Finding value in your dynasty format rookie drafts isn’t always about finding a player who will be a starter out of the gate. Unfortunately, those players are few and far between, especially at the QB position. However, drafting a late-round QB with a high average draft position (ADP) or grabbing them as a free agent when they go undrafted can reap the rewards down the line, as I believe is the case with these two rookie signal-callers.
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Stetson Bennett (QB – LAR) Overall ADP 51 (QB6)
It’s not every day that a two-time national championship-winning QB isn’t on the short list of desirable players at the NFL level. However, many analysts have faded Stetson Bennett, who did just that at the University of Georgia. The biggest concern with Bennett has been a combination of size and age. He stands at 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds and will turn 26 midway through his rookie season. However, the Los Angeles Rams decided to take a flyer on the talented gunslinger in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft.
On the surface, Bennett seems buried in the Rams’ offense behind veteran QB Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, for the 2023 season, barring injury, that will be the case. However, this could be a savvy selection for the future of this team by head coach Sean McVay and Co.
Bennett is unlikely to become the starter in the Rams’ offense in 2023 or even 2024. However, Stafford enters the 2023 season at 35 years old. While we’ve seen QBs extending their careers into their late 30s in the last few years, Stafford’s lack of agility and injury history dictates he will not be one of them. Bennett, like Stafford, has a big arm and isn’t shy about taking shots down the field, with 998 of his 4,132 passing yards in 2022 being on targets beyond 20 yards.
Like any QB in the sleeper category, Bennett is far from a sure thing. However, given their similarities and the ability to allow Bennett to spend a few seasons developing behind Stafford, this seems less of a long shot than most. He isn’t coming off the board in the first 48 picks in most leagues, meaning he could be an easy free-agent acquisition once your draft ends. It’s worth taking a chance on the rookie QB if he can sit on your taxi squad in 2023.
Jake Haener (QB – NO) Overall ADP 57 | QB7
Sometimes it takes a deep dive to find a player that could provide future value to your dynasty squads. This is the case with former Fresno State signal-caller Jake Haener. While considered undersized for the position, much like Bennett, Haener possesses other intangibles that make him an attractive deep stash dynasty prospect, and the New Orleans Saints agree, having selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
In most cases, his current rookie draft ADP has him falling out of the draft entirely, and it makes sense. Haener played at a smaller school in Fresno State, a member of the oft-ignored Mountain West Conference. His size doesn’t wow, standing at 6 feet and 207 pounds. However, he is known for making intelligent decisions on the field and has an innate ability to read defenses on the fly. This showed in his senior season when he completed 71.3 percent of his passes, only threw three interceptions, and despite missing five games, he still amassed 2,900 passing yards. His 2021 season was just as impressive, seeing him complete 67 percent of his attempts for 4,098 yards, 33 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions.
Fourth-round draft capital for a QB admittedly isn’t great. Head coach Dennis Allen and company could have let him pass by, with Derek Carr slotted to be the starter in 2023, with veteran Jameis Winston his likely backup. However, Carr is no more than a middle-of-the-road caliber QB, and Winston is well known for his accuracy issues despite having a big arm.
In all likelihood, Haener will land as the third-string QB for the Saints in 2023 and possibly 2024. That said, there is a path to seeing Haener take the reigns in New Orleans if injuries hamper Carr and Winston, as we have seen happen in the past. You won’t need to waste a rookie draft pick on Haener, as his ADP indicates he is going undrafted in most leagues. Instead, you can snag him post-draft and stash him on your taxi squad in a wait-and-see approach.
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Nate Polvogt is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nate, check out his archive and follow him @NatePolvogt.