With the explosion of the Superflex format in dynasty fantasy football, one thing is clearer than ever before. Quarterback is King. After back-to-back strong draft classes for the position, 2022 looks completely underwhelming. My fellow Devy Nerd Andrew Harbough drew comparisons to the dreadful 2014 QB class in his latest piece. Luckily, there is plenty of talent coming up through the Devy pipeline. The next three draft cycles are loaded with promising, NFL-caliber signal callers who will make an impact on Day 1. In the first installment of my Devy Landscape series, let’s closely examine what is in store for fantasy managers at the position.
Bryce Young, Alabama | 6’0” 194 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The battle for QB1 in the 2023 rookie class has already started and will only intensify over the next year. For me, it is the poised signal-caller down in Tuscaloosa. Assuming even marginal improvement from his sophomore to junior season, Young will enter the NFL Draft as one of my highest-graded QB prospects of the last decade. The kid oozes arm talent, pedigree, and athleticism. More importantly, he is in control of the field at all times and is an excellent decision-maker.
Nick Saban raves about his young QB being a mature, coachable leader of the Alabama program. He is remarkably polished and looks like a point guard commanding the field in a way that reminds me of Russell Wilson. Don’t let his lack of rushing production fool you, Young has wheels and can improvise when needed. He needs to clean up his footwork a bit but let’s not overthink this. Young was the top dual-threat QB in the 2020 recruiting class then proceeded to win the Heisman in his first season as a starter at Alabama.
In 2022, Young will lead an offense with several new faces including highly regarded transfer running back Jahmyr Gibbs. The receiving corps will feature former Georgia Bulldog Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks, both of whom are poised to take the next step in full-time roles with Young at the helm. I am mesmerized by this strike down the sideline to John Metchie III against Georgia.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State | 6’3” 218 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
C.J. Stroud has taken an interesting path to this spot. Much like Young, he spent his first season learning behind a future first-round draft pick. Stroud’s job was far less certain entering the 2021 season, though. After a loss against Oregon in September, followed by an underwhelming performance against Tulsa, many fans were calling for Kyle McCord to take over as the Buckeyes’ starting QB. That was seemingly the turning point for Stroud. Over his next nine games, he vaulted himself into Heisman consideration with 3,472 yards, 36 touchdowns, only three interceptions, and a remarkable 74.7% completion rate.
Now Stroud enters his redshirt sophomore season looking to build off his strong finish with a supporting cast that rivals any group in the country. He is a high-IQ pocket passer and does a phenomenal job processing information. The placement he puts on his throws is truly next level. Stroud is surrounded by other elite devy assets, starting with TreVeyon Henderson in the backfield and arguably the most complete receiver in college football, Jaxon Smith-Njigba. If the Rose Bowl was any sort of preview, this Ohio State offense will be as electric as ever in their pursuit of a National Championship. Check out a collection of Stroud’s best throws from last season below.
Caleb Williams, USC | 6’1” 215 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The new big man on campus in Pasadena spent his freshman season shooting up devy boards and exceeding the hype placed on him as a top recruit. Williams totaled 27 touchdowns and threw just four interceptions, replacing former top prospect Spencer Rattler as Oklahoma’s starting QB. Now paired up with Lincoln Riley at USC, Williams looks to become college football’s next do-it-all superstar. Looking like a 6’1” version of Kyler Murray, Williams has limitless NFL upside, especially being tied to his QB whisperer of a head coach. He has elite athleticism at his position, a live arm, and his ability to improvise to extend plays is unmatched by any QB in college football.
USC will be under intense pressure in 2022 as this entirely new offense looks to bring the program back to life. I see no reason why this team, led by Williams, shouldn’t compete for a conference title this fall. With Travis Dye and Raleek Brown manning the backfield, the Trojans should be able to take some pressure off Williams with the rushing attack. There is plenty of talent at the WR position to support Williams as well. Mario Williams and CJ Williams are the two high-profile additions to an experienced receiving corps. There are only a handful of QBs at any level that can make this throw look so easy.
Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss | 6’2” 220 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Lane Kiffin and Jaxson Dart seem like a match made in fantasy heaven. I think everyone is on board with Dart’s physical tools and arm talent. He will now be in an offense that should produce at an extremely high rate against SEC competition. I want as many shares as possible. Dart showed flashes of brilliance in his freshman season after taking the starting job from Kedon Slovis. He has a natural feel for the game and impresses with his ability to extend the play. There is no questioning his physical traits, as he possesses prototypical size for the position. He has a very good touch and anticipation between all levels. His profile strikes me as one that will transfer well to the NFL if he can develop in Lane Kiffin’s offense.
Dart brings Michael Trigg with him from USC, who looks poised to become a top devy target at tight end. The other splash transfer is former TCU RB Zach Evans. With Jonathan Mingo returning at WR, and these key additions from the transfer portal, Ole Miss should have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. The Rebels now have top 5 prospects at QB, RB, and TE. Dart’s devy stock will surely benefit from this supporting class, even more than it has already. There is a very realistic path where Dart leaps Caleb Williams in rankings and becomes the 2024 QB1.
There’s no reason Quinn Ewers & Jaxson Dart should be separated by 20-25 picks in #devy startups. At best, Ewers is a marginally better asset. Spend your late first elsewhere and take Dart at his price all day. He and Kiffin are a match made in fantasy heaven. #DevyNerds pic.twitter.com/mVXs3bhFS5— Justin Hulsey (@FF_Hulsey) April 12, 2022
Quinn Ewers, Texas | 6’2” 205 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I give pause ranking a QB this high when they have never taken a collegiate snap. If anyone deserves the hype it is Morgan Wallen-imposter Quinn Ewers. The Southlake Carroll product is a former five-star recruit and is one of only five players to ever receive a perfect 247Sports rating. He checked every box coming out of high school; prototypical size, enough athleticism to make him dangerous as a runner, deadly accurate on the move, effortless delivery, and NFL arm strength. Ewers is a first-round pick in startups so it may depend on how risk-averse you are as a devy manager.
Ewers’ ADP makes him an extremely high-risk player right now, but he will be nearly untouchable if their offense lives up to the hype. Texas certainly has weapons at its disposal and the situation is ripe for success. Bijan Robinson is considered by many to be the top devy asset in football, Xavier Worthy has emerged as the 2024 WR1, and they added impact transfers to fill out the receiving corps. Ewers finds himself in a situation with limitless upside in Austin. Here is our first look at one of the most dangerous QB-WR connections in the country.
Quinn Ewers to Xavier Worthy. 👀— Nick Penticoff (@NickPenticoff) April 10, 2022
CONTENDERS & PRETENDERS
Anthony Richardson, Florida | 6’4” 237 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I have fully warmed up to the idea that Richardson will emerge from the pack as the 2023 QB3. He gave us a sample of what he’s capable of in 2021, and now he enters his redshirt sophomore season with a massive coaching upgrade. Richardson’s passing line was relatively pedestrian with 529 yards, a 59.4% completion rate, and six touchdowns. He showed flashes of his fantasy upside as a dual-threat QB, though. Richardson is one of the most dynamic players in college football. We should have an opportunity to see that on full display in 2022. He has all the tools that NFL scouts look for in a modern QB packed into a pro-ready frame. Ultimately, there is a wide range of outcomes, but Richardson is the only 2023 quarterback with the upside to entering the Young/Stroud tier.
The big question mark with the Florida offense is Richardson’s supporting cast. The skill positions will see an influx of talent from a strong recruiting class. Head coach Billy Napier has reiterated the need to add via the transfer portal as well. Senior WR Justin Shorter is an interesting post-hype sleeper candidate if this offense clicks.
This throw by Anthony Richardson demonstrates so much of what there is to love about him as a quarterback prospect:— Andrew Harbaugh 🇺🇦 (@MandrewNFL) April 8, 2022
– Smooth, mechanically sound throwing motion
– Good footwork
– Patience in the pocket
– Touch/placement on this deep ball
Sign. Me. Up. #GoGators 🐊 pic.twitter.com/zh6PSM00VD
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami | 6’4” 224 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
One of the biggest devy risers over the last 12 months is ACC Rookie of the Year Tyler Van Dyke. He took over as Miami’s starting QB for the final nine games of the season and posted a 2931-25-6 passing line with the 11th best QB rating in the FBS. Van Dyke is an effortless thrower with great touch and has prototypical NFL size. I am impressed with his ability to deliver an accurate ball on the run. All reports out of Miami this spring have been positive for TVD but I am concerned with the passing game under Mario Cristobal. His fantasy upside will always be capped by his inability to provide rushing production.
