QB Sam Darnold - New York Jets
|6-4, 225||Born: 6-5-1997||College: Southern California||Drafted: Round 1, pick|
News you need to know
From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Dec 10): Darnold got off to a slow start, got banged up, and wasn't a fantasy force, but he warmed up as the game went on and ended up doing enough for his team to win on the road. He'll face a vulnerable Texans secondary on Saturday.
General News (Thu Dec 13): practiced fully on Thursday and is not on the team's injury report. He will be available to play this week.
General News (Wed Dec 12): practiced fully on Wednesday.
General News (Tue Dec 11): practiced fully on Tuesday.
General News (Mon Dec 10): does not appear to be in any danger of missing the Week 15 game even though he suffered a foot injury during the last game, according to head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles said Darnold's latest foot injury is not related to the foot injury he suffered earlier in the season.
Week 15: vs Houston Texans
FBG says: Neutral matchup. Sam Darnold made his return to the Jets lineup last week and had one of his more efficient games of the season, completing 16 of 24 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. Darnold reinjured his foot on the opening drive but missed only one series. Darnold's season has had its ups and downs, which should be expected with a rookie quarterback but the problem as of late has been his penchant for committing turnovers. Darnold threw seven interceptions in his first six starts but has now thrown eight interceptions in his last four starts, including games of three and four interceptions. The way the Jets offense is predicated, the coaching staff could live with some turnovers if Darnold was also creating big plays down the field, but that has not happened either. Darnold has been held under 200 yards passing in six of his ten starts and has eclipsed 230 yards passing only twice. It cannot all be blamed on Darnold though, as the Jets receivers have been inconsistent at best this season. After a breakout season in 2017, Robbie Anderson has only two games of 75+ yards receiving and has yet to catch five passes in a game this year. He did catch four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown last week, but he will have his work cut out for him against a talented Houston secondary that will be motivated after getting dusted last week against the Colts. This is a passing offense you want to stay away from every week, and this matchup against Houston is no different. The Texans pass defense started off the season playing very well, but they have faded as of late. The Texans rank 24th in passing yards allowed (260.6) but over the last three weeks, they are the worst team in the league in this department, allowing an inexcusable 347.7 yards per game. That is 28 more yards than the penultimate team, and last week's divisional loss to the Colts can be directly attributed to the Texans secondary breaking down in the second half. TY Hilton, with an injured foot, torched the Houston secondary for 105 yards on five catches in the final two quarters, finishing with 199 yards on nine catches. It should also be noted that Hilton was battling a shoulder injury coming into this game and barely practiced during the week. There is really no excuse for the breakdown, as the Texans have a talented duo at cornerback in Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, with Justin Reid and Tyrann Mathieu at safety. It does get better for the Texans though, as they face off against a Jets passing offense that ranks 30th in the league, averaging only 190.7 yards per game. The Jets offense will have their work cut out for them as their top three running backs are injured, and without some sort of running game, the Texans are going to eat them alive with aggressive blitzing.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs QB 1, QB 12, QB 24
Sam Darnold's percentile rank in each category, among QB with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2018 Week 14 vs BUF (16 / 24 / 170 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / 10 / 0 rush)
In his first action since Week 9, the rookie looked better as the game went on, his day culminating in a very nice nine play, 61 drive to put his team ahead for good near the end of the fourth quarter. Doing that in the cold, on the road was the most impressive part of the drive, but it's worth noting that it was the rare time when head coach Todd Bowles took a chance and went on fourth down to win, versus just playing to tie. That gave Darnold the opportunity to win a game, even if the play to do it was a handoff to Elijah McGuire. Darnold was 3-of-5 passing on that drive, including a dime to Robby Anderson down the sideline to put the Jets on the Bills' front doorstep. On that play, Anderson was pretty well covered by the corner, but managed to give himself enough room along the sideline for Darnold to throw. The quarterback fired off a perfect pass, over his receiver's outside shoulder where the corner couldn't make a play, and Anderson did a nice job of getting both feet in for a 37-yard gain. Another impressive effort resulting in an Anderson catch was on an earlier drive to tie the game at 20. On the play, a 3rd-and-5 in the fourth quarter, the Jets were on the Bills 7- yard line. Darnold dropped back to pass but found nobody open and was flushed out of the pocket by defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Darnold moved to his right, evaded a diving Williams, and then with several Buffalo defenders nipping at his heels, cut left and ran upfield. During this, Darnold did an excellent job of keeping his eyes downfield and scanning for an outlet. He eventually found one in Anderson along the middle of the end zone and delivered a perfect pass for the score. Darnold looked a tad rusty to start the game, but came alive in the fourth quarter and overall showed some of the skills which had Jets fans excited early in the season, despite the usual conservative playcalling for much of the game. What's more, he did it against what has been considered one of the best pass defenses in the NFL this season.
