The Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan hype train has officially left the station, and there is no stopping it.
Fortunately for shrewd dynasty owners, whenever there is hype in fantasy football, there is an opportunity to be exploited. Hype means that people will overpay, and where people are overpaying in one place, there is value to be had in another. In the latest DFF ADP, Jimmy GQ is being drafted as the QB5 overall with an ADP of 49, and he’s only had 7 NFL starts!
The people may love Jimmy, but his teammates aren’t feeling the same love. Here’s where the 49ers main weapons are being drafted right now:
Pierre Garçon – 112th overall and WR50
Marquise Goodwin – 78th overall and WR37
George Kittle – 101st overall and TE11
Jerick McKinnon – 64th overall and RB20
Garçon is the best pass catcher on that list, and he’s also the cheapest, which means he is a perfect veteran value candidate.
Garçon has a history with Kyle Shanahan, who was his OC in Washington for the 2012 and 2013 NFL seasons. Garçon played a total of 26 games over that stretch, where he saw a total of 250 targets for 158 catches, racking up nearly 2000 yards and 9 touchdowns. In 2013 he finished as the WR11.
They were reunited prior to the 2017 season when Garçon signed a huge deal (considering he was 30 years old). Per Spotrac, the 5-year deal was for $47.5million, with $12million as a signing bonus and $20million guaranteed. For the 49ers to get out of the deal in 2019 when Garçon will be 32 would cost $7.2million in dead cap, so they don’t seem too worried about him getting older either.
Actions speak louder than words, and this contract speaks volumes about how the 49ers and Shanahan view Garçon.
Shanahan has a history of producing fantasy relevant players. Courtesy of FF Statistics (shout out to Addison Hayes @amazehayes_) we can see Shanahan’s entire coaching history and the fantasy finishes for his skill position players:
In 6 out of his 9 seasons as an O.C., Shanahan has produced a top 12 WR. Whilst he is the Head Coach in San Francisco, he is also doubling up as the OC and calling the plays. If Garçon can stay healthy, he will have every opportunity to be a valuable WR asset based on the volume we have come to expect him to see, as well as the typical production out of a Shanahan WR1.
Garçon has averaged 99 targets per season over his career, but when you remove seasons in which he didn’t play at least 15 games, that average jumps to 123. His single-season career high in targets is 182 when his OC was, you guessed it – Kyle Shanahan.
Garçon’s debut season in San Francisco was cut short after 8 games, but he still managed 500 yards receiving and 40 catches whilst being targeted over 8 times a game. That averages out to 180 PPR points (WR25) over a full season – without factoring in touchdowns. Now those numbers may not seem that impressive, but that was before the 49ers traded for the most handsome man in football…
The Italian stallion was traded from the Patriots for a 2nd round pick after week 8 of the 2017 season but didn’t make his first start until week 13. It was a case of delayed gratification for 49ers fans as Jimmy threw for 1,560 yards and 7 touchdowns in 5 starts, on his way to seeing out the rest of the season undefeated.
Using airyards.com we can see that Garoppolo has an above average completion percentage, especially on short to intermediate throws. You would expect him to get better this season with the benefit of a full offseason to immerse himself in Shanahan’s renowned complex offense.
Due to his neck injury, Garçon was not a beneficiary of the Jimmy G effect, but it is clear that when they take the field together, he is going to see a much higher quality of target. You don’t need a fancy chart to tell you that Jimmy G is a better QB than C.J. Beathard or Brian Hoyer, but Josh Hermsmeyer’s fancy charts show you that the results are pretty ugly…
We know Garçon is a veteran but is he a value? Based on his production profile, history with Shanahan, and improved QB play, I believe that he can comfortably finish as a top 24 PPR WR. His current ADP of 112 does not reflect that upside, and he is being drafted behind the likes of Kelvin Benjamin, Corey Coleman, Jordan Reed, and teammate George Kittle. I would prefer to have Garçon over all of those players, especially on a middle of the pack or competing roster.
Go out and buy Garçon, and secure a piece of what is expected to be one of the most handsome offenses in 2018.
You can find me on Twitter @FF_DownUnder.