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3 Quarterbacks who Won the Preseason

Every season players change their fortunes over the course of the preseason. @ReflipeWThenuz brings you three winners and three losers from the quarterback position.

Every year across the league, players change their fortunes on the back of their Preseason performances. Training camp and preseason are where players on the fringes change their fortunes. This principle holds true for the dynasty community as well. This article will cover three quarterbacks who came out of camp gaining value. Without further ado, let us dive into this intriguing topic.

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There was no bigger winner for fantasy purposes than former no.1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. The Heisman Trophy winner enjoyed a roller coaster ride of a run in Cleveland before his tumultuous departure. He began his run by breaking the rookie record for passing touchdowns in a season. He eventually led the Browns to their first playoff win in decades. Despite all this early success, Mayfield found his way out of Cleveland.

Last season, he struggled mightily in Carolina. He was one of the least efficient quarterbacks in the league. His poor play led to his eventual release. After this, he made his way to the Rams, where he resurrected his career in a series of quality performances over the last four games. These performances led to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking a chance on him with a 1-year deal. This means that Baker is playing for his career.

Baker entered 2023 and lined up for a training camp battle with former second-round pick Kyle Trask. Reports out of Tampa were that Trask played decent, but the arm talent and experience Baker brought to the table couldn’t be matched. Combined with Tampa’s veteran roster, it was eventually decided that Baker Mayfield would be the starting quarterback entering the season.

While Baker has unquestionably been a big camp winner, I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend to acquire Baker. I’m not even overly comfortable relying on him as an every-week starter. However, he is an excellent value for the position and a wonderful QB3 who you can spot-start and hope for a return to glory.

The Price you Pay

The best part about gambling on Baker is the price. When searching the Dynasty Nerds Trade Browser, you will find him going for peanuts. As you can see below, Mayfield can be had for as little as a mid-round pick or two. At that price, why would you not take a risk on a starting NFL quarterback?

At prices like this in Superflex leagues, I cannot recommend strongly enough to acquire any starting quarterback you can. Remember, there is always a chance that Baker could become the next Jared Goff or Geno Smith. Baker is, without question, a camp winner in 2023, and with prices this low, why would you not take a chance?

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell is another big winner for the 2023 camp season. The former North Carolina Tar Heel signal caller entered the year set up for a camp battle with veteran journeyman Jacoby Brissett. The talented youngster didn’t take long to distance himself from Brissett. Before the final week of the preseason, head coach Ron Rivera announced that Howell had won the job as a result of plays like the ones you see below.

Like Baker Mayfield, Sam Howell will be playing for his career in 2023. As a former fifth-round pick, Howell will not be given a long leash by D.C. ownership. A driving force behind that short leash will be the fact that the Washington Commanders were sold after the 2023 NFL draft. New ownership has zero commitment to either Howell or his coach, Ron Rivera. If he fails to impress, the team has neither the draft capital nor the emotional connection to their current signal caller.

Howell does have a nice set of weapons at his disposal with the Commanders. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel make up a dynamic trio of receivers. When you add Howell’s college teammate, Dyami Brown, you see a great complement of talent to help the young quarterback. A veteran tight end and some decent running backs, and Howell presents a nice value in Superflex leagues.

The Price you Pay

Despite being in a similar situation to Baker Mayfield, Sam Howell will cost you considerably more. Searching through the Dynasty Nerds Trade Browser reveals that enthusiasm for Howell has driven prices for Howell through the roof. You can find him going for as much as a quality quarterback and a decent pick or high draft picks alone.

Overall Sam Howell was a big winner. He solidified his position atop the Washington depth chart. Howell now enters a career-defining season with some quality weapons at his disposal. The quarterback also has the trust of his coach in the fact that their fates are inexplicably intertwined given their standing with new ownership. If you have a stomach for risk, Howell could be just the signal caller for you to invest in. 

Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback comes from a similar cloth as Sam Howell. Both were once highly thought of as college quarterbacks. Both also slipped somewhat in the 2022 draft yet landed on teams desperately needing new leadership at the most important position in football. Despite the Falcons signing Taylor Heinicke, Ridder won the camp battle early and appeared to have the full support of his coach and front office.

Like Sam Howell, Desmond Ridder enters 2023 with some very nice weapons around him on the offensive side of the ball. He has a pair of imposing targets at receiver and tight end with Drake London and Kyle Pitts. He also has an excellent pair of running backs to lean on with last year’s darling Tyler Allgeier and exciting first-round rookie Bijan Robinson. Add a decent offensive line, and Desmond Ridder is set up for success in the dirty South.

Another avenue that Desmond Ridder brings to the table is his rushing upside. During his time in college at Cincinnati, Desmond Ridder was a prolific runner. He had three seasons of over 500 rushing yards and a decent amount of rushing touchdowns to boot. That element of his game will give Ridder a chance to be a high-scoring running quarterback. Especially when paired with his dangerous running backs.

Rushing & Receiving Table
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 8/30/2023.

The Price you Pay

From a dynasty perspective, Ridder’s value lies somewhere between Howell and Mayfield. His dynasty prospects are somewhere between the two as well. Ridder has received support from team ownership and will lead a team that will have difficulty finishing in the bottom 5 to 10 teams, which means that the Falcons will likely not be in a position to draft a high quarterback next season, either. He has some nice upside, but with only a third-round pedigree, he could be replaced via trade or free agency if he struggles. That being said, a search of the Dynasty Nerds Trade Browser reveals that he can be had for a couple of seconds or a similar value, as you can see below.

Desmond Ridder is an interesting upside QB2 prospect for your Superflex teams. He had some excellent intangibles during his time as a starter in college. The reports out of Atlanta are that he is a fine leader and has the support of everyone in the organization, including his teammates. He easily won his camp battle with Heinicke and could be a nice asset for your Superflex team moving forward.

Final Thoughts:

Every year, training camp brings to light stories of players who grasp opportunity by the horns and don’t let go. These are just a few quarterbacks I believe to have been winners during the training camp and preseason portion of the year. Perhaps you would have named others, such as Anthony Richardson and Clayton Tune, winners. That is the beauty of this game we all love to play. The best advice I can give is to get the players you like. Nothing is better than gambling on players you like and seeing them pan out. Nobody remembers how much you paid for Daniel Jones after a difficult sophomore campaign in the NFL. When the gambles pay off, there’s nothing more satisfying.

Thank you for reading this article! Please be sure to join the #Nerdherd, so you don’t miss out on any of the amazing things we have to offer Use my promo code DynastyHolliday for a 15% off discount. You will get rankings, extra podcasts, and access to our rookie film room. For just a couple of bucks more, you can get access to our revolutionary DynastyGM tool. So much for so little, why miss out on all the fun? Also, you absolutely must check out our new mock draft tool. Find it in your Apple & Android app stores. Follow me @ReflipeWThenuz for more dynasty content and other musings.

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