Does New England QB Jimmy Garoppolo have Tools to Succeed?

With the regular season just weeks away, the Patriots are preparing for life without Tom Brady. As it stands today, Brady is still facing a four game suspension although it is rumored to possibly be shortened. Next on the depth chart at quarterback is 2nd year player Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois. Does that school sound familiar? Tony Romo went undrafted out of Eastern Illinois and panned out pretty well for the Dallas Cowboys. Garoppolo was selected in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft and is preparing to fill Tom Brady’s shoes while he’s out. With just 19 career completions, can Garoppolo succeed for the New England Patriots?

Jimmy Garoppolo will fill in for Tom Brady

Jimmy Garoppolo will fill in for Tom Brady

Although he has just 19 completions to his name, Garoppolo has played well in his limited experience. He completed 19 of 27 passes (70.4%) for 182 yards and one touchdown, a quarterback rating of 101.2. Now these numbers come from no-pressure situations. The bulk of his work come from a blow out loss to the Chiefs, a blow out win over the Bears, and in a game that didn’t matter at the end of the season to the Bills. It’ll be interesting to see how he fairs when the slate is wiped clean and every game matters.

At running back, Garoppolo should have a trio of running backs to help him out in LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, and Travaris Cadet. He’ll have All-Pro tightend in 6’6″ Rob Gronkowski who should make for a great red zone target. At receiver, he has the reliable Julian Edelman who accounted for 92 receptions last season as well as Brandon LaFell who finished strong to the tune of 74 catches, 953 yards and 7 touchdowns. If the Patriots can tap into the potential of Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson this season they’ll have a formidable group at wide receiver to give a young Garoppolo. Let’s not forget about Reggie Wayne whom the Patriots just signed. It’ll be interesting to see how quick he can pick up the playbook and get into game shape. I would not expect too much out of him early in the season.

With this kind of offensive personnel in place, Garoppolo should be fine. If he struggles, it may be a testament more to how good of a quarterback he can be in the NFL.

Fantasy Football Sleepers At Wide Receiver

The first couple of teams are heading to training camp and it’s getting close to football season again.  With the NFL season comes fantasy football time.  Everyones doing their research looking for a leg up on the competition.  With many players moving, new opportunities arise and players have the opportunity to step up and prove themselves.  Let’s take a look at some sleepers at wide receiver for this upcoming NFL season.

Martavis Bryant – Pittsburgh Steelers

Will Selva - Martavis Bryant

Martavis Bryant is poised for a breakout year.

Bryant didn’t appear in a game until October 20th, but boy did he burst onto the scene.  By November 9th, Bryant had caught 6 touchdowns already while playing in just 4 games.  A rookie out of Clemson, Bryant played second fiddle to Sammy Watkins in college but looks like he can play at the NFL level.  Bryant stands at 6’4 and 210 pounds making for a great end zone target.  He finished with 26 receptions for 549 yards and 8 touchdowns in 10 games.  He’ll play opposite Antonio Brown, one of the best receivers in the game today so defenses will be keying in on Brown as opposed to Bryant.  Bryant can very well put up 1,100 yards and 8-12 touchdowns this year.

Steve Smith Sr. – Baltimore Ravens

Steve Smith Sr. has been around the league for 15 seasons and has had his better days.  During his final five years with the Panthers he eclipsed 1,000 yards just 2 times.  During his age 35 season with the Baltimore Ravens, Smith recorded 1,065 yards and 6 touchdowns.  At times in the offense Smith found himself as Flacco’s go-to guy.  He had 11 games with 5 receptions or more for the Ravens.  Now with Torrey Smith in San Francisco, Smith becomes the leader of a receiving core that features unproven players in 2015 1st rounder Breshad Perriman and undrafted 3rd year players Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken.

Stedman Bailey – St Louis Rams

Stedman Bailey is a 3rd round pick from the 2013 draft with not much to show for it.  In his defense, he has suffered from Sam Bradford being so injury-prone.  In the final 6 weeks of last season, Bailey put up 349 receiving yards on 22 receptions with a touchdown.  That pace through the course of a 16 game season puts him close to 1,000 yards.  With Bailey ending the 2015 season on a high note, he now welcomes a quarterback in Nick Foles for this coming season.  Assuming Foles can stay healthy, he gives Bailey a better option at the quarterback position to get him the ball than Austin Davis or Shaun Hill did.