2018 Week 9 vs MIA (21 / 39 / 229 / 0 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
There is a lot to unpack here, but the bottom line is this was a debacle for Darnold. The rookie looked every bit a lost soul in the backfield, made some horrendous decisions and looked as though he had completely forgotten how to throw the ball. Darnold's mechanics were terrible on Sunday, and that plus some truly horrible decisions added up to a day he will likely try to wipe from memory. As bad as Darnold was, the play of center Spencer Long was worse. Long, who supposedly re-injured a dislocated middle finger during the game, was a disastrous blight on the offense, with snaps going high, low, to the side and everywhere but to Darnold. What was truly baffling was the coaching staff's refusal to pull Long until late in the game, even though his antics were clearly making Darnold's already no-good, very bad day even worse. Darnold was also the victim of multiple drops and Jermaine Kearse who set up to catch a ball with his feet out of bounds. Darnold looks as though he has regressed, with a lack of ability to read defenses and a proclivity to force the ball where it shouldn't go resulting in four interceptions. While the Jets hope this is a low-water mark, if they don't make some changes around Darnold and how they handle him, this could be the start of a downward slide.
2018 Week 8 vs CHI (14 / 29 / 153 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / 22 / 0 rush)
It's really hard to completely judge Sam Darnold with the supporting cast around him right now. His best receiver is Jermaine Kearse, who disappeared in the second half of the game and was hurt during the course of it, and Deontay Burnett, Darnold's old college teammate. That lack of weapons robs Darnold of reliable players who can hang on to the ball, and also gave the coaching staff an excuse to not test the Bears deep. Mediocre receivers who can't get open forces Darnold to scramble and hope that he can outlast the pass rush so a receiver gets open, which is no way to run the offense. A lack of run game hurts as well, and the Jets were third-and-long time after time on nearly every drive. That is not to absolve Darnold of mistakes, and even on his one scoring drive, Darnold nearly got picked off. At the end of the day, though, Darnold played fine, showing good decision-making, throwing no picks and not getting stripped of the ball. Against a tough Bears defense, that's not bad.
2018 Week 7 vs MIN (17 / 42 / 206 / 1 / 3 pass, 6 / 18 / 1 rush)
Being brutally honest, this was an awful game from Sam Darnold. Yes, he had some nice moments, but for the most part his throws were off target and he made numerous bad decisions which led to turnovers or missed opportunities. These things will happen with rookie quarterbacks. It's worth pointing out that he was working with mostly special teams and practice squad players at wide receiver and that there were times where those guys just weren't where they were supposed to be. His three interceptions showed both sides of the coin. Darnold's fourth quarter interception by the Vikings Trae Waynes came off a perfectly thrown pass that bounced off the hands of Charone Peake. Backup Holton Hill picked Darnold off just before Waynes did on a ball which wasn't well thrown by any means, but certainly appeared as if receiver Andre Roberts wasn't where Darnold thought he would be. The first interception, in the third quarter was a Harrison Smith pick off a tipped ball by Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes. Darnold should have seen Rhodes had Robby Anderson well covered, and either adjusted his throw to go deeper towards the sideline or simply gone another way. He locked onto Anderson early though, and never adjusted. The best case scenario was an incompletion, but Darnold ended up with the worst case scenario instead. Darnold also suffered through numerous bad drops by his receivers on what could have been some significant gains. On one play, Darnold dodges a pass rusher on 3rd and 12, moved to his right and hit a wide-open Eric Tomlinson with only one defender between him and the end zone. Tomlinson dropped the pass. The good parts are still there for Darnold, and while he had a lot of self-inflicted wounds, he also needs more help from his supporting cast.
