2021 NFL Draft Rookie QB Landing Spots (Fantasy Football)
It was a QB draft and if your team didn’t get in on the fun, you likely are left stomping and crying that you missed out on a generational guy. The first five guys off the board were obvious and all went in the top-15. However, there are a few names after the first round that warrant some discussion for the future.
Let’s dive into their prospect profiles and give a quick take on their fantasy outlook in dynasty and their range of outcomes for the next few years.
Editor’s Note: For more on the 2021 rookie class, check out all of our NFL Draft content and listen to the Fantasy Footballers podcast for the week’s AFC & NFC Winners and Losers show where the Footballers break down each position after the draft.
Trevor Lawrence –Jacksonville Jaguars
Round 1, Pick 1
We all knew this was coming. Jacksonville’s franchise gets to press reset on their recent draft failings and now envision what could be moving forward. The AFC South division is by far the worst in the league and while the Jaguars defense needs major work, the offense could make some noise in 2021. This might be the best offensive pairing ever for a #1 overall QB. He has three legitimate WRs all following after their fathers (D.J. Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr.) and three RBs each able to contribute (James Robinson, Carlos Hyde, & fellow 1st rounder Travis Etienne). Is Trev & Trav going to be a thing? Don’t even get me started if Tim Tebow signs on as TE. Lawrence’s generational chorus has been sung again and again but where he excelled in 2020 at Clemson was short-area and deep passing. In 2020, he led college football in “screen yards” for a reason while also accumulating a 113.4 passer rating and ten TDs on 20+ yard pass attempts. As I wrote up recently, “the [deep and short] areas are mostly predetermined before the snap where Lawrence has made up his mind and is going with the primary read on the play. It just needs to be noted that many of the plays seem designed to make his primary read and go with it.” For more on Lawrence, check out his 2021 Rookie Profile.
Fantasy Outlook: Lawrence should comfortably be the 1.01 in rookie Superflex drafts and should have moments as a viable streamer in 2021. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Lawrence finishes year one inside the top-15. I did a full in-depth analysis on Can Rookie QBs Sustaining WR Production? if you want to project out the rest of the Jaguars’ offense.
Zach Wilson –New York Jets
Round 1, Pick 2
It seemed like Wilson was the slam dunk 2nd pick all along. The baby-faced BYU signal-caller made his mark on an “out-of-nowhere” junior season where he put up 41 combined touchdowns albeit against weak competition. Wilson won over scouts and Jets management with his “off-platform” throws and improvisation skills that many likened to Aaron Rodgers or dare we say Patrick Mahomes. While those are a bit grandiose, Wilson does have the mobility to make things happen on the ground and the Jets seem to be surrounding him with the type of weapons and offensive line protection that Sam Darnold never had. For more on Wilson, I wrote up his 2021 Rookie Profile with film analysis and some of my fears of how he might adjust to the NFL.
Fantasy Outlook: It looks like Wilson will start Day 1. The pairing with Kyle Shanahan protegé Mike LaFleur is encouraging to see his development. He’s firmly the 4th QB off the board in terms of rookie picks behind Lawrence, Lance, and Fields.
Trey Lance –San Francisco 49ers
Round 1, Pick 3
The most talked-about pick of the draft finally ended with NDSU’s Trey Lance being unveiled as the 49ers “Man of Mystery”. Lance has a rocket arm and unbelievable rushing upside that makes him enticing running San Francisco’s West Coast offense. While the team has said Jimmy Garoppolo is the starter, it remains to be seen when the transition will take place to the talented Lance. For more on Lance’s scouting, check out Marvin Elequin’s Rookie Profile.
Fantasy Outlook: Lance’s ceiling is someone who could break fantasy football scoring in a couple of years. He also comes with massive risks playing at the Division-II level and a lack of overall experience. Still, he’s young and at this point, it’s hard arguing with the success Kyle Shanahan has had molding QBs. In SuperFlex leagues, Lance is in consideration for the 2nd QB off the board with Justin Fields.
Justin Fields –Chicago Bears
Round 1, Pick 11
The tumble to pick 11 was unforeseen by many draft pundits (including myself) but the ammo that Chicago unloaded to move up nine spots and trade with the Giants shows you just how desperate this team was to jump on Fields. He’s an effortless thrower and a dynamic runner who has shown out well in big spots on the national stage. While Andy Dalton apparently is the team’s QB1, we’ve seen this same refrain when Mike Glennon (yes, the great MG) was named starter only for #2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky to quickly supplant him. Fields is way more talented and should resurrect the marketability of this Bears franchise and give Allen Robinson II some optimism about who is throwing him the ball.
