I’m not big on first year players as it pertains to their place on my fantasy roster, but I’m not saying rookies don’t have value – because they clearly do. The question remains, off all the rookies drafted, who if any will have a fantasy impact and when will that impact start to take effect. These are important questions, because you have a choice when you are going to draft these guys, and whether or not you are going to expect them to move the needle. I want to provide analysis on all major positions but we are going to unpack the QB position in this piece. Every year there are franchise QBs entering the league, but when they actually start making a legit fantasy impact is all over the board. Carson Wentz was average in his first year, and than led the league in passing TDs in 14 games his second year. Deshaun Watson was on pace to break every rookie QB passing record last season before a devastating injury, and he wasn’t even a starter in Week 1 – so you see where I’m going with this.
#1 Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns (1st overall)
Don’t count on Mayfield for anything this season or ever for that matter. I actually love the guys, I’d love to have him as a teammate, and I love the chip he has on his shoulder. I want him to do great, but the Cleveland Browns as a franchise, are more immature than he is. The Browns have Deshone Kizer and Tyrod Taylor already, and could’ve afforded to wait another year for a QB via the draft or through free agency. Mayfield is undersized but makes up for it in grit – and he’s super accurate, which is his best quality. He’s a winner, but not a fantasy needle mover. Take a pass.
#2 Sam Darnold – New York Jets (3rd overall)
I think Darnold is the most NFL ready QB in this draft. I do think he’s in a tough environment, including the division he plays in, but his demeanor can likely hang… especially if Eli Manning can work in New York. Darnold can throw some picks, but so did Deshaun Watson in College. Darnold is exceptional at creating time and space with his legs and is great in the pocket as well. The weapons around him are questionable at best, so I’m letting him hit the wire as well. If you are in a keeper league, I’m stashing for sure, as I expect him to make a fantasy impact in year two once the gets have some time to get pieces around him.
#3 Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills (7th overall)
Allen is the polar opposite of Baker Mayfield. He’s mature, reserved on the side lines and struggles with accuracy. My feeling is that if a QB can’t complete passes at high percentage in college, he won’t be able to do it in the PROS and will struggle mightily. I think he’s in the absolute be environment in Buffalo. A cold weather team that needs a big strong arm in that northern wind. He has shown all the signs that he can improve, but he’ll need to put in the work. We’ll see when he get’s on the field, which should be sooner than later, because the Bill will be horrible on offensive. Worth a stash in keeper leagues.
#4 Josh Rosen – Arizona Cardinals (10th overall)
Rosen is a baller, and has the best mechanics of any of the first round QBs. He throws the ball accurately and is smart enough to understand the speed of the NFL game. Durability is an issue, but he’s got a chip on his shoulder for falling so far… likely because teams don’t want an oft injured QB. The Cardinals are the best landing spot for as they have a great pass catchers, a stellar backfield, and above average defense, and decent O-line as well. If you could use his inside voice when talking about how good he’s going to be he’ll be just fine. I’d take a flyer on him late in the draft, because his level of intelligence combined with his swagger leads me to believe that the game won’t be too fast for him.
#5 Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens (32nd overall)
I hate how experts are saying this kid can’t make it as a QB and that he needs to switch positions to have a shot. His numbers in college are comparable to Deshaun Watson’s without the team notoriety —- and Jackson didn’t have an NFL O-line, receivers and running backs like Watson did. So cut the guy some slack, the only reason he has no value this season is because he won’t see the field, which is fine. Let him play QB and if can’t swing it… than give him the Tim Tebow treatment. The dude is athletic, and can huck the ball, give the former Heisman winner a shot… at least.