2018 Week 6 vs IND (24 / 30 / 280 / 2 / 1 pass, 6 / 8 / 0 rush)
In what was far and away his best outing, rookie Sam Darnold 80 percent of his passes for an average of 11.6 yards per completion, both season highs. After a brutal early interception where Darnold stared down his receiver and threw off his back foot, the former USC quarterback had a nearly flawless day. Darnold made a lot of plays with his feet, buying time outside the pocket and patiently waiting for a receiver to get open, looking to throw rather than run. He also threw some pinpoint accurate passes, like his first touchdown pass late in the second quarter, a 7-yard throw to Terrelle Pryor. On the play, Pryor ran a short route into the end zone and turned around. He was bracketed by a pair of defenders, but Darnold didn't hesitate, fitting the ball between them and right to Pryor. Another promising improvement for Darnold is his improved accuracy on easy throws. Early on this season there were times when Darnold would miss an open target but the last two weeks he has made the easy throws as well as the tough ones. His toss to tight end Chris Herndon in the third quarter, a 32-yard catch and run off a nice play-action fake, was a simple throw to a wide-open target and Darnold made it look as easy as it was.
2018 Week 5 vs DEN (10 / 22 / 198 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
The Jets rookie quarterback had what was easily his best day against a Denver Broncos defense which struggled in the secondary and couldn't get past an inspired line save for one sack and a total of three quarterback hits. Darnold also benefited from a great run game, which made sure the defense couldn't afford to focus on just making Darnold a tackling dummy. Darnold's yards per completion jumped up to 19.8, helped by three touchdown passes 20-yards or longer. The first was a 76-yard score by Robby Anderson, which Darnold dropped perfectly in front of the receiver, who didn't have to break stride on his way to the end zone. The second was an absolute dime to Anderson again for a 35-yard score, which Darnold threw over a defender and in perfect placement for the well-covered receiver in the end zone. The final one, a 20-yard pass to Terrelle Pryor, was a little long but Pryor bailed Darnold out a bit with a dynamic one-handed grab. While Darnold's completion percentage is still slumping, his overall ball placement and throws, especially once he got going, showed improvement, and while one game does not a career make, this was a step in the right direction.
2018 Week 4 vs JAX (17 / 34 / 167 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
To the surprise of no one who has watched the Jaguars defense this year, the Jets rookie's struggles continued this weekend. While his footwork looked good and his short accuracy was once again solid, he struggled on deeper balls and in the second half he tried to thread the needle a few too many times, taking chances which he was lucky didn't turn out disastrous. It could be he's starting to feel pressure to carry the offense, and so he's making some desperate -- but unwise -- passes. That's a concern though, because he missed a few throws high and had an interception on a throw he sailed over Bilal Powell's head called back due to a defensive holding. That was one of three throws in the second half that should have been interceptions, the other two being drops by Jacksonville. He did make a great throw to Jermaine Kearse on a third-and-nine in the third quarter which set the Jets up on a first and goal. On the play Kearse was covered but there was just enough room along the sideline for Darnold to fit the ball in. Kearse then did a great job of keeping his feet in bounds for the catch. Still, the high and wide throws were a concern, and he even managed to miss Quincy Enunwa on a key fourth-and-one late in the first half. While the drive still might not have resulted in a touchdown, it would have extended the drive, salvaged some momentum while the game was 13-0 and kept the Jaguars from scoring quickly in the other direction to make it 16-0. Darnold is a rookie and we are seeing rookie mistakes and growing pains, along with the result of bad offensive line play and a super-conservative game plan as well.
2018 Week 3 vs CLE (15 / 31 / 169 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Much like the rest of the New York Jets, Sam Darnold played two very different halves of football. While not Hall of Fame worthy, his first half was relatively mistake free. The Jets did much of their damage on the ground, but Darnold kept the Browns defense honest. In the second half, Darnold largely fell apart. While one of his two interceptions -- the one which clinched the Browns win -- might have been prevented by Robby Anderson doing more to disrupt the pass, it was still underthrown. His second interception was all on him, however. Darnold rushed the play to avoid a review of the previous first down, and the Browns brought heavy pressure. Darnold failed to see two important things. First, he had a receiver open for a short gain (the only type the Jets seem willing to design for - more on that shortly) and the fact that Jermaine Kearse was bracketed in coverage. Darnold was forced to hold the ball an extra second due to his guard being driven back into his face, but seemed to throw blindly. The Jets have refused to take the training wheels off of Darnold, and the impact is a stale, predictable offense. While Darnold's mistakes hurt the Jets, he will never grow past them if OC Jeremy doesn't let him loose a little. Baker Mayfield came in cold and took chances, and it worked out. At some point the Jets should give Darnold the same chance, but it's hard to see when that will be.
