Daniel Jones was taken by the New York Giants with the sixth pick in the 2019 draft. It was a controversial pick at the time, but it was clear the Giants viewed Jones as the future. He headed in 2019 with Eli Manning in place, as Manning started the season. It didn’t take long for Jones to get the starting job.
In his rookie year, Jones started 12 games, going 3-9 in those starts. But he looked decent as a quarterback, passing for 3,027 yards, 24 TDs, and 12 INTs, completing 61.9 percent of his passes. Following the season, Manning retired, and it officially became Jones’ team in New York. That set up decent expectations for 2020 after Jones finished as QB23 as a rookie.
But 2020 was both a success and a setback for Jones. The Giants, though finishing 6-10, competed for the Division Title until the last week of the season. This was despite losing Saquon Barkley to injury in Week 2. But Jones, who played in 14 games, completed 62.5 percent of his passes, throwing for just 2,943 yards, 11 TDs, and 10 INTs. He finished as QB24, thanks in large part to rushing for 423 yards and a TD.
That sets up a crucial third year for Jones as he tries to prove he can be the Giants’ franchise quarterback. This off-season, he’s been surrounded by new weapons, and the question is, what can he do with them?
The Giants added free-agent receivers Kenny Golladay and John Ross, free-agent tight end Kyle Rudolph, and spent a first-round draft pick on receiver Kadarius Toney. The biggest of those is Golladay, a prized free agent who signed a big contract with the Giants. Golladay struggled to stay on the field in 2020, limiting him to 20 receptions for 338 yards and two TDs in five games. But he’s been a beast in the past. In 2019, Golladay saw 116 targets, catching 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 13 TDs. That was good enough to be WR9. The hope for the Giants is he can return to that form and give Jones the best weapon he’s had since coming into the league.
Another big weapon is the rookie Toney, who had a fantastic 2020 for the Florida Gators. He played in 11 games, catching 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 TDs. He also carried 19 times for 161 yards and a TD. That versatility figures to give the Giants offense a boost, which is why the team drafted him with the No. 20 pick in the first round.
Golladay and Toney, along with the burner Ross, team with their top receivers on the team already; Sterling Shepherd and Darius Slayton. Veteran tight end Rudolph will pair with Evan Engram, the starting tight end of the past few seasons. The Giants have to hope that Golladay’s arrival can open more opportunities for Slayton, who showed good chemistry with Jones in 2019. Slayton saw eight touchdowns as a rookie and just three in 2020. The diverse set of pass catches gives Jones more weapons and should allow more creativity on offense for Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett.
A Healthy Saquon
But perhaps the biggest boost to Jones, and the Giants in general, would be seeing Barkley put in a full season and return to form. In 2020, Barkley saw just 19 carries for 34 yards and caught just six passes for 60 yards. In 2019, Jones’ rookie year, Barkley carried 217 times for 1,003 yards and six TDs in 13 games marred by injuries. He also caught 52 passes for 438 yards and two TDs. That was good enough to finish as RB10.
But that’s just scratching the surface of Barkley’s potential. As a rookie in 16 games, Barkley saw 261 carries for 1,307 yards and 11 TDs. He added 91 receptions for 721 yards and four more TDs. That was good enough to be RB1 for the season. While Barkley might not finish as RB1, a healthier season could provide Jones with a running game other teams would have to respect and another weapon in the passing game.
The Bottom Line
Jones is an interesting case in dynasty. He has potential and promise, but he hasn’t finished better than QB23 either season. If he struggles in 2021, or the Giants struggle, there is also the potential he’s out of a job. Currently, he’s going at an ADP of QB27, in QB3 range. Given the weapons around him and the potential, that could be a value. If Jones finished as QB15-18, that would be a nice return on investment, and he’d become a cheap option for Superflex teams looking for a starter.
But it’s a gamble. Personally, I’m not ready to give up on Jones. He has a good set of weapons and a great chance to have a good season. I’m not a big believer in the Giants as a playoff contender, but I could see Jones having a bounce-back season and finishing as a mid-to-low QB2. Given his draft price, it’s worth the gamble to me, especially since the team doesn’t have anyone substantial behind Jones on the depth chart.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus 2 Canton network.