With the draft in the rear-view and the season creeping up on us fast, it is time to break down the 2021 rookie class from a fantasy perspective. This fantasy rookie Quarterback ranking is based upon the dynasty league format and remains relatively the same when it comes to re-draft leagues. Typically rookie quarterbacks do not perform well in year one, but there may be one or two that buck that trend this season.
1.) Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars
No real surprise here. Lawrence has been touted as a generational talent and the number one pick since his days in high school. A proven winner (who has never lost a regular-season game) has been tasked to turn the Jaguars franchise around.
Jacksonville has done well to arm Lawrence with some weapons. D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault make up the core of the WRs. James Robinson and his college teammate Travis Ettiene are the key backs for Lawerence.
What makes him the top rookie QB on this list is (1) his big arm and (2) he will start from day one. We know that Lawrence will face little to no competition and should be the day one starter. He is capable of making the accurate deep throw as well as fitting it into a tight space across the middle. With Jacksonville in a negative game script most games, Lawrence is going to have to sling the ball a lot on Sundays.
2.) Trey Lance – San Francisco 49ers
The case can be made for Justin Fields to be number two, but I like Lance’s overall situation better. He landed in the perfect spot: a Shanahan-ran offense. The fact that they moved up for him and he was hand-picked by Shanahan speaks volumes.
To many, Lance is a relative unknown, coming from North Dakota State and only playing one full season due to COVID. In that one season, Lance exploded onto the scene. He threw from 2,786 yards, rushed for 1,100 yards, and totaled 42 touchdowns (28 passing and 14 rushing). The most impressive part was that through 287 attempts, he did not throw an interception.
Lance’s dual-threat ability is what has fantasy owners drooling over. The elite fantasy quarterbacks in this day and age (Mahomes, Allen, Jackson, Murray, etc) all bring a dynamic running ability to their game. Lawrence may end up have a better NFL career, but Lance may end up as the better fantasy QB.
3.) Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
Similar to Lance, Fields may not be the week one starter for the Bears, but there is no doubt he will see the field at some point.
I cannot get the stigma of past blunders that Ohio State quarterbacks have had in the NFL, but Fields may finally break that curse. His numbers at OSU were pretty gaudy: 3,373 passing yards, 7:1 TD/INT ratio (63 TDs to just nine INTs), and another 15 touchdowns on the ground.
Fields will rely on his arm more than his legs but has the ability to scamper for chunks of yards. He is an accurate QB, completing 70% of his passes in eight games as a junior. He is always looking to score on every play, raising his stock in leagues that have big play bonuses.
In dynasty leagues, I still have him slotted at three. But in re-draft leagues, if Fields is named the starter immediately, and Lance is not, that pushes him up a spot.
4.) Zach Wilson – New York Jets
Zach Wilson is a hard one to rank. His upside alone may be the best in this class, but he is so raw that, to me, he is a draft and stash QB (especially in year one).
He is an aggressive thrower who likes to make the big downfield throws look flashy. He is garnering a lot of Johnny Manziel vibes with his moxie and, well, that did not bold well for Johnny football.
Yes, he may start the year as the starter, but there are not a ton of pieces around him. And he is just too raw to be thrown into the fire.
5.) Mac Jones – New England Patriots
I am not really sure what to do with Mac Jones. At the college level, he was an accurate thrower who was at the top of the league in passer rating. He rarely turned the ball over and won a ton of games within the Nick Saban system.
He landed in a run-first offense with very little if any weapons around him, outside of some good tight ends. Jones is a statuesque type of QB who will offer very little on the ground. (Think Philip Rivers.)
With Cam Newton barely hanging on by a thread in front of him, there is a very good chance we see Jones this year. This may end up being a case where he is a better pro than a fantasy asset.
The Best of the Rest
- Kellen Mond – Minnesota Vikings
- Kyle Trask – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Davis Mills – Houston Texans
- Ian Book – New Orleans Saints
Not to be rude, but there’s not much to see here. If your dynasty league is deep with a practice squad, then it makes sense to stash these QBs. While you may not see him for two years, Trask may be in the best spot of them all, learning behind Tom Brady.
Look out for the Running Back breakdown next week. Both the RB and WR/TE positions tend to offer more as rookies from a fantasy perspective.