Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold
24-Year-Old QuarterbackQB
Carolina Panthers
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Darnold put the final nail in his Jets coffin last year with a season that was among the worst in the league for QBs. His completion percentage (59.6) and on-target percentage (67.0) both placed third lowest in the league, and his 6.1 YPA was fourth lowest. In 12 games, Darnold topped 200 yards passing just four times, and he was one of four qualified QBs with more INTs than TD passes. On attempts of 20-plus yards, Darnold's 34.2 percent on-target rate ranked last. The list goes on (and on). No surprise, the Jets' new regime cleaned house, sending Darnold to Carolina. The Panthers still see enough in Darnold that they gave up second-, fourth- and sixth-round draft picks to acquire him and picked up his fifth-year option. Darnold has a strong arm, good mobility and can thrown on the run, and perhaps the issues holding him back — namely, poor decision-making and pocket presence — can be overcome with a better coaching staff and a better supporting cast than he ever had in New York. Head coach Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady's offense should play to Darnold's strengths, using boots and play-action to get him on the move. Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and former Jets teammate Robby Anderson give Darnold three big-play targets, and the team signed TE Dan Arnold in March. Plus, there's much less pressure on Darnold in Carolina than there was in the media spotlight of New York, where he was heralded as the franchise savior after being drafted third overall in 2018. In two-QB leagues, Darnold looks like a decent gamble. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#183.23
ADP
$Contract option picked up by the Panthers in April of 2021.
Scores twice on ground
QBCarolina Panthers
September 23, 2021
Darnold completed 23 of 34 passes for 304 yards in Thursday night's 24-9 win over the Texans. He also rushed eight times for 11 yards and two touchdowns.
ANALYSIS
Darnold found wideout DJ Moore early and often, setting up his untouched score on a five-yard keeper in the first quarter. The signal-caller then was forced to cope with Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) exiting the contest, stalling the offense a bit while he faced more pressure. Although Darnold fumbled twice while being sacked, Carolina fortunately recovered both times, and Darnold rallied to put together a strong second half that included a few big throws under duress. In the end, he was rewarded with a one-yard sneak for a touchdown, effectively icing the game with four minutes left. With six total touchdowns versus two turnovers through his 3-0 start with the Panthers, Darnold carries welcomed momentum into Week 4's matchup against the Cowboys.
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NFL Stats
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Fantasy/Red Zone Stats
See red zone opportunities inside the 20, 10 and 5-yard lines along with the percentage of time they converted the opportunity into a touchdown.
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Advanced NFL Stats
How do Sam Darnold's 2021 advanced stats compare to other quarterbacks?
This section compares his advanced stats with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average. The longer the bar, the better it is for the player.
  • Bad Pass %
    The percentage of passes that were considered to be poorly thrown.
  • Avg Target Depth
    The average number of yards thrown per pass by the quarterback – including incomplete passes.
  • Sack Rate
    The percentage of dropbacks where the quartback was sacked. The longer the bar below, the more often they are sacked relative to other QBs.
  • Avg Receiver YAC
    The average number of yards after the catch that receivers gained on passes thrown by this quarterback.
  • Receiver Drop %
    The percentage of passes dropped by receivers on passes thrown by this quarterback. The longer the bar, the more sure-handed his receivers have been.
Bad Pass %
9.6%
 
Avg Target Depth
6.8 Yds
 
Sack Rate
7.6%
 
Avg Receiver YAC
6.3 Yds
 
Receiver Drop %
4.1%
 
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
Snap Counts
Snap %
Carolina PanthersPanthers 2021 QB Snap Distribution See more data like this | See last season's snap counts
S.Sam Darnold
#% of Team Snaps

20720%
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This Week's Opposing Pass Defense
How does the Texans pass defense compare to other NFL teams this season?
The bars represents the team's percentile rank (based on QB Rating Against). The longer the bar, the better their pass defense is. The team and position group ratings only include players that are currently on the roster and not on injured reserve. The list of players in the table only includes defenders with at least 3 attempts against them.
HOU
@ Texans
Thursday, Sep 23rd at 8:20PM
Overall QB Rating Against
48.3
 
Cornerbacks
47.2
 
Safeties
103.9
 
Linebackers
26.5
 
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2021 Sam Darnold Split Stats
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Measurables Review View College Player Page
How do Sam Darnold's measurables compare to other quarterbacks?
This section compares his draft workout metrics with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average.
Height
6' 3"
 
