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Top 5 Quarterbacks Under 25 (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jan 21, 2022


 
The 2021 fantasy football season is over. It’s time to prepare for next season — and beyond! Today, we’re going to identify the top-five fantasy football quarterbacks under the age of 25. Please note that Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow would sit atop this list, except they both recently turned 25. Alas, they won’t be joining us today.

This top-five list is not indicative of real-life performance (at least not completely) but is based primarily on fantasy performance and each player’s potential in 2022 and beyond. If you’re interested in how this list compares to consensus rankings for all quarterbacks, regardless of age, check out our dynasty rankings.

Let’s start with the signal-callers who fit the age criteria but sit well outside of the top five.

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Maybe Some Day

Dwayne Haskins (PIT): 24 years old
Haskins has received positive reviews while serving as the third-string quarterback in Pittsburgh. With Ben Roethlisberger leaving, Haskins is a long-term fantasy hold. We need to see how this offseason shakes out to know if he has a chance to be “the guy” for the Steelers.

Kyle Trask (TB): 23
Trask is still stuck behind Tom Brady. Brady is finishing another MVP-worthy season, so Trask isn’t all that interesting just yet.

Jordan Love (GB): 23
He saw a little bit of playing time this year — first against Kansas City (when they were not atop the AFC) and then the second half of a Week 18 matchup against the Lions. In those two games combined, Love threw three interceptions, lost two fumbles, and scored just two touchdowns. He never averaged a better completion percentage above 58.8%. Woof.

Looking for Work

Daniel Jones (NYG): 24, Sam Darnold (CAR): 24, Davis Mills (HOU): 23
Listen, these three guys could start for their respective teams next year. They could also be the backups. For Darnold and Jones, it’s decision making, ball security and lack of improvement that define them. For Davis Mills, it’s that he plays for the Houston Texans. Yuck. Yes, he performed admirably his rookie season, but that was never supposed to happen, and it’s highly likely he’ll be relegated to the bench by next season. Yikes all around.

Signs of Life

Zach Wilson (NYJ): 22
Wilson is at risk of losing his job eventually. Why? He plays for the Jets. The organization needs a lot of help, but some young wide receivers make me hopeful he can improve. However, if he does show even marginal improvement from 2021 to 2022, he’s worth the hold. The difference between him and Mac Jones is that Wilson has some rushing upside. He had four rushing scores over 13 starts.

Tua Tagovailoa (MIA): 23
Tua Tagovailoa… poor guy. Is it any wonder there are three quarterbacks under 25 from the AFC East? Brady left that division in tatters. Given Miami’s penchant for saying one thing and doing another, I have little faith that Tua will remain the long-term starter in Miami. Still, he seems to be safe for at least 2022 and possibly beyond. He finished the season as the QB26. At least that was an improvement from 2020, and he gained a true WR1 in Jaylen Waddle. Maybe it’s not hopeless just yet. Not perfect, but not hopeless.

Mac Jones (NE): 23
Jones is clearly the real-life answer in New England, although he isn’t really a fantasy superstar. He finished as the QB17 for the season with 22 passing touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and 3,801 passing yards. His rushing upside is… well, there is none. However, he had five weeks with a fantasy QB1 finish. He isn’t in my top five, but he’ll probably be the best QB2 in Superflex leagues for the next decade.

Justin Fields (CHI): 22
Fields is about to get what he needs… maybe. Head Coach Matt Nagy is out of Chicago, so it’s possible the organization will get it right and bring in a head coach who can get the best out of Fields. He has rushing upside and some offensive weapons that can help in the passing game. He finished as a QB1 four times, but he alos finished as the QB30 or worse four times.

THE TOP 5

5. Jalen Hurts (PHI): 23
Hurts has been under constant scrutiny since he took over the starting job in Philadelphia. However, this year, he led his team to the NFL playoffs with a rookie head coach and no other certifiable stud to assist his efforts. In the fantasy realm, he finished as the QB8 on the season (while missing one game) and finished as a QB1 10 times. That’s some delicious consistency.

While he may not be “the guy” in Philly for the rest of the decade, there’s little reason to believe he’ll be usurped in 2022. He has a high floor with rushing upside. His young offense only stands to improve, and he’ll have a chance to improve on his weaknesses next season. Long-term, his inaccuracy may prove to be a career-killer, but we need to enjoy the ride for now.

