Every year owners look for rookies to not only complement their roster, but to make an impact. Knowing who the top players at particular positions can help you draft strategically. It can also allow you to make trades to position yourself for acquiring a targeted player.
For now, I’m just taking you for a swim, floating along with the current on the water’s surface. Dynasty football is a deep lake, though, so knowing more than just the basics is vital if you want bragging rights. We will explore the bottom of that lake in due time, starting with my Top 30 Dynasty Rookie Rankings coming out soon.
Before that, we have one more position for my Top Three Dynasty Series to focus on. Along with the wide receivers, it is somewhat difficult to predict and decipher who will become a true dynasty asset. Although, there are some nice options.
Quarterback Class Summary
Quarterback classes in general are way different than, say, wide receivers and running backs. Simply because there won’t be a ton of them drafted to NFL teams.
In contrast, a gallon full of wide receivers will be taken. Yes, some will become dynasty relevant, but there will be a lot more who simply faze out.
Depending on what you read or who you talk to, there’s a particular set of five or six quarterbacks that seem to be catching the attention of NFL teams. The variances between their abilities are slim, so you will often see analysts have different rankings. Unless you’ve cut off your wifi, you know Trevor Lawrence will be the first player selected in the NFL Draft. But will he live up to dynasty football expectations? Such a juicy question. Let’s dig in.
There are a number of different criteria I look at when determining my rankings. They include; size/physical stature, ability and production transfer, and intangibles.
Without further ado, let’s look at my Top Three Dynasty fantasy quarterbacks for the 2021 NFL class.
#1: Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson
Peds’ Ranks: QB #1, OVERALL #8
I understand the importance of certain physical measurements, especially for quarterbacks. But I giggle when people say so-and-so’s hands are too small, or he’s a half-inch too short, or his BMI is blah blah blah. Gurus break down a player’s physical trait so much I’m surprised they don’t talk about their pinky toes.
I say this as a preface to Trevor Lawrence because he literally checks all of those boxes that scouts look for – yes, even the flowing Fabio locks.
There’s no ambiguity or qualms in Lawrence’s physical traits. He stands 6-6, and weighs 220 pounds with long arms, big hands, and a rocket of an arm.
Ability and Production Transfer
Lawrence has been on radars for years now. His breakout age was 19.9, which, if you believe the hype, is an important indication of future NFL success. Speaking of hype, his could not get any higher. Even the mantra of “tanking for Trevor” stormed the NFL during the 2020 season. It was a close battle, but the Jacksonville Jaguars “won” and now hold the first pick of the NFL draft. It’s basically a forgone conclusion Lawrence will be drafted to the Jags.
But what makes him a transcendent phenom that is one of the highest graded prospects to ever come out of college football? Well, it’s not rocket science:
- Lazer. His size and arm strength allows him to drive the ball to all parts of the field.
- Pocket awareness. It’s rare to talk so highly of a college quarterback, but he played in an NFL type of offensive system, and knows how to move in the pocket.
- Extends plays. Lawrence has the athleticism to escape pressure and throw on the run or off balance. And he still delivers it with velocity.
- Dual threat. He’ll surprise defenses with his speed and shiftiness.
Add on the fact that he’s played in three straight College Football Playoffs in his three years at Clemson, he’s a GM’s dream. Honestly, the scouting report could go on and on. You name it, he can do it.
There aren’t many knocks on Lawrence. He will take some risks and is prone to interceptions, but that just shows the confidence he has in his arm.
As for production, he threw for at least 3,000 yards and completed over 65% of his passes in all three years as Clemson’s starter. His touchdown total peaked during his sophomore season when he threw for 36 scores and ran for nine more. In total, Lawrence rushed for 18 touchdowns in his career.
