Dynasty Veteran Sleepers: Quarterbacks (2022 Fantasy Football)
There is a sizeable rift between the sport of football and the game of fantasy football. One cannot deny how closely related the two are, with the vast majority of industry-thought leaders intertwined and locked into the same exact things. Fantasy is still not reality. The most glaring example of this separation is how quarterbacks are dealt with.
The man under center is the leader of the offense, if not the entire team. He is the field general and the most important person on the field in every single play. Until the advent of superflex formats, quarterback was the least important position in fantasy football. Even when two quarterbacks can be placed in the starting lineup, it can be argued that running backs and wide receivers are still more pivotal to a team’s success.
Dynasty fantasy football, especially in the preferred superflex format, re-establishes the importance of fortifying the quarterback position. Good ones can very easily carry a dynasty team and keep the championship window open for many years. Bad quarterback play might not doom a team, but they might always be chasing that breakout performer at the position to tie the whole thing together. Here are four quarterbacks who have just enough juice to break out from off the dynasty radar and enough red flags to scare the risk-averse completely away from them.
The younger fans might not know this, but Matty Ice is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s a real football trait more than one for fantasy. The 37-year-old was bludgeoned behind an atrocious offensive line with only a rookie tight end making big plays down the field last season. Arthur Smith let opponent after opponent tee off on him without so much as a smidge of a running game to take the pressure off. Ryan is free now, given a brand new lease as the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. I, for one, am very excited to see him operate in an offense with oodles more to offer.
Ryan is twice the quarterback as Carson Wentz (QB – WAS), who put up pretty decent fantasy numbers for Indy last season. The obvious knock on him is his advanced age, shrinking his dynasty window down to two or three years max. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that last season’s QB20 has plenty of upside in his new digs to warrant the roster spot until he decides to hang up his cleats.
Here is another quarterback who is still unfairly judged to be a bad fantasy quarterback based on a years-old, real football narrative that he’s too prone to turnovers. Mr. 30-30 himself was QB4 that fateful season in Tampa Bay. Just last year, Winston was on a tear with 14 touchdowns to only three interceptions in seven games before he tore his ACL (including two weeks as a top-five QB).
Winston has been given the keys to this offense in New Orleans and is still only 28 years old. His decision-making has improved dramatically from his early years and now accompanies the same incredible arm talent he always possessed. Winston is the only quarterback with weekly QB1 upside that is currently valued as a QB3 in dynasty. The Saints have laid the foundation around Jameis with a good offensive line and some talented young receivers, like Marquez Callaway (WR – NO), Adam Trautman (TE – NO) and rookie first-round pick Chris Olave (WR – NO). If Michael Thomas (WR – NO) re-enters the fray, along with Alvin Kamara (RB – NO), Winston could be a QB1 option for years going forward.
Goff is the poster child for quarterbacks who get a bad rap (and only partially deserve it). He hasn’t been great very often, but it has happened. The top overall pick in 2016 out of Cal Berkeley was awful as a rookie under the Jeff Fisher regime. When Sean McVay took over, Goff was immediately a QB1 (QB12 in 2017 and QB6 in 2018). In 2019, Goff passed for over 4,600 yards but saw his yards per attempt and touchdowns plummet. The passing yards followed suit in 2020, falling short of 4,000 on 552 attempts. At no point was Goff considered “terrible” by NFL quarterback standards, but his fantasy luster was gone and McVay was left just as unsatisfied with the unrealized potential.
Jared Goff still has a very strong arm and is a wise decision-maker. The main knock on his game over the past couple of years is his reluctance to push the ball down the field and make big plays when available. He has shown himself to be timid in big moments and might rather check down to an outlet receiver instead of tossing a deep ball to a guy in man coverage. The Lions’ selection of Jameson Williams (WR – DET) out of Alabama in this year’s first round, along with not bringing in another quarterback, gives some optimism that they feel Goff can “make it” as their starter long-term in this make-or-break season. The offense has plenty of talented young skill players, such as Williams, D’Andre Swift (RB – DET), TJ Hockenson (TE – DET) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – DET). Goff is still only 27 years old, with semi-recent success on his resume.
This one is the shakiest of the four, with perhaps the highest ceiling for dynasty purposes. The first order of business for Lock is to win the starting job in Seattle for 2022 over Geno Smith (QB – SEA). I suppose that Smith could be the “sleeper” here if he prevails. Lock will still be given every opportunity from OTAs and training camp to show off the arm talent and penchant for big plays that made him a second-round pick by Denver in 2019. Despite the preconception that Lock has been given ample shots to progress as an NFL quarterback, the 24-year-old has still only played in 24 games over three seasons.
The most intriguing attribute of Lock’s game for fantasy is his superb athleticism. Even when looking utterly bewildered on the field, the 6-4, 228-pound signal-caller from Missouri seems to be perpetually on the verge of making a huge play. Pete Carroll has come out and praised Lock’s talent, stating his opinion that the quarterback would have been the first selected if he were part of the 2022 class. Seattle might just be posturing an excuse for not pulling the trigger on any future face of the franchise after trading away Russell Wilson (QB – DEN) this winter. They also have not moved star receivers, DK Metcalf (WR – SEA) and Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA). Carroll is infinitely more comfortable with a heavy run game to support his quarterback, as the club used a second-round selection on top running back Kenneth Walker III (RB – SEA). Lock is definitely a wildcard dynasty quarterback but one whose value could absolutely explode if a couple of things go his way.
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