Jimmy Garoppolo just took the 49ers to a Super Bowl. He was a prized acquisition in a trade with the Patriots just a few seasons ago. He has a 21-5 record as an NFL starter.
Yet, when addressed by the fantasy community, he elicits little more than a dismissive shrug. And there is a good reason.
In his first full season as a starter, last year with the 49ers, he ranked 14th among fantasy quarterbacks. That makes him a backup or streaming option, not a magnet for fantasy rosters.
So why would anyone consider using him in Week 1 this year, especially in daily formats — or even on seasonal teams weak at QB?
As with anything DFS related, cost is big factor. And Jimmy G’s $5,800 price tag at DraftKings is quite attractive — putting him in same pricing tier with Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Gardner Minshew, Joe Burrow, Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor. Heck, he is just $300 more than Jameis Winston, who is a real-life backup.
This price puts Garoppolo in play. So does his opponent, the Cardinals. Arizona gave up more points to fantasy QBs than any team in the league last season. More significant, in two games against the Cardinals last season, Jimmy G totaled 741 passing yards and eight touchdowns. In two games!
So we like the matchup, and the cheap cost allows us to spend on others we like in Week 1.
Christian McCaffrey is the most expensive option in the entire pool of players, $10,000. But the sheer volume of work he is expected to get, even in a new offense after a scuttled offseason, is impossible to ignore.
We also like his counterpart, Raiders RB Josh Jacobs ($6,800). The Panthers were the most generous defense for RBs last year, and they have lost their best defensive player in Luke Kuechly.
We want someone to stack with Garoppolo, and with Deebo Samuel likely out, we opt for the affordable Dante Pettis ($3,700). We would rather George Kittle, but his $7,200 price is too much when we like some cheaper tight ends. We settle on the Lions’ T.J. Hockenson ($4,200).
We want exposure to the Buccaneers-Saints game, so we spend up for the Bucs’ Chris Godwin ($7,100) and go cheaper on the Saints side with Emmanuel Sanders ($5,700).
After plugging in a cheap defense, the Dolphins ($2,000), we have just $4,700 left under the salary cap. We create some uniqueness by putting a tight end in our flex spot, using Miami’s Mike Gesicki ($4,500).
That’s how we think we can win with Jimmy G as our fantasy QB. Even those in seasonal leagues, we would prefer him to other options like Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, Mayfield, etc. It’s OK to Jimmy-rig your roster in Week 1.