Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks one analyst is higher or lower on than consensus this draft season

ECR stands for “Expert Consensus Ranking,” which means the average ranks of the fantasy football industry and is typically similar to ADP (which differs from site-to-site). This will be an ongoing positional series highlighting some big differences between ECR and my own ranks. We kick off the series with a look at the quarterbacks.

One analyst goes against consensus rankings: QBs | RBs who should go higher | RBs who should go lower | WRs who should go higher | WRs who should go lower | TEs

Quarterbacks I like more than consensus

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (ECR = QB6 vs DDD = QB2)

Hurts had the most fantasy points per dropback last season and enters 2022 with PFF’s top-ranked offensive line, DeVonta Smith ready to breakout inYear 2 and with the addition of A.J. Brown. Hurts was the No. 1 fantasy QB through 11 weeks last year before an injury adversely affected his play down the stretch for the second straight season, so he has real upside to go along with a nice floor thanks to all the rushing stats. Despite missing two games, Hurts tied for the fifth-most carries inside the five-yard line last season, as he saw more than Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb, Najee Harris and Dalvin Cook among other running backs who go early in fantasy drafts. Any concern about Hurts’ lack of production down the stretch can at least partially be blamed on the ankle injury that required surgery after the season.

Entering his third year and with Philadelphia adding one of the league’s best receivers, Hurts is the most glaring steal available in the mid rounds of fantasy drafts.

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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (ECR = QB13 vs DDD = QB5)

Lance is the biggest unknown entering the 2022 season, having started just three football games since 2019 yet taking over an offense that led the NFC in yards per play last season. Lance would’ve led in fantasy points per dropback by a mile as a rookie if he qualified, but some of that is because he entered during red-zone situations, and it must be noted he suffered a broken finger (that affected his throwing all year) and a sprained knee while seeing limited work last year. Again, there’s a huge range of boom/bust outcomes here.

Lance should be much more comfortable with a year of experience and a full offseason of starter preparation. He has the upside to be an immediate top-three fantasy QB given his rushing ability (he’s very fast, led all NFL QBs with 0.14 scrambles per dropback in 2021 and finished with 700+ more rushing yards than Justin Fields during their final college seasons).

He also has some positive team circumstances in his favor (Recall, Nick Mullens has the second-most passing yards over a QB’s first 16 starts in NFL history, and Kyle Shanahan’s offense has led the league in YAC+ in five of the past six years. Oh, and Brandon Aiyuk appears ready to explode).

While there’s injury concern, Lance’s ADP (110.2 on Yahoo) remains too low given his fantasy upside.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance is one of fantasy football's biggest mysteries going into the 2022 NFL season. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance is one of fantasy football's biggest mysteries going into the 2022 NFL season. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (ECR = QB14 vs DDD = QB11)

Cousins has somewhat quietly thrown 68 TD passes over the last two years despite playing for a football dinosaur defensive-minded coach who had the Vikings ranked 20th in pass rate over expectation last season. Captain Kirk is an underrated passer who plays indoors with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Irv Smith and K.J. Osborn (even WR4 Ihmir Smith-Marsette has real potential) and now gets a gigantic coaching upgrade that simply can’t be understated; Cousins goes from attempting by far the fewest play action passes to now having Rams coaches who helped produce 80% of their TDs through the air last year.

Finally freed from a coach who disliked him and with arguably the best offensive line of his career, don’t be surprised when Cousins has a better fantasy season than Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr.

Daniel Jones, New York Giants (ECR = QB22 vs DDD = QB15)

There are Jimmy Garoppolo to New York rumors swirling, but assuming Jones is the Giants’ starter this season, he’s being under-drafted in fantasy leagues. Jones has sneaky rushing ability, gets a huge coaching upgrade with Brian Daboll taking over and should get a much easier schedule in 2022. The Giants also drafted tackle Evan Neal in the top-10 to pair with a hopefully healthy Andrew Thomas, while Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley and impressive rookie Wan’Dale Robinson form a quietly strong supporting cast.

Jones has averaged more rushing yards per game than Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott throughout his career and is one of the league’s best deep passers, so he could easily be a top-eight fantasy QB this season given all the upgrades in New York.

Davis Mills, Houston Texans (ECR = QB27 vs DDD = QB21)

Detective Davis Mills was arguably the most impressive rookie quarterback last year during a season in which most struggled badly, even finishing as a top-10 fantasy QB over the final five games. He performed like a star at home, getting 7.9 YPA with a 12:1 TD:INT ratio over seven games despite shaky teammates and a downright bad coaching staff that repeatedly put Mills in tough situations. With Nico Collins ready to make a jump in Year 2 and Pep Hamilton taking over as offensive coordinator, Mills will be in a better situation this season and looks like one of the biggest steals in Superflex leagues.

[2022 Fantasy Draft Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs]

Quarterbacks I like less than consensus

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (ECR = QB2 vs DDD = QB6)

Given his age and the position he plays, I’d argue Herbert is a borderline top-five most valuable player across all sports right now, but he’s also a bit overrated in fantasy drafts. While he runs some, Herbert’s rushing stats simply can’t match Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray or Trey Lance, all of whom are being drafted later. It’s just simple math when it comes to fantasy scoring.

Herbert is also held back a bit by LA’s coaching, as OC Joe Lombardi continues to refuse to stretch the field. Herbert was the QB8 in expected fantasy points per game last year; put differently, had Joe Burrow attempted the same number of passes last season, he’d have thrown for 945 more yards than Herbert, who could have a tough time living up to his lofty 37.9 ADP.

Zach Wilson, New York Jets (ECR = QB23 vs DDD = QB28)

I hope I’m wrong about Wilson, but the same concerns surrounding him leaving college remain. Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall admittedly provide nice weapons, but Wilson is coming off a truly dreadful rookie performance that would require a significant jump to even approach average. He struggled with accuracy while finishing with the fewest yards per dropback among all quarterbacks over the last three seasons. Wilson doesn’t require a high pick, but he has Superflex appeal, and it would certainly be bad news for Moore’s fantasy value should the apparent franchise QB continue to struggle.

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