4. Trey Lance (SF): 21
I’ll admit that this ranking of Lance is mostly speculative. His work sample in 2021 was limited. Very limited. However, he flashed the right goods for us to believe he has a bright fantasy future. The weeks that he played a majority of the game resulted in no fewer than seven rushing attempts. He had one game with 16 attempts. His completion percentage was a problem, as it sits at 57.7 for the season. Why is that a plus? Because he has room to improve and the arm talent to actually get there.

In this Kyle Shanahan offense, he’ll have Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and a number of young running backs to help him put up big numbers in 2022. It may get ugly at times, but the offensive line is built to be solid for years. Oh yeah, and Jimmy G will be gone by next year. 

3. Trevor Lawrence (JAC): 23
I was disappointed by Trevor Lawrence this season. We all were. However, if the 2021 NFL Draft were redone today, he’d still be the first player off the board. I know some of you cheeky readers want to say Mac Jones would be the top pick, but Jones is an example of what happens when you’re a mediocre player on a great franchise. Trevor is a great player on an awful franchise. He’ll improve in 2022, which means it’s time to deal for him in any dynasty format you can.

Lawrence simply has too much arm talent and poise. Consider that, according to Pro Football Focus, he converted pressure-to-sacks at the fifth lowest rate in the league (14.5%), which means he was strong in the pocket and rarely panicked under pressure. Furthermore, we need to see him play without the absolute mind-boggling train wreck of Urban Meyer as head coach. This roster can literally only get more talented, especially since they have the top overall pick in next year’s draft.

This franchise stinks, but Lawrence will no doubtlessly improve on his league-high 17 interceptions and his pedestrian 59.6% completion percentage. Buy low and buy now. His value won’t be this discounted again.

2. Kyler Murray (ARI): 24
Now it’s time to nitpick to make tough decisions. I’m going against the expert consensus rankings and placing Kyler Murray below Justin Herbert. I know, I know, I’m a monster. Now focus up. Murray started the season hot and finished lukewarm. He had five QB1 weeks in the first eight games but only three in the final six. In short, he did what he did last year: disappoint in the fantasy playoffs. Murray only threw five touchdowns over the last five games.

Part of the issue with Murray is his surrounding talent. DeAndre Hopkins missed the final four games of the season, a span which saw Murray’s YPC (yards per completion) dip to a season low. The signal-caller also missed three games in the middle of the season, which is partially why I’ve put Herbert above Murray.

Murray has two things going against him as a long-term player that don’t affect Herbert in the same way. Here’s the truth: Kyler has a much smaller frame and is much more reliant on mobility than Herbert. Both of those factors point towards potential future injuries. Like I said, I’m nitpicking. The rushing upside is great, but he wouldn’t be the first quarterback to fade early from taking too many hits too early in his career. That said, despite missing three games this season, Kyler has never not finished the season as a QB1. The man is a beast. Herbert is just the better long-term guy.

1. Justin Herbert (LAC): 23
The man, the myth, the future GOAT. Am I the only one who hears in-game announcers talk about Herbert like he is already in the Hall of Fame? You too? Cool, cool. Glad we’re on the same page. In all seriousness, Herbert is big, mobile and might have the best arm in the game. He’s got a delightful surrounding cast with reliable Keenan Allen, ascending Mike Williams and formidable Austin Ekeler. His offensive line is also tenth best in the league.

This franchise trusts Herbert almost more than Tampa Bay trusts Tom Brady. You want stats? Okay, how about this: Herbert finished as a top-12 quarterback in 12 games this season, including nine of the last 11. Basically, he brought you to the fantasy playoffs and beyond. He finished as the overall QB2 for the season, and most of that work came when it counted most for fantasy managers.

Herbert threw the third-most touchdowns on the season with 38 and passed for over 5,000 yards. Also, according to PFF, he had the lowest turnover-worthy play rate of any quarterback in 2021. In addition to that, he added some work on the ground, tallying 302 rushing yards and three scores. The most startling part of Herbert’s 2021 campaign is that he seemed to be in a slump for most of the season. That’s insane to even fathom. This guy is about to go even higher than we’ve seen so far.

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Timothy Metzler is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Timothy, check out his archive or follow him @timmy_the_metz.

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