff Repeat as a QB1?

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Jared Goff‘s short career in the NFL has been a roller coaster of highs and lows.  Goff was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to be the franchise QB for the first team to call Los Angeles “home” in decades.  Then he admitted he doesn’t know East from West on television and posted a 0-7 record as a starter in Jeff Fisher‘s system.  Finally, in his sophomore season, under new head coach Sean McVay, Goff led the highest scoring offense in the league and finished as the 10th best QB in fantasy football, despite only playing 15 games.

So which Jared Goff can owners expect in 2018?  The number one overall pick in the draft and leader of the best offense in the league, or an inefficient bust?  Let’s take a deeper look.

Find out where Andy, Mike, and Jason have Jared Goff projected for 2018 in the Ultimate Draft Kit.

2016 Season

In the now infamous Jeff Fisher era, Jared Goff and the Rams struggled mightily.  With Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin and Lance Kendricks headlining the pass-catching group, Goff wasn’t exactly set up for success.  He was also forced to split reps with veteran QB, Case Keenum, in camp.  As you may expect, the results weren’t good.

Starts Passing Yards TDs INTs Comp % Passer Rating Fantasy Rank
2016 7 1,089 5 7 54.6% 63.6 QB #38

A disastrous rookie season had many pundits ready to label Goff as a bust and just another symptom of a dysfunctional team.  That is until year two happened.

2017 Season

For his second season, the Rams completely overhauled their offense.  With Jared Goff as the unquestioned starter in the offseason, the Rams surrounded him with all new weapons.  Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins and Gerald Everett represented a marked improvement over his options in 2016.  Goff responded.

Starts Passing Yards TDs INTs Comp % Passer Rating Fantasy Rank
2017 15 3,804 28 7 62.1% 100.5 QB #10

Not only did the offense take a huge leap forward (from last to first in the league in scoring), Goff looked like one of the best in the league in terms of efficiency.  He had the 4th highest TD% in the league at 5.9%.  His INT% of 1.5 was only bested by Alex Smith, Tom Brady, and Tyrod Taylor.  His yards per attempt were second in the league to only Drew Brees.  His success showed in the team’s record as well.  From 0-7 as a starter in his rookie year, Goff’s record as a starter in year two jumped to 11-4 and included a division championship and a trip to the playoffs.

His improvement from year one to year two was so impressive, it was borderline incredible.  Leading many to wonder, “Who is the real Jared Goff?  The bust from 2016, or the efficiency wizard in 2017?”

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2018 Projection

It seems counter-intuitive, but the biggest concern for Goff in 2018 is that his 2017 production was too efficient.  If he regresses from his scoring rate in 2017, the results could be catastrophic for fantasy owners who are currently drafting him to be the QB10 again in 2018 (FantasyFootballCalculator.com).

Goff filled the stat sheets last year on relatively few opportunities.  He was the 9th best QB in terms of fantasy points per game and yet the Rams attempted the 9th fewest passes in the league.  Additionally, a huge portion of Goff’s fantasy production came in the red zone.  Despite having one of the best RBs in the league in Todd Gurley, Goff threw 23 of his 28 touchdowns in the red zone while attempting the 4th most passes in the league inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Rather than seeing his red-zone volume and efficiency as an area of likely regression, I think this indicates the scheme that Sean McVay wants to run.  They brought in Brandin Cooks to fill the void left by Sammy Watkins which shows their intent to continue their use of 3WR sets.  They can force defenses to respect Gurley in the run game and still spread them out and take advantage through the air, with passes to Gurley himself or their impressive group of WRs.

The efficiency numbers could decrease in 2018, but that shouldn’t hurt Goff’s chances of repeating as a QB1 in fantasy football so long as the volume increases.  This is a team that ranked 20th in the league in offensive plays and was one of the more balanced in the league in terms of run-to-pass ratio.  I think that another year in the league, and in McVay’s offensive system, will afford Goff more freedom and confidence to take command of this offense.  With the cost of a back-end QB1, Goff could return close to 4,000 yards and another 25-30 TDs.  He should be a target for any owner who is going to wait until the mid-to-late rounds to select their QB.