Once upon a time, Jared Goff supported three WR2s and the RB1 in fantasy points-per-game, on his way to being the QB10 in points-per-game himself.
That was 2018. In the three years since, he’s been QB21, QB22, and QB26, with the latter being on the Lions. Understandably, he’s not on many 2022 fantasy rosters, with 37% (Yahoo), 19% (ESPN), and 17.3% (NFL.com), ownership across the three platforms.
But that number is too low. Don’t forget, 2018 was the last time that Todd Gurley was his elite self, with injuries starting to take their toll late that year. It was also late that year that Vic Fangio, then defensive coordinator of the Bears, figured out how to neutralize the Rams’ explosive offense, which led to other teams deploying the same scheme.
WHAT’S MY POINT?
Goff (currently the QB9) was a QB1 in the right situation. It goes without saying that the surrounding talent and scheme of the 2018 Rams was peak production before the factors crept in that I mentioned earlier.
I’m not going to argue that the 2022 Detroit Lions have the equivalent of peak Todd Gurley or a wide receiver cast of Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods, but they do have a top-tier offensive line, D’Andre Swift in the backfield, and Amon-Ra St. Brown on the perimeter.
Through two weeks, Goff’s pocket time has been a pedestrian 2.4 seconds. But, he’s also been blitzed the eighth-most times, during which time he’s maintained the eighth-best QB rating.
What Detroit definitely has that the 2018 Rams didn’t is a poor defense. Through two weeks, they’re 26th in rush yards allowed, 27th against the pass, and second-to-last in points per game (32.5).
If the Lions can’t improve on that front, their offense is going to have to be forced to try and keep pace.
Having scored 34.5 points per game on their own so far, it is possible that the Lions could keep up. Goff certainly fared better against a stout Eagles defense than Kirk Cousins did, and let’s not underestimate the impact St. Brown has had.
Defenses know he’s coming and it just… Has. Not. Mattered.
Goff’s relationship with OC Ben Johnson has shown to be more than fanspeak so far. With Anthony Lynn calling plays during the first eight games of 2021, Jared was QB30 in points-per-game of QBs who played at least three games. After Lynn lost playcalling duties, Goff improved to QB23.
Now, with a new OC in his ear, it’s another improvement. Could it be that pieces are starting to fit together in Detroit?
If you play wait-and-see with Goff, you may end up being too late. He gets the Vikings in Week 3, in what could be a shootout, before hosting the Seahawks in Week 4. Both Minnesota and Seattle’s defenses leak yards as the Lions do.
The Wolf ranks Goff 15th among quarterbacks for Week 3 and on his Rest of Season Rankings. If Goff can keep up the pace he’s started off with this year, his fantasy roster percentage is going to reflect Wolf’s rankings sooner rather than later.