We can get into what his best landing spot would be, but that’s silly. Jacksonville will pick him first overall. This is a good fit since Urban Meyer knows Lawrence well. They already have a few nice offensive pieces in DJ Chark and James Robinson. The Jaguars also added veterans Marvin Jones Jr. and Carlos Hyde in free agency.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) May 12, 2020
Quite honestly, this is potentially what puts Lawrence on the current pedestal he occupies. Dating all the way back to his high school days, Lawrence is a ridiculous 86-4 as a starting quarterback. He’s a winner. He has played in a ton of high stakes games against the best competition in college football and has shown up every time. Teammates describe him as confident, all while being a great leader. You can’t coach those traits.
I feel like putting Lawrence as my number one quarterback is a cop out. But I’m not overthinking it. He’s been everything everyone has talked about since coming to Clemson. He has the physical and mental traits to make him, at the least, a solid NFL quarterback.
I’ve talked about this before, but what dynasty owners need to look at is a player’s ceiling. In Lawrence’s case, it is like looking up at the Sistine Chapel – really high, and awe-inspiring. He will have lofty expectations, so if he comes up a bit short his rookie year, don’t be shocked.
In terms of dynasty rookie draft capital, his status depends on your league’s scoring. If it’s a Superflex league, no doubt Lawrence goes early. If you’re in a standard league (one quarterback) you could see him drop to the back of the first round. Without all of the wide receiver options, along with a can’t miss tight end, Lawrence would be a top six pick. But not this year. Even if you have a decent starting quarterback like, say, Matt Ryan, and Lawrence drops to you at pick 10, you’re either drafting him, or listening hard to trade offers.
#2: Zach Wilson – QB – BYU
Peds’ Rank: QB #2, Overall #15
Minus a few inches in height, Wilson has similar physical traits as Lawrence. He stands 6-3, 210 pounds and although he has a great build for an NFL quarterback, he’s had to deal with some injury concerns throughout his college career.
Ability and Production Transfer
Wilson had the proverbial rollercoaster ride as the Cougars’ starting quarterback. His first ever start as a freshman saw him throw for three touchdowns against Hawaii. BYU found their quarterback, but shoulder surgeries and a hand injury led to a downright ugly sophomore campaign.
All of that was put in the rearview mirror, because 2020 saw him throw for nearly 3,700 yards and 33 touchdowns. He added 10 more rushing scores as well. All of this while fixing some of his turnover issues, as he ended the year with just three interceptions.
I’m not in the business of comparisons, because generally when you throw one out there, people take it as you’re literally saying player X is player Y. That can’t be further from the truth. Alas, I’m going against my own philosophy. I can’t help but see a little bit of Aaron Rodgers when I watch Wilson. Again, he’s not Rodgers. He’s not. But here are some traits that make him similar:
- Wilson is smart. He can read defenses pre-snap and goes through his progression well. Also, he looks off safeties similar Rodgers – with just a slight shift of the eyes.
- Wilson can play off-script. If the pocket breaks down, he’ll slide left or right and deliver the ball on the run with pretty good accuracy. He may be the best quarterback in this class in terms of improvising.
- Wilson is athletic. At times, BYU would call designed plays to use his running ability. He won’t burn by anyone, but can and will use his legs to hurt defenses.
- Wilson is confident. Moxie baby, yeah (*Austin Powers voice*). This is more of an intangible, but if I am comparing him to Rodgers I have to mention it. He seems to know what he’s capable of and isn’t afraid to show it.
Obviously there are some areas he can fix. As much as making throws on the run and escaping pressure are great, his mechanics aren’t always consistent. This led to nine interceptions his sophomore year. He also doesn’t necessarily have the strongest arm, so he may struggle a bit with the deep ball.
As for landing spots, it sounds like the Jets love him at number two. They have added a couple pieces to potentially surround Wilson, but will need to do more in the draft if they want to maximize his talent.
Watch Zach Wilson showcase his talents at BYU’s Pro Day! 💪
— NFL (@NFL) March 25, 2021
It’s been mentioned already, but his football acumen and general poise is a bonus. He’s kind of a jack of all trades and is a coachable 21-year-old who has a bright NFL future.