This Hurricanes offense is in good shape at RB and TE. There is a dire need for playmakers in the receiving unit, though. I have speculated that Miami may be a potential landing spot for Alabama transfer receiver Agiye Hall, which would be a huge get for Van Dyke. The redshirt sophomore recently made headlines when sportsbooks posted early odds for the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner. Van Dyke was listed +3000 to win the award, behind only C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Caleb Williams, and DJ Uiagalelei.
Spencer Rattler, South Carolina | 6’1” 200 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Seven months ago, Spencer Rattler was unanimously considered the 2022 QB1 and a potential number one overall draft pick. Then Caleb Williams happened. Rattler lost the job in a Williams-led comeback win against Texas and now finds himself looking to rehabilitate his draft stock at South Carolina. Not much has changed with Rattler the pro prospect. He still possesses natural arm talent, a quick release, and a certain creativeness in the pocket that translates to today’s NFL. In nine games (six starts) in 2021, Rattler completed passes at an exceptional 75% rate but those flashes of brilliance were a little less frequent. If you remove the game against Western Carolina, he threw for just six touchdowns to five interceptions.
I like Rattler’s odds to bounce back, though. The situation in South Carolina is sneaky good with major additions via the transfer portal along with key returning skill position players. MarShawn Lloyd will man the backfield with Josh Vann, Corey Rucker, and Antwane Wells filling out an underrated receiving unit. Rattler is out of excuses and now has a unique opportunity to re-invent himself in the SEC.
J.J. McCarthy, Michigan | 6’3” 197 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I have been the self-proclaimed President of the J.J. McCarthy fan club since his high school days. The hype cooled a bit with his recent injury but surgery is not required and he has still been heavily involved in spring ball for Michigan. I believe he will take over as the full-time starter sooner rather than later and prove why he is a top quarterback prospect in the 2024 class. He is a no-brainer fifth-round pick in Devy startups right now.
Cade McNamara’s upside is limited and that was clear in Michigan’s playoff loss to Georgia. The switch is inevitable and if this team takes the next step, it will be with McCarthy at the helm. He has good size, pushes the ball down the field with ease, shows accuracy to all levels, and is a dangerous rusher. I watch all QBs closely, but McCarthy is one who I will be hyper-focused on this fall.
Cade McNamara is a solid game-manager but former 5-star recruit and true freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy is on a whole different level.— Luca Sartirana (@SartiranaLuca) October 23, 2021
Michigan could be a much better team with McCarthy under center.pic.twitter.com/N6IT0TgYBz
DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson | 6’4” 250 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. DJU was an elite Devy asset and one of the most hyped young quarterbacks in recent memory. The Big Ben-Cam Newton hybrid seemed poised to take over right where Trevor Lawrence left off at Clemson. Uiagalelei burst onto the national scene with an impressive performance in 2020 against Notre Dame. He completed 29 of 44 passes for 439 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers. His stock went to the moon, but Uiagalelei has come crashing back down to earth since that game. His production in 2021 was well below expectations, with a significant dip in completion rate and yards per attempt while struggling to finish off drives. Clemson had one of the worst offenses in football by almost every measure.
The disappointing sophomore season cannot be ignored. It is worth noting, though, that DJU played with a knee brace and multiple injuries. There were obvious and correctable mechanical issues with his upper body and arm angle. Clemson clearly saw a dip in talent on offense and their lack of creativity did not help matters. DJU has the physical traits and we have already seen him perform at a high level. He has flashed elite arm strength, great touch on his passes, and an excellent feel for the game. There are major concerns heading into the fall, especially with an early-enrollee five-star freshman waiting for a shot. We should see a slimmed-down, healthier DJU who will be playing for his job, and likely his NFL future.
BEST OF THE REST
Will Levis, Kentucky | 6’3” 232 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Drew Allar, Penn State | 6’5” 229 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee | 6’4” 218 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cade Klubnik, Clemson | 6’2” 185 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame | 6’1” 215 lbs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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