Fantasy Outlook: Fields could end up being the best QB in this class and I don’t think many people would shy away from that statement. I’m unashamed truther and his 2021 Rookie Profile is full of me gushing over his potential in the NFL. He could easily be a top-5 fantasy QB in a couple of years if the Bears surround him with the right weapons.
Mac Jones –New England Patriots
Round 1, Pick 15
McCorkle! Michael McCorkle Jones went right about where we thought he would go before all of the 49er whispers in the bushes. Jones’ production in 2020 was historic at Alabama and his fast processing skills and accuracy are what made him a first-round pick despite the “dad-bod”. He should mix in well with OC Josh McDaniels in Foxboro. For more on Jones from a scouting perspective, my colleague Matthew Betz wrote up his 2021 Rookie Profile.
Fantasy Outlook: Jones will likely work behind Cam Newton in 2021 as he adjusts. However, every year “2nd-tier” rookie QBs slide in rookie drafts. Getting Jones in the late 2nd round is a solid strategy for someone you know will get playing time soon.
Kyle Trask- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Round 2, Pick 32 (64th overall)
Trask was uber-productive his senior year at Florida thanks in part to Kyle Pitts & Kadarius Toney. He’s an accurate pocket passer who finds himself in a great situation to sit-and-wait behind the G.O.A.T. He did have issues moving to his 2nd progression as he was a first-read-only guy. Jason loved him in the pre-draft scouting process and the Bucs agreed using big-time draft capital where they easily could’ve addressed depth at other positions.
Fantasy Outlook: Who knows how long Bruce Arians and Tom Brady are going to stick around in Tampa Bay? The fact Trask doesn’t run knocks his overall upside down even if TB12 decided to hang ’em up.
Kellen Mond- Minnesota Vikings
Round 3, Pick 2 (66th overall)
This selection had some draft experts puzzled as Kirk Cousins is under contract for two more years. Some in the NFL Media (Chris Simms) had Mond as high as #3 on their board among QBs reminding them of Dak Prescott. Nevertheless, he is an intriguing developmental guy to sit on the bench and learn the NFL game. The team spent a 7th rounder on Nate Stanley last year but it looks like Mond is the next man up behind Cousins.
Fantasy Outlook: Mond’s path is obviously blocked but he has enough tools that he merits a spot on a taxi squad roster in deep dynasty leagues. Who knows… we might be talking about him in a few years as a potential steal at this point in the draft.
Davis Mills- Houston Texans
Round 3, Pick 3 (67th overall)
Mills went to pick directly after Mond as the Texans seem to be possibly tipping their hand in the Deshaun Watson situation. Mills gained some steam towards the end of the pre-draft process but it is interesting that a team with so many positional holes and such little draft capital took their first pick on a QB. This team is heading towards the cellar in 2021 so why not wait to grab your elite franchise QB next year if it’s time to move on from Watson? Nevertheless, Mills was labeled as “pro-ready” by many and has a strong enough arm and size (6’4, 217) to make it in this league.
Ian Book- New Orleans Saints
Round 4, Pick 28 (133rd overall)
The former Notre Dame QB feels like he’s been around forever. He’s more of an athlete who happens to be throwing than football than an NFL QB at this point. He’s not huge (6’0, 211) but his added mobility makes him interesting when you pair that with a creative team like the Saints. He’ll need to work on his accuracy and will have time behind Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill in 2021.
Fantasy Outlook: Book will be the only Saints QB under contract beyond 2021 so if you have an extra spot on the end of your bench or access to a taxi squad, it’s not the craziest wait-and-see approach.
Sam Ehrlinger- Indianapolis Colts
Round 6, Pick 34 (218th overall)
Ehrlinger was a high-profile NCAA QB hyped as an NFL prospect early in college before stumbling to the finish. This was a compensation pick for Indianapolis and Ehrlinger is more of a luxury considering they spent a 4th round pick on Jacob Eason last year. Carson Wentz is still a wildcard in this situation but the fact this regime traded assets to acquire him should close tight any rumors about these other young QBs.
Fantasy Outlook: He’s going to be chilling on your dynasty waiver wire.
Feleipe Franks- Atlanta Falcons
Collin Hill- Cincinnati Bengals
Shane Buchele- Kansas City Chiefs
Ben DeLuca- Los Angeles Chargers
Jamie Newman- Philadelphia Eagles