Before this season, Wilson was an NFL draft prospect, but was more or less a second or third day pick. He’s on everyone’s radar now, and there are even rumblings of Wilson having a higher ceiling than Lawrence. That’s tough to swallow, though.
As for dynasty, this is hard to peg. It all boils down to how you view him. There will probably be an owner who takes a chance and snags him early second round in standard leagues. And it’s probably worth it. Even if he doesn’t pan out, spending a second round pick on a potential cornerstone for your dynasty franchise is an easy choice.
Player: Trey Lance – QB – North Dakota State
Peds’ Rank: QB #3, OVERALL #23
Who is your NFL comp for Trey Lance?
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) March 19, 2021
Really all three of my top quarterbacks are physically similar, as Lance stands 6-3, 220 pounds. Not only is he the same height as Wilson, their style of play is somewhat similar as well.
Ability and Production Transfer
I know I talk about ceilings all the time. I get it, fantasy football owners also want to know what they are getting, not just what they could get. But with Lance, that’s what makes him the most polarizing quarterback in the class.
It all began with his high school career, which was underwhelming. He started just his senior year where he threw for 10 touchdowns. Yeah, 10. Fast forward a bit, and we have seen some dynamic play from Lance at North Dakota State, but he started just 17 games for an FCS school.
The young 20-year-old has shown flashes of being a potential stud.
- In a similar mold to Wilson, Lance has the ability to move an offense with his arm and legs. The difference is speed. Although slightly bigger than Wilson, Lance has a burst and is, frankly, really fast.
- Lance has the ability to drive the ball downfield. He’s on par with Lawrence when it comes to arm strength.
- His accuracy is in the numbers. He threw for 28 touchdowns and no interceptions as a redshirt freshman.
His one full season saw him throw for almost 2,800 yards while running for 1,100 more and 14 additional scores. But that’s all scouts have to go on. The knock on the NDSU quarterback is that he is young, raw, and may take some time to develop.
A landing spot like Minnesota or Washington would be ideal. Allow Kirk Cousins to play out his contract, or sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick while continuing to develop. There’s no rush to start Lance right away, but we all know there are teams out there that may want to throw him into the fire (see: Carolina Panthers).
The naysayers will have the lazy take of “but he played in the FCS.” Or, “he didn’t play against good competition.” Obviously. But did you watch him play? He dominated for a reason. Plus, there are plenty of FCS quarterbacks that have found success in the NFL. Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Carson Wentz, and Kurt Warner, to name a few.
Lastly, NDSU is turning into the FCS quarterback factory of sorts. It started with Wentz, and most recently Easton Stick. So they do have the ability to manufacture NFL level quarterbacks.
I think Lance is either a stud, or falls flat. I’m willing to bet the former as of right now.
If Lance falls to an NFL team where he won’t start right away, he will be a later pick in rookie drafts – probably the third round. Maybe even the fourth round, depending on which NFL team some of the other quarterbacks go to.
If your league has a taxi squad (basically a practice squad), he’s the ideal candidate. He can sit on your taxi squad all year until 2022 when he’ll likely get a chance to be a franchise quarterback. So if you have a couple of third round picks this rookie draft, look to snag him.
Quarterback Honorable Mention
Some of the quarterbacks who find themselves just outside of my top three could very easily move up. As much as I talked about the ceilings of Lawrence, Wilson and Lance, there are others who seem to have a fairly safe floor.
One could easily come up with reasons to put Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields as their top guy. Also, Mac Jones (Alabama) looks to be a safe option for NFL teams. My personal favorite to have a decent NFL career is Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. Although not super mobile, he reminds me of a more accurate Jameis Winston.
All of these players will likely be picked in the first and second rounds come the end of April. If any were to slip into my top three, it’d probably be Fields.
My Top 30 Dynasty league rookie rankings will come out soon! So if you have a rookie draft on tap, or are in a start-up dynasty league, hopefully my rankings can be of help.