Spotlight: David Garrard

posted by on Aug 3rd


's thoughts

The "rotten egg" face. The "hold your nose" selection. The "I like my team but I wish I could have that pick over" line. Happens every year in every league in every state. There will be a handful of players that prompt trash talking from league mates ("You know you could have gotten him on the waiver wire after we're done here") and internal heartburn ("Why did I just do that...?"). One such player this season is David Garrard, quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Come to think of it, Garrard has held this distinction for the last three seasons. No matter what Garrard does on Sundays, fantasy owners seem universally hesitant to want to count on him as even their bye week quarterback.

Is this concern justified? Well, it depends on your perspective. On the one hand, Garrard is one of only eight quarterbacks to post a Top 16 finish in each of the last three years (and one of those eight, Kurt Warner, is retired). Unfortunately, his best finish is 11th so while he is consistent, he is consistently average. But Garrard has been throwing the ball to a mish-mash of has-beens and never-weres in between handoffs to Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew for most of his career. The Jaguars now have receivers on the team in Mike Simms-Walker and Jarret Dillard that should allow Garrard to find more success as a passer in 2010. And while Garrard will never be mistaken for a great deep-passer, his career 61% completion percentage is certainly good enough to produce quality passing numbers.

Furthermore, part of the appeal with Garrard is that he scores enough points with his feet to be a viable fantasy option despite being a truly average passer. His career 6.9 yards-per-attempt is nothing to write home about, but his 200-300 yards rushing and 2 or 3 rushing touchdowns add value for him as a fantasy performer.

Unfortunately for those that watch the games, Garrard's stat line is typically ugly. Consider that in 2007 he threw just 3 interceptions (good news!) but only 2509 yards (bad news). In 2008, he had a poor 15/13 touchdown to interception ratio (yuck) but his 322 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns added 44 more fantasy points to his bottom line (woo hoo). And last year, he was absolutely, completely average with a 60% completion rate, a 3:2 touchdown to interception ratio, and 7 yards per attempt.

Positives

  • The emergence of Mike Simms-Walker finally gives Garrard a quality receiver to pass to.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew keeps the defense honest, allowing Garrard to pass in to single-coverage quite often.
  • Garrard's scrambling and occasional rushing touchdown add points that enhance his value.

Negatives

  • At 32 years old, Garrard has likely played his best football already.
  • Rumors abound that Garrard is on thin-ice as the starter for Jacksonville.
  • The Jaguars will be a running team first and foremost and aren't likely to pass any more then they absolutely have to.

Final thoughts

With this all in mind, it is pretty clear that Garrard's brand of unimpressive football still translates in to being a strong QB2 in most formats. And when his usually low Average Draft Position is factored in, Garrard has historically represented tremendous value at the quarterback position. This year should be no different. While some worry that he may lose his job as Jack Del Rio fights to keep his, the Jaguars only other viable option at quarterback is Luke McCown, a journeyman who has been decidedly below average during his time in the NFL. Garrard is being selected as QB24 at present, sometime after the 14th round begins.

True, David Garrard isn't likely to break in to the top-ten among quarterbacks this year. But he's also not likely to perform worse than his current average draft position of QB24. While a player with more upside is inarguably more exciting, if the goal in fantasy football is to maximize value on draft day, then David Garrard should be high on your quarterback watch list. Would Garrard be a good fit in a QBBC? Probably not, even in the shootout heavy AFC South. But Garrard would be an ideal backup for a team that has selected a top rated quarterback early (Rodgers, Brees, Manning, Brady) and needs to use rounds 8-12 to add quality depth instead of a second quarterback.


Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

Iwannabeacowboybaby! said:

I think we all know what we get with Garrard and that's a solid QB who will put up OK numbers for most likely 16 games. The problem I have with Garrard is if you win a fantasy championship with him, it will most likely not be because of him but despite him. He's not the guy who's going to lead you to the promise land. He's a solid backup or spot starter but when you draft Garrard in your fantasy draft or insert him as your starter, you're not going to scare too many owners away.

rzrback77 said:

As the NFL turns to more and more passing, the lure of drafting a top flight QB grows stronger. If you determine to wait on a QB, at least consider David Garrard in 2010. He was the FBG sleeper pick a year ago and although he performed adequately, it seemed that there was a constant uproar at how poorly he played. Looking ahead to this year, Garrard has a current ADP of QB#23 and 172 overall. That is pretty low considering that he has finished as QB16, QB11, and QB14 in the three most recent seasons.

He also has a rather young receiving corps that should improve this season. Mike Sims-Walker is in his third season and showed a lot of improvement a year ago. Mike Thomas enters his second season and he performed well as a rookie with 48 catches in 14 games, including 13 in the last two games of the year. The Jags also have a very good receiver out of the backfield and a promising young TE.


David Garrard projections

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