Welcome to Lying Season in the NFL.
The talking heads on ESPN and Fox Sports are busy wading through the plethora of smoke screens that inevitably fill the dead time between the end of free agency and the start of the NFL Draft.
But not us! We’re not wasting our time with all the noise. At least, not in fantasy football, we aren’t.
With dynasty rookie drafts on the horizon, it’s time to look at the most important position in sports: quarterback.
In dynasty fantasy football, I prefer to swing for the fences and bet on upside. We’re star hunting here, folks. We’re trying to hit homers, not singles, especially at quarterback, where — in superflex leagues — having two QB1s is a massive advantage and offers a strong floor on a weekly basis.
Before the NFL Draft screws all these rankings up by giving us actual draft capital and landing spots, here are the five best rookie passers in fantasy football.
5. Mac Jones
If you believe the media hype then Mac Jones is skyrocketing up the draft boards and could potentially be the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. That could ultimately change his ranking here, as landing spots are one of the biggest factors in drafting for fantasy football, but he’s QB5 … for now.
The Alabama product might turn into a solid starter thanks to his accuracy and processing ability, but he’s just not on the same level athletically as the four passers ahead of him.
Like it or not, running and mobile QBs are just more valuable in fantasy football. And that’s not something Jones offers.
Take the top 10 QBs in fantasy points per game last season. Every single signal-caller — minus Aaron Rodgers — is considered a mobile or running QB. You’d have to go all the way down to QB11 to find the next pocket passer in Tom Brady.
Jones might end up being a really good player, but he’ll have to be on Rodgers or Brady’s level to make a massive impact in fantasy.
Depending on landing spots — aka if the 49ers draft Jones — then he could climb up this list, but it’s unlikely due to the talent of the top four QBs ahead of him.
4. Zach Wilson
While Jones has climbed up draft boards this offseason, the BYU QB had the biggest rise during the season, seemingly coming out of nowhere and emerging as some teams and pundits’ QB1 in this draft class over Trevor Lawrence.
We’re clearly not going that far. Despite being the likely No. 2 pick, Wilson is our QB4 heading into the draft.
There’s no denying that Wilson is probably the most entertaining QB to watch in the draft class. He moves around the pocket and whips side-arm passes like he’s Patrick Mahomes, but Wilson does have some red flags that make him a risk.
Wilson’s injury history (surgery on his throwing shoulder), smaller stature, one-year of strong production and lack of scrambling gives Wilson a lower floor and a higher bust factor.
That’s not to say Wilson won’t be a good quarterback. The other three just have a higher ceiling and offer more in the running game.
3. Justin Fields
Justin Fields might just be the most polarizing QB prospect in this class.
Some people think he’s the closest player to Lawrence’s level while others are down on the Ohio State QB. In fact, one team reportedly has a fourth-round grade on Fields. But that seems like nonsense when watching Fields operate under center.
Ohio State quarterbacks have a bad track record in the NFL recently, sure, but none of those busts were anywhere close to Fields’ talent.
Fields has a rocket arm, is built like a linebacker and runs a 4.44 40-yard dash. It’s like he was built in a lab to play quarterback. That’s the kind of player you want to bet on in fantasy football drafts.
While a Buckeye, Fields didn’t just rely on his legs, either. He’s an incredibly accurate passer who only runs when it’s his last option. That’s incredibly valuable for his development in the league.
So with all that being said, why isn’t Fields QB1 or QB2 in this class?
2. Trey Lance
Surprise, surprise. Trey Lance slightly edges out Justin Fields as our QB2 in fantasy football drafts.
Lance might not be as polished or accurate as Fields or Wilson, but he’s the perfect player for an NFL team to mold into a potential superstar.
The North Dakota State product has the best arm strength in the class and, like Fields, is built for war. He is arguably the best running QB to enter the league since Lamar Jackson, and he has the upside to be a legit passer at the next level. He’s also just 20-years-old, making him younger than the four other passers on this list. That’s extremely important for development and longevity.
Lance needs more reps and to improve his accuracy, but his athleticism, pocket awareness and unbelievable upside make him the perfect player to bet on in drafts — especially if he drops to 1.04 or later in Superflex.
That leaves only one QB to be our 1.01...
1. Trevor Lawrence
Thanks to the 49ers trading up to No. 3, it kind of feels like Trevor Lawrence is an afterthought in this class.
With almost no flaws, Lawrence has long expected to go No. 1 to the Jaguars. That’s because the Clemson star oozes upside and superstar qualities. He’s massive at 6-foot-6 and while Fields and Lance have been praised for their athleticism, Lawrence is quite a specimen as well.
In Urban Meyer’s spread offense, Lawrence should be a Day 1 starter and add playmaking ability with his legs which should help offset any bumps in the road for the rookie. He’ll be an asset in redraft leagues as a rookie and the easy 1.01 pick in Superflex dynasty drafts.
If Fields lands in San Francisco, then it might make this pick a little more dramatic, but don’t overthink it. Lawrence is a star and will have plenty of weapons around him in Jacksonville to make him valuable from the jump.
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