2018 Week 2 vs MIA (25 / 41 / 334 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
While Sam Darnold had a rough overall game, where he at times looked like the rookie he is, he still showed a lot of ability and toughness. Probably his worst throw came early, when he was baited by TJ McDonald and passed the ball right at the veteran. McDonald appeared to be shading to the middle of the field, but once he saw Darnold look away, he stepped into the passing lane and cut off a pass aimed for the slanting Quincy Enunwa. As is Darnold's habit though, he rebounded and played well most of the rest of the game. He did throw a second interception, but that one very much appeared to be the fault of his receiver Terrelle Pryor. Darnold was looking for Pryor on a slant but the receiver either didn't fully commit to the route or got so caught up in handfighting that he lost track of the ball. The pass was where it should have been, but Pryor wasn't. Darnold did find running back Bilal Powell on a nice intermediate route down the middle which Powell took for a score. Overall, Darnold made mostly good decisions and continues to show some improvement. He didn't get much help from his receivers, who several times dropped wide open passes, but once that stops happening, his production should go up.
2018 Week 1 vs DET (16 / 21 / 198 / 2 / 1 pass, 6 / -1 / 0 rush)
Things couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the rookie quarterback Monday night, as his very first throw was picked off and returned for a touchdown. It was a questionable play call which saw Darnold rolling out to his right and then throwing across both his body and the entire field into what should have been an obvious safety. The Jets did a poor job of setting their quarterback up for success on that first play, and Darnold did a poor job of recognizing the play was going poorly and adjusting. In some ways, though, it seemed to take the pressure off Darnold, who came back and played, if not flawlessly, well enough for both the Jets and their fans to be happy. Darnold showed a lot of his good aspects -- resiliency, mobility, an ability to read defenses and adjust -- throughout the game. He also showed some flaws, whether it was underthrowing receivers or missing open routes. His 41-yard touchdown throw to Robby Anderson showed both the bad and the good. On the plus side, he correctly baited the safety into stepping forward, costing the player time, which allowed Anderson to gain a few steps on him as the receiver ran his route downfield. On the negative side, the ball was underthrown, and required Anderson to leap up and fight the defender for the ball. The good far outweighed the bad for Darnold though, and he showed tremendous poise and tenacity in overcoming early miscues to execute the offense.
Latest NewsJets | Sam Darnold not on injury report (Thu Dec 13, 05:55 PM) - New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 13, and is not on the injury report for Week 15. link to story Jets | Sam Darnold has full practice (Wed Dec 12, 02:33 PM) - New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) was a full practice participant Wednesday, Dec. 12. Our View: Darnold's foot injury bothered him a bit last week but a full practice on Wednesday means he's good to go in Week 15. The Jets are at home against the Texans on Saturday.
link to story Jets | Full practice for Sam Darnold (Tue Dec 11, 07:20 PM) - New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. Our View: A good sign for Darnold's availability on Saturday against the Texans. Fantasy GMs are not starting him but the rookie will continue to get valuable experience as the Jets starter.
link to story Jets | Sam Darnold has good chance to play (Mon Dec 10, 05:39 PM) - New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) does not appear to be in any danger of missing the Week 15 game even though he suffered a foot injury during the last game, according to head coach Todd Bowles. Our View: Darnold was banged up again on Sunday but was able to finish the game. Bowles said Darnold's latest foot injury is not related to the foot injury he suffered earlier in the season.
link to story Jets | Sam Darnold throws for 170 yards (Sun Dec 9, 05:22 PM) - New York Jets QB Sam Darnold went 16-for-24 for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Buffalo Bills in Week 14. link to story More News
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