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Bryce Young – Sell Off or Buy Low ?

Byrce Young was the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. After a terrible rookie season, should you be looking to buy or sell on the second-year quarterback? Coach Steve breaks it down.

Bryce Young was the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Many folks were torn on the player due to his size, but he had the talent to throw the ball very well. After an extremely disappointing rookie season, Young is at a crossroads for dynasty owners. The most important question is whether this is a great time to buy low on the former first-overall pick or if you should look to sell on his draft capital and move on before it is too late.

The 2023 Season

Young did not have a great rookie season for any fantasy owners. He would only finish as QB23 on the season. Young was not able to do much to make him startable in fantasy. He had two games over 20 fantasy points and four games over ten on the season. Outside of those four games, he was around seven fantasy points per game, which was terrible.

Photo Courtesy of John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

Young was the former first-round pick in the NFL draft, making him a top-five rookie pick in most Superflex leagues. I’ve seen it where Young was drafted over Richardson and CJ Stroud, who both showed better production.

Young came into the league with a disadvantage with his size and weight. Young stands at 5’10” and around 200 lbs for a quarterback. There have been photos showing how small Young looks in the offense behind his offensive line. Young’s efficiency, especially with his accuracy, was not good, which was a strong suit for him coming into the league. He would finish in the bottom 12 in most completion % situations. He was outside the top 33 in deep ball accuracy despite being in the top 12 in air yards and deep ball attempts. His passing yards ranked 20th in the league, with just two games over 250 passing yards. He wasn’t careful with the ball either, with 16 turnovers on the season.

Young also was in a terrible Panthers offense in 2023. The offensive line was awful, allowing a league-high 62 sacks on Young. Sometimes, those sacks were on him a little bit, but it was a bad offensive line for the most part. They had a very up-and-down run game in a rotation with two backs all season. Young’s best weapon was 33-year-old Adam Thielen, who fell off in the second half of the season. The rest were rookie Jonathan Mingo and incumbent DJ Chark and Terrace Marshall. The tight end position had no talent, and they were one of the fewer targeted positions in the league. He also lost his coach mid-season due to how badly the team played football despite his easy division.

Let’s say that Young’s rookie season is one to forget and that better things will come. In the rest of this article, we will compare Young to other 2023 rookies, 1st overall QBs, and QBs who have busted over the years. We will finish looking into the future and whether or not you should buy Young or sell off as fast as possible.

Young vs. Other 2023 Rookies

GPCompAttYdsTDsRu AtRu YdsRu TDSacksInt6 PP TD
CJ Stroud1521.333.3273.91.52.611.10.22.50.321.3
Anthony Richardson412.521.0144.30.86.334.01.01.80.318.7
Aidan O’Connell1119.431.2209.31.11.51.00.12.20.613.9
Will Levis916.628.3200.90.92.86.30.13.10.412.9
Tommy DeVito912.719.8122.30.94.021.70.12.90.312.2
Tyson Bagent518.828.6171.80.64.621.80.41.01.211.9
Bryce Young1619.732.9179.80.62.415.80.03.90.610.6
Young’s per game vs. the rest of the 2023 class (no minimum games)

Looking back at the 2023 draft class, we saw many rookie quarterbacks get some action on Sundays. There were seven quarterbacks to play at least four games as a rookie, and Young, on a per-game basis, was the worst of them. The two quarterbacks that went right after him are Stroud and Richardson. Stroud looked amazing as a rookie and now is the clear QB1 in this class. His value in fantasy has skyrocketed. Richardson was a raw talent, but he averaged 18 fantasy points per game in four starts due to his rushing. While Young had more rushing yards per game than Stroud, the passing yards per game heavily favored Stroud.

The only stat Young led this season was he was sacked more per game. He did not lead in any other common stats among these rookies. Even if we looked at rookies who played at least nine games, Young was still at the bottom among those rookies. Young did have the worst offensive talent around him with the receivers and run game. Despite Tommy DeVito and Will Levis having a poor receiving group, they had strong run games, at least. If we head into 2024, Young will be one of four quarterbacks likely to have a starting job.

