As he looks to keep the momentum of a nice finish to 2021 going, is Jared Goff being underestimated as a fantasy quarterback for 2022?
As a whole, Jared Goff’s first season as the Detroit Lions starting quarterback was not impressive (3,245 yards, 19 touchdowns, eight interceptions, QB24 in fantasy). But over his final five starts, he was among the highest-rated passers in the league (107.1) with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Over that closing stretch, Week 12-18 with two missed games, Goff was QB16 in fantasy among quarterbacks who played more than two games. Trim back to Week 12-15, he was QB8.
Ian Hartitz of Pro Football Focus, in order of his current 2022 rankings, recently highlighted a good and bad stat for all 32 NFL starting quarterbacks.
"Good: The Lions essentially declined to surround Goff with any sort of real high-end pass-catchers last season, yet Goff did finish inside the position’s top-12 producers on four separate occasions. Yes, Goff’s average target depth of 6.8 yards ranked just 42nd among 44 qualified quarterbacks. Also yes, style points don’t matter in fantasy football land, as all yards are counted equal.Bad: As another quarterback who could feasibly be out of a starting job as soon as September, Goff is clearly a bridge option inside of an offense that remains rather weak in terms of high-end options at wide receiver (with all due respect to Amon-Ra St. Brown). Goff’s complete lack of a rushing floor left him as “just” the QB9 in fantasy points per game despite throwing the ball at a high level during the 2017-2018 seasons, so don’t expect a career rebirth to occur in 2022."
Is Jared Goff being disrespected as a fantasy quarterback for 2022?
This is where I mention Hartitz has Goff ranked No. 29 right now. It’s a minor point, but my look into Goff’s 2021 season showed he finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback three times–not four.
Goff’s peak as a fantasy quarterback with the Rams was a QB7 finish in 2018, and he finished as QB12 in 2017 and QB13 in 2019. That 2019 season was boosted by volume, as he led the league in pass attempts (626). He’s close to a zero as a runner, but he did have multiple rushing scores in 2018 (two), 2019 (two) and 2020 (four).
If he had started all 17 games in 2021 at his per-game average, and taking into account a Week 10 start where he suffered an oblique injury and only had 25 pass attempts, Goff would have had 600-plus pass attempts. The Lions’ defense did not improve much in free agency, but the draft should bring a talent infusion one way or another.
Goff will not be drafted in a fair chunk of fantasy leagues this year. But to rank him above only Drew Lock, Davis Mills and Sam Darnold at this stage of the offseason (as Hartitz did) is to forget about last season’s finish, and the impact now-offensive coordinator Ben Johnson had on the Lions’ offense over that time.
Goff will be draftable as a QB2 (top-24) in fantasy leagues with 12 or more teams in 2022, with streaming appeal in the right matchups. To call him a bonafide sleeper is a step too far, but a finish in the top 12-15 fantasy quarterbacks is not out of the question at the top end of possible outcomes.