It’s never too early to talk fantasy football. In this series ‘fantasy football outlook’, we will examine the stock of the top rookies drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft while diagnosing their respective roles with their new teams.
“With the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select, Jared Goff, Quarterback, California”
Those were the words muttered by commissioner Roger Goodell to kick off the NFL Draft back in April. The Rams sent a kings ransom over to Tennessee in order to move atop the draft. The common sports fan would think the top overall pick in the draft would be a safe bet in the fantasy scene, right? That’s not quite what it would indicate for fantasy football players.
Even though the Rams are willing to let Goff start from day one, I don’t consider him a starting caliber QB in fantasy – not quite yet, at least. Throughout the year he’s going to be compared to guys like Jameis Winston (4,042 passing yards, 28 total TDs) and Marcus Mariota (2,818 passing yards, 21 total TDs) who ranked 14 and 22 respectively last year among QBs. It would be bold to say Goff can match the production of Winston during his rookie campaign.
Overall, I’d rank Goff in the 20-26 range among fantasy QBs, but he brings a high ceiling. He’s surely going to get his fair share of pass attempts, but the Rams will lean on the running game most of the season. On the flipside, Gurley and the ground game will open up opportunities through the air.
Looking at his complete supporting cast, Goff lacks that true #1 weapon in the receiving corps. Kenny Britt is solid, but not the type of guy a young QB like Goff can lean on. Tavon Austin is a good weapon, but his production comes in spurts. Guys like Quick and rookie Pharoh Cooper add good depth. Rookie QBs tend to lean on the tight end as they often serve as the security blanket. However, Lance Kendricks isn’t the best receiving threat. Goff is known for his pinpoint accuracy which will surely come in handy in this offensive scheme.
Goff will have the luxury of playing behind the offensive line that allowed a league-low 18 sacks last season, something most rookies don’t get the privilege of doing. This will give him plenty of time in the pocket to diagnose the defense and make sound decisions and throws. It will do leaps and bounds for his progression.
While Goff is in a pretty good situation, the facts are that he’s still a rookie and lacks a pure #1 threat in the offense. I do believe that he has a bright future ahead of him, but I don’t see the production taking off from the start. I’ll project roughly 3,000 passing yards with around 15 passing TDs and double-digit interceptions. His upside warrants a late round pick, but don’t expect him to be your every week starter. In dynasty leagues, he’s definitely worth a look early on.