QBs Drafted 1st Overall

GPCompAttYdsTDsRu AtRu YdsRu TDSacksInt6 PP TD
Cam Newton1619.432.3253.21.37.944.10.92.21.124.9
Baker Mayfield1422.134.7266.11.92.89.40.01.81.020.2
Andrew Luck1621.239.2273.41.43.915.90.32.61.119.5
Jameis Winston1619.533.4252.61.43.413.30.41.70.919.3
Joe Burrow1026.440.4268.81.33.714.20.33.20.519.0
Kyler Murray1621.833.9232.61.32.815.30.23.00.817.3
Carson Palmer1320.233.2222.81.41.43.60.11.91.415.0
Matthew Stafford1020.137.7226.71.32.010.80.22.52.014.3
Sam Bradford1622.136.9219.51.11.73.90.12.10.913.5
Bryce Young1619.732.9179.80.62.415.80.03.90.610.6
Minimal 10 Games Based on the last 20 years (Only missing Alex Smith, Jared Goff, Eli Manning, and JaMarcus Rusell)

Young is part of an elite grouping where there have been 14 quarterbacks drafted first overall over the last 20 seasons. Young’s per-game average was the worst among quarterbacks who played at least ten games during their rookie season. The only players Young would beat were the four quarterbacks who did not play ten games during their rookie season. The good news for Young is that every quarterback except JaMarcus Russell has played at least four years as a starter in their NFL career.

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire

Since the 2013 fantasy leaders’ stats started, 11 of those first-overall quarterbacks have had at least one QB1 season. The only ones who didn’t were Sam Bradford and JaMarcus Russell, who did not have a QB1 during their careers. That is an 84% chance that Young could have a QB1 season in his career. Despite Young’s terrible season, he has a chance, but that can’t be certain. In an era that now is pass-heavy, Young had the fewest yards per game and could not average at least a passing touchdown in each game. Once again, Young averaged the most sacks per game.

The closest one to Young’s size has been Kyler Murray, who is the same height and is close in weight. Murray has had three QB1 seasons, but we know Murray’s dynasty value has been a little up and down over his career. In the last three seasons, Murray has missed games, which Young could go through based on his size. Despite Young averaging more yards rushing than Murray during his rookie season, Young was not profiled as a rushing quarterback. If we took his per-game average with Murray’s rushing attempts (93), Young would have had over 600 rushing yards, but he only had 37 carries. Young’s future could be very up and down.

Youngs vs. QB Busts

GPCompAttYdsTDsRu AtRu YdsRu TDSacksInt6 PP TD
Baker Mayfield1323.837.4286.52.13.010.10.71.91.125.9
Daniel Jones1223.738.3252.32.03.823.30.23.21.020.2
Jameis WInston1619.533.4252.61.43.413.30.41.70.919.3
Marcus Mariota1219.230.8234.81.62.821.00.23.20.818.7
Teddy Bridgwater1221.633.5243.31.23.917.40.13.31.016.5
Mac Jones1720.730.6223.61.32.67.60.01.60.815.1
Sam Danrold1318.431.8220.41.33.410.60.12.31.215.1
EJ Manuel1018.030.6197.21.15.318.60.22.80.914.5
Blake Bortles1321.536.5223.70.84.332.20.04.21.313.6
Kenny Pickett1220.432.4200.30.64.619.80.32.30.812.8
Zach Wilson1316.429.5179.50.72.214.20.33.40.812.1
Mitch Trubisky1216.327.5182.80.63.420.70.22.60.611.0
Bryce Young1619.732.9179.80.62.415.80.03.90.610.6
Josh Rosen1316.730.2175.20.81.810.60.03.51.19.5
Young vs other “QB Bust” during their rookie season by per game (10 games minimum)

The final comparison is Young against other quarterbacks who were top-two rounds drafted but were labeled as busts at some point in the last ten seasons. Young, again, was the second-worst quarterback among these other 13 quarterbacks. Of those 13 quarterbacks, six quarterbacks had had at least a top-15 season in the last ten years. If we dive into these quarterbacks, Manuel and Rosen are far from the league. During their rookie contracts, Winston, Mariota, Bridgewater, Darnold, and Trubisky got their shot as rookies but have moved to high-end backup players. Daniel Jones, Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett, and Zach Wilson are all on their last legs as starters due to poor play. Mayfield seems to be moving away from that bust status with a great 2023 season. Blake Bortles had the most QB1 seasons with three, but he is already out of the league.