Weight
225 lbs
 
40-Yard Dash
4.85 sec
 
Shuttle Time
4.40 sec
 
Cone Drill
6.96 sec
 
Vertical Jump
26.5 in
 
Broad Jump
105 in
 
Hand Length
9.38 in
 
Arm Length
31.00 in
 
Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Sam Darnold
Thursday Night Observations
3 days ago
Christian McCaffrey's hamstring injury is a seismic event in the fantasy landscape.
Exploiting the Matchups: Week 3 Start/Sit
4 days ago
Detroit's secondary has gone from bad to worse, setting up Marquise Brown for another big week in what's rapidly shaping up as his breakout season.
NFL Waiver Wire: Week 3 Deep Dive
4 days ago
Dan Marcus goes deep into the free-agent pool to find upside adds who could pay off down the road, if not this week.
NFL Game Previews: Eagles-Cowboys Matchup
5 days ago
Erik Siegrist previews the Monday night game as Dak Prescott and the Cowboys play host to the division-rival Eagles.
Thursday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Panthers vs. Texans
5 days ago
Ryan Belongia analyzes the Thursday night DFS matchup as Christian McCaffrey's popularity should be sky high.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
It might not be make-or-break, but Darnold enters his third NFL season with big expectations. The Jets are counting on his second year in coach Adam Gase's offense going more smoothly than last year when an early season bout with mononucleosis cost him three games. It took Darnold some time to get on track once he returned as he threw nine interceptions (to five TDs) in his first four games back. But in the second half of the season he made great strides, throwing 13 touchdowns and four interceptions and increasing his YPA by more than a yard (7.3 vs. 6.2) over the first half as the Jets went 6-2. If Darnold is to take the next step, though, he has to improve his deep-ball accuracy. Last season, he completed only 25.0 percent of his attempts longer than 20 yards, 29th of 32 qualified QBs. His 9.2 YPA on those throws was 26th. He also was ineffective on play action, ranking 29th in YPA, 31st in completion percentage and last in passer rating. Perhaps he'll get more time behind a rebuilt offensive line after taking 33 sacks in 13 games last year. The Jets signed three linemen and drafted 6-7, 364-pound LT Mekhi Becton 11th overall. Darnold, whose fantasy upside is capped by a lack of rushing, lost field-stretcher Robby Anderson in free agency, but the Jets signed Breshad Perriman and drafted WR Denzel Mims, who boasts both size (6-3) and speed (4.38 40). With the exception of Kyler Murray, the 23-year-old Darnold is still younger than every projected starting quarterback this season, including No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. Even so, with the division as wide open as it's been in years, it's go time for Darnold.
Picked third overall in last year's draft, Darnold walked into an ugly situation with the Jets and created legitimate cause for optimism by year's end. His final stat line was not much to look at, and he only won four of his 13 starts, but a strong connection with deep-threat Robby Anderson sparked an impressive three-week stretch in December. The Jets also got a surprisingly effective season from rookie tight end Chris Herndon, then in the offseason spent big money on running back Le'Veon Bell and slot receiver Jamison Crowder. With Anderson and Quincy Enunwa also returning, Darnold has a much better situation for his second NFL campaign. The offensive line is somewhat less encouraging, but a trade for guard Kelechi Osemele at least provides hope for modest improvement. Better blocking would go a long way, considering Darnold lived up to his aggressive reputation by ranking 11th in average depth of target (9.0) as a rookie. He's no dink-and-dunk game manager, but while he has the ability to move around and throw his receivers open, Darnold doesn't possess the type of elusiveness that would allow him to thrive as a downfield passer behind a shaky line. Of course, he may be forced into safe, high-percentage throws under new coach Adam Gase, who favored the short passing game in Miami.
Darnold was viewed as a candidate for the No. 1 overall selection in April's draft, but when he fell to the third spot, the Jets were happy to scoop him up with the hope that he might emerge as a franchise savior. Though the Jets re-signed their primary starter from 2017 (Josh McCown) and brought in another accomplished signal-caller in free agency in Teddy Bridgewater, Darnold was given the opportunity to compete for the top job in training camp and quickly made a positive impression in practices and exhibition play. The Jets have yet to officially announce their plans for Week 1, but the team's decision to trade Bridgewater to the Saints on Aug. 29 likely opens the door for Darnold to begin the season as the team's starter. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Darnold brings ideal size to the position along with a strong arm and good mobility. He can improvise to extend plays and throw accurately on the run, but the knock on him is two-fold: his windup delivery and ball security. Some scouts believe Darnold probably has enough velocity to overcome the extra release time caused by the delivery, but he'll need to improve his decision making to address the latter concern. During his final year at USC, Darnold was responsible for 22 turnovers, including nine lost fumbles.
More Fantasy News
Sharp in win over Saints
QBCarolina Panthers
September 19, 2021
Darnold completed 26 of 38 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Sunday's 26-7 win over the Saints.
ANALYSIS
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Hot start in team debut
QBCarolina Panthers
September 12, 2021
Darnold completed 24 of 35 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 19-14 win over the Jets. He added a rushing touchdown but finished with minus-1 rushing yard on five attempts and a lost fumble.
ANALYSIS
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Engineers three scoring drives
QBCarolina Panthers
August 27, 2021
Darnold completed 19 of his 25 pass attempts for 162 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in Friday's preseason game against the Steelers.
ANALYSIS
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In line to play Friday
QBCarolina Panthers
August 27, 2021
Darnold is expected to play a half, or perhaps less if things are going well, in Friday's preseason finale against the Steelers, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Brief showing Saturday
QBCarolina Panthers
August 21, 2021
Darnold completed one of two passes for 16 yards in Saturday's preseason game against Baltimore.
ANALYSIS
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