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2023 Flag Plants: Quarterback Justin Herbert

The 2023 season is almost upon us and it is time to stake our claim on who our guys are. @DanT_NFL plants his flag on who he has at QB1 overall in fantasy football.

Training camps are underway, and it is time for the dynasty community to put more emphasis on the 2023 season. After all, we are in this to win titles, and the 2023 season presents another opportunity to do just that. Regarding roster construction, especially in Superflex, the quarterback position is the foundation of a title run. Having the QB1 overall on your team is often a cheat code, and determining that player before the start of Week One is critical. The easy answer is to go with Patrick Mahomes, but my flag plant is a bit contrarian. Justin Herbert will finish as QB1 overall and is my 2023 Flag Plant.

Why Herbert?

What Went Wrong In 2022

After finishing the 2021 season as the QB2 overall in most fantasy scoring formats, Justin Herbert came in at just QB11 in the 2022 season. Something changed in that span to cause such a dropoff. Despite seeing almost 30 more pass attempts in 2022, Herbert threw for nearly 300 fewer yards and 13 fewer touchdowns. The touchdown rate was an outlier in his short career, and hopefully, he can return to 2020 & 2021 levels. Another contributing factor was Keenan Allen missing seven games, the most he has missed since 2016.

2023 Season Changes

One of the most significant upgrades of the 2023 offseason was the firing of Joe Lombardi and the hiring of former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Under Lombardi, Herbert had an average depth of target ranked 25th in 2021 and 39th in 2022. This shows the dip in efficiency we saw in his stat line when comparing those two seasons. In that same time under Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott ranked 13th and 15th in the league in average depth of target. Herbert has a big arm, and Moore is about to unleash it. 

Another big help this upcoming season will be the return of a healthy Keenan Allen and the addition of first-round wide receiver Quentin Johnston. Allen is much more integral to Herbert’s game than most realize. In games with Allen in 2022, Herbert completed 69% of his passes. That number dropped to just 64% in the eight games without Allen. Allen’s return will also help improve the efficiency of this offense. Allen just turned 31 but should have at least one more campaign. The team has an out in his contract after 2024, a conversation for another article.

TCU wide receiver Johnston was selected with the 21st overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Johnston had over a thousand yards in his final season at TCU, a season that culminated with a trip to the National Championship game. Johnston will slide into a starting role in three wide receiver sets, of which Kellen Moore used 68% of the time in Dallas in 2021. On top of that, Johnston adds some much-needed injury insurance if Keenan Allen or Mike Williams were to miss time. 

How To Capitalize

Startup Rankings

Capitalizing on value for Herbert is extremely hard to do. He is currently ranked as our QB3 in dynasty but is going off the board as the sixth overall player in Superflex NerdsADP. If you are in a Superflex startup, you must be within the top-seven picks to even consider capitalizing on Herbert’s value. The one move I could recommend is trading back from the second or third pick into the fifth or sixth pick. That gets you a little value while keeping you within Herbert’s tier. It is a risky move, so if it were me, I would select Herbert top three if given the option. 

Trade Market

The trade market is where we can capitalize on any undervaluing that Justin Herbert may be going through. Any trade for Herbert will require you to send one of your quarterbacks. It is next to impossible to trade for a quarterback in Superflex leagues without giving one up. Especially when trading for a top-tier player like Herbert. The most optimal move would be to use a lower quarterback to “tier up” to the elite level. If we want to win a championship, an elite-level quarterback is almost necessary. Look at some Justin Herbert trades from our DynastyGM trade browser tool.

Beyond 2023

The gexcellentnews for dynasty managers is that this move is an upgrade beyond 2023. Just this week, the Los Angeles Chargers and Herbert agreed to a deal to keep him a Bolt for a long time. The extension is for five years and is worth up to $262.5 million. It also includes $133.7 million in guarantees. The $52.5 million average salary makes him the highest-paid quarterback on the market. That is until the Joe Burrow extension comes in sometime later this summer.

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I hope you enjoyed this piece on one of my 2023 flag plants. Be sure to check back often, as I will reveal all of them before the start of the 2023 season. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!

One Response

  1. I certainly hope your right as I have loved the kid ever since I first saw him play in high school. That said I had this take last year and it almost bit me in the a** so hopefully this year is different

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