Young stats don’t show much promise against these other quarterbacks, who all have seen the bust label. During the 2022/2023 offseasons, there have been many trades. I’ve seen 1st round picks go from Zach Wilson, Daniel Jones, and Kenny Pickett, and those trades don’t look great for those you traded for these quarterbacks. Young had the lowest average touchdowns and the lowest interceptions per game. These stats also show Young’s offensive line was terrible, as he averaged the second-most sacks per game.

What Young’s Future Looks Like

As we know, Young had one of the worst rookie seasons for a player who was drafted first overall and played an entire season. What does Young’s future look like? Can he bounce back like other first-overall quarterbacks, or does the bust label get put on him by the end of 2024?

The Panthers don’t have a first-round pick to help give Young a top-tier pass catcher to help him develop. The team has the 13th most cap space heading into the offseason. Some top-tier receivers like Tee Higgin, Michael Pittman Jr, and Mike Evans are hitting free agency. They need someone at receivers since they can’t go into 2024 with Adam Thielen as the WR1. They have one of the worst offensive lines in football, who allowed over 60 sacks in 2023. The Panthers need to address that to keep Young from getting hurt. They have a mediocre backfield that hopefully can help the offense in 2024.

The new saving grace for Young may be new head coach Dave Canales. Canales signed a six-year deal to be the Panthers’ new head coach. Canales could help Young because of his recent success with former “bust” quarterbacks. Two years ago, Canales turned Geno Smith into a QB1 for fantasy and had the best year of his NFL career after almost six years as a backup. Last season, Canales turned Baker Mayfield into a QB1 for fantasy after a forgetful 2022 season where we thought the end of Mayfield was coming. He has gotten the most out of his quarterbacks and pushed them into fantasy-relevant seasons.

Unlike Young’s situation for 2024, Canales had better weapons around his quarterbacks. Canales had DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Ken Walker in Seattle to help propel Geno Smith. He had Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rachaad White in Tampa to help Mayfield. This will be the toughest challenge, as the Panthers can’t enter 2024 with Adam Thielen, Jonathan Mingo, and Chuba Hubbard as the weapons around him. What Canales may help with Young is making him run the ball and double his rushing output, which could help his value. Mayfield and Smith had more carries under Canales than not with him. They also had a better completion % with Canales as well.

Rush AttemptsCompletion %Y/A
W/ CanalasW/O CanalasW/ CanalasW/O CanalasW/ CanalasW/O Canalas
Mayfield893164.03607.16.5
Smith683769.864.77.57.3

Canales was the best hire to help fix Bryce Young for fantasy potentially, but will that help in 2024? I think the answer is no. The Panthers have way more holes on offense that they need to fix and not enough cap space to bring in a strong offense before 2024. Young doesn’t have a WR1, and I don’t think they will get one. They will sign someone, but not a true WR1. Young is disadvantaged due to his size, and few quarterbacks can hold up for a 17-game season.

I think the best possible situation for Young is that he finishes as QB18 in 2024, but if that happens, many will be off Young before you know it. I think selling off for a mid to late first-round pick makes more sense now, and getting value before you can’t sell him for much. Young is not in a better situation than Zach Wilson a few years ago. Wilson was going for a late first during the 2022 offseason, and by the end, you may have been able to get a late second round at best.

Young may have a chance to rebound like so many other first-overall quarterbacks have, but it won’t be in 2024. I would rather sell off the value now and buy back after the team invests more in the offense. Young is a better sell-off than a buy-in dynasty at this time.

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