Lovi's League Winners: Aug. 18, 2021
Rookie quarterback breakdown, Daily draft sleeper
Five quarterbacks were selected in the first 15 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, with the first three picks all being QBs.
Of the five first-round quarterbacks, only two are expected to start Week 1 of the NFL season. But after impressive preseason debuts from Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones, the chances of them taking over the starting job for their respective teams at some point during the season increased significantly.
For our purposes, we’ll focus on what impact these rookie quarterbacks can make on our fantasy football teams.
Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville Jaguars
The No. 1 overall pick and highly-touted QB out of Clemson, Lawrence is believed to be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Lawrence didn’t get as lucky as his comp (no pun intended) and ended up on one of the worst franchises in the league.
With a new head coach in Urban Meyer who has never coached in the NFL and a historically bad team in the Jaguars, Lawrence has an uphill battle this season and for years to come, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be a fantasy option.
First of all, the Jaguars will be playing from behind almost every game, meaning Lawrence will have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball and build up his numbers.
He also has talent out wide to throw to with D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr., providing a more than solid trio of weapons. His backfield is also pretty stacked with last year’s rookie sensation James Robinson, this year’s first-round pick Travis Etienne and a seasoned veteran in Carlos Hyde.
Lastly, he will start all 17 games for the Jaguars, barring injury, so he is already ahead of the pack in that area.
If you miss on a QB early in your draft and all of a sudden there is a run of QBs being taken in the middle rounds and you’re left as one of the last teams without a quarterback, I’m perfectly fine with taking Lawrence as your starter.
Be mindful there will be ups and downs throughout the season, but the upside to me is worth it. I’m taking Lawrence over Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, Derek Carr and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Zach Wilson - New York Jets
The second overall pick received a lot more scrutiny than the first, for obvious reasons. Despite his talent, Wilson was inconsistent in college and the Jets had just spent a No. 3 pick on Sam Darnold a few years back.
To his credit, Wilson looked solid in the Jets’ first preseason game, completing 6-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a passer rating of 86.8.
Would I ever draft Wilson to start for my fantasy team? Absolutely not.
Like the Jaguars, the Jets will be playing from behind almost every game, but I don’t have the same faith in the weapons surrounding Wilson, nor do I have as much faith in Wilson himself.
Do not draft Wilson, and if by some miracle he plays good enough to be on a fantasy roster in the first few weeks, simply scoop him off the waiver wire. Because I promise you, no one in your league is drafting him. Not even hardcore Jets fans.
Trey Lance - San Francisco 49ers
Here’s where things get interesting, starting with Lance, the No. 3 overall pick.
Is Lance going to start Week 1? I highly doubt it, though it’s not out of the question.
Is there a chance Lance takes over the starting job in the middle of the season. Well, that depends on Jimmy Garoppolo’s health. I still believe Garoppolo is a good enough QB to be a starter in this league, so my money is on him starting this year if he remains healthy and the team is playing well. If being the keyword here.
Lance has the ability to gain yards on the ground and with his arm. He fits the mold of a franchise QB. The team certainly spent a hefty amount of draft capital on him.
I just believe that Garoppolo gets the nod to start the season and I think he plays well enough to keep the job. I’m on board taking Lance with one of your last two picks as a stash in case Garoppolo gets hurt, but I’m much more interested in this next player.
Justin Fields - Chicago Bears
Fields is for real. End of discussion.
But seriously, I thought Fields was going to be a great player in this league, but if what he showed us in his first preseason game is going to be the norm, then this guy is about to make fans in Chicago very happy for years to come.
The No. 11 pick went 14-of-20 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He added five rushes for 33 yards and a touchdown. He had a passer rating of 106.7.
This kid has the city of Chicago buzzing and the fantasy football community buzzing. There is, however, one caveat. Andy Dalton.
Dalton was brought in to be the starter and Bears head coach Matt Nagy is staying firm in his decision to make Dalton the starter, no matter how electrifying Fields looks in camp and in the preseason.
I even believe he wants Dalton to start the whole season and have Fields sit for the year and learn, much like Patrick Mahomes did his first season in Kansas City behind Alex Smith.
I do think there is a clearer path for Fields to start more so than Lance. In the first seven games of the season, the Bears face the Rams, Bengals, Browns, Lions, Raiders Packers and Buccaneers. Chicago could easily go 2-5 in those games, and the pressure will be on to start Fields. Besides, Nagy wants to keep his job and if his best chance to win is with the rookie, I can see him inserting Fields around that point in the season.
If you don’t end up with one of the top QBs and end up with a lower-tier player, take a gamble on Fields near the end of the draft. He may just surprise you and help lead your team to glory.
Mac Jones - New England Patriots
I’ll keep this short and sweet.
Will Jones probably end up the starter in ew England at some point this season, maybe even Week 1? Yes.
Will Jones be fantasy viable in the Patriots’ system this year? No way.
Between Lance, Fields and Jones, I do believe Jones will get the first crack at the starting gig, but New England’s offense will be heavily focused on the ground and I am not investing a draft pick in Jones.
With the majority of fantasy drafts firing up at the end of this month, each of my columns for the month will include a Daily Draft Sleeper.
To qualify as one of my draft sleepers, a player’s ADP (average draft position) must be later than Round 10. That’s it!
Los Angeles Chargers TE: Donald Parham Jr.
I wanted to provide my readers with an out-of-the-box pick for today’s Daily Draft Sleeper and also wanted to pick the position that is the most difficult to draft, tight end.
Most of you probably aren’t familiar with Parham Jr. so let me give you some info. He’s a 6-foot-8 towering TE in his second year in the league. He was a main red zone target last year, catching three touchdowns on just 20 targets.
Now I know what you’re thinking, only 20 targets last year? Well, 93 tight end targets went to Hunter Henry last season, who is no longer on the team. The Chargers brought in Jared Cook, but I believe he is on the decline and won’t provide much for fantasy.
Parham Jr. has been getting a lot of hype in camp, having worked on his run-after-catch ability during the offseason and also strengthening his lower body.
Now he’s going to go undrafted, that’s for sure, but he is a name to keep an eye on. If you miss on the first six tight ends this year in the draft, the position really becomes a crapshoot. Chances are you will be playing the fun game of tight end roulette each week.
Given the right matchup, I think Parham Jr. will be a playable option who could score on any given week.