Fantasy Football Impact: Jimmy Garoppolo Headed to San Francisco

Jimmy Garoppolo is the newly anointed starter for the San Francisco 49ers. What does that mean in fantasy leagues?
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Jimmy Garoppolo is finally getting his chance. After four years as Tom Brady’s understudy, the NFL’s most-rumored trade piece is finally on the move. In a deal first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Garoppolo is headed to the 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick.

Fantasy owners need to keep their expectations in check. We’ve been hearing about Garoppolo’s supposed ability to be a franchise quarterback for years, and there’s a tendency to believe that anything the Patriots touch turns to gold. Still, he has attempted 94 passes in his entire career. He started two games in 2016 while Brady was suspended, throwing for 496 yards, 8.41 yards per attempt and four touchdowns against zero interceptions. In other words, he has looked good in limited duty, but “limited duty” is the operative phrase there. Garoppolo is still just a theory at this point of his career. He’s admittedly an exciting theory with plenty of potential, but we don’t have much to judge him on at this point.

As such, think of Garoppolo as a streamer. He’s not someone you should be making a priority on the waiver wire this week, unless you regularly start Brady or Philip Rivers, who will be on bye in Week 9. If that’s your case, or if you have a low-value quarterback in a bad matchup this week, Garoppolo can provide some short-term value. He’ll get a Cardinals defense that is ranked 25th against quarterbacks in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric in his 49ers debut.

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Garoppolo’s teammates will feel the greatest impact of the trade, especially in the fantasy world. The 49ers scored 20 points and gained 528 yards of offense in two games with C.J. Beathard as the starter. Pierre Garcon’s fantasy value was on life support. In two games with Beathard at the helm, Garcon had seven catches for 66 yards. Carlos Hyde ran for 93 yards on 26 carries, which comes out to 3.58 yards per carry. Their value instantly gets a breath of fresh air. At the very least, Garoppolo supports a much higher floor, and is a better bet to get Garcon and Hyde to their draft-day values. At the most, he’s the franchise quarterback who has been promised, and pushes the two primary weapons in his new offense up a level.

Fringe fantasy players like Marquise Goodwin, George Kittle and Aldrick Robinson remain fringe fantasy players, but there’s more reason to believe in them as spot starters over the next two weeks, with a total of 10 teams going on bye. The 49ers have a bye in Week 11.