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NFL Rookie QBs Outlook

Fantasy football season is fast approaching, and if you haven’t taken part in this year’s draft already (whether as part of a dynasty league or a yearly redraft), it’s time to start thinking about how to bolster your roster.

The influx of untested rookies each season provides an excellent chance for a wary fantasy GM to take control of their league: while it’s always a gamble trying to decide which players will star from their first day in the league and who will fall flat, hitting on a rookie or two can be the difference between fantasy glory and going home empty-handed at the end of the league year.

With three quarterbacks going in the top five picks during the 2023 NFL draft, this year was an excellent cycle for teams in need of a quarterback, and that maxim applies to fantasy too.

Here’s a look at who the top rookie signal callers look to be, and how they could impact your fantasy league.

Boom or Bust

There is a lot of hype around Titans’ quarterback Will Levis. He comes out of the University of Kentucky (playing in the vaunted SEC, going toe to toe with future NFL stars every week) and is expected to be a starter for Tennessee in the future: they wouldn’t have used a second-round pick on him otherwise. He’s certainly a project, and some of his numbers at the collegiate level could be seen as alarming, like the fact that he threw 23 interceptions in the last two seasons. If he can develop his footwork and processing, having a chance to get acclimated to the league at his own pace instead of getting rushed into a starting role, Levis could be something special at the NFL level. Wildcat fans can follow his NFL career and take advantage of DraftKings Kentucky promo codes as the state of Kentucky is about to legalize online sports betting soon.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson sits in much the same boat. He’s a freak of nature athletically, the kind of prospect that teams know they’re taking on the risk of a massive project by drafting… but don’t hesitate to do so in the slightest because of the overwhelming talent they possess. An elite athlete with an ICBM for an arm, Richardson’s mechanics are a mess and he’s a bit too much of a risk-taker. That said, that’s exactly the type of passer that two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes was coming out of college, and right now he’s on the fast track to the Hall of Fame.

Building off that, fantasy success and NFL success are not one and the same. The bone-headed risks that Levis and Richardson are used to taking could come with costly turnovers, but their penchant for racking up points on the ground and in the air should do more than enough to balance that out. They may not be fully ready for the NFL yet, but they’re both likely to start in Week 1, which is a valuable asset… you don’t draft players to sit on the bench all season.

The Safe Bets

COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 03: Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) rolls out of the pocket as Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) applies pressure during the third quarter of the college football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Ohio State Buckeyes on September 3, 2022, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Filling in this category we have Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Bryce Young and Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Panthers have a pretty solid roster (they traded up to nab Young with the first overall pick, rather than tanking to get there), while the Texans are a dumpster fire. There are questions about Young’s long-term durability, as he has a diminutive frame that may make it tough for him to transition to the next level, although Carolina will give him plenty of help as he figures things out.

Stroud is a prototypical pocket passer, one with the highest floor out of the bunch, but he’s getting thrown into an awful situation in Houston. If he’s able to overcome the shoddy hand he’s been dealt (that is, organizational malaise from top to bottom and a pitiful roster) Stroud will become a perennial MVP candidate. There’s a long road to go for him to get there, though.

These guys may not be stars right away, but they’re excellent candidates to hoard on the shelf in a dynasty league, whether you’re using them as trade chips to bolster the rest of your roster or waiting to plug and play them as they come into their own.

A Glimpse at the Rest

Other rookie quarterbacks this season include Hendon Hooker (Detroit Lions), Stetson Bennett (Los Angeles Rams), Max Duggan (Los Angeles Chargers), Clayton Tune (Arizona Cardinals), Jaren Hall (Minnesota Vikings), Tanner McKee (Philadelphia Eagles) and Sean Clifford (Green Bay Packers).

Needless to say, if you’re starting one of these guys you’re either playing in a league that rolls with three starting quarterback slots, and has dozens of members, or you (along with the pro team that’s trotting them out for meaningful snaps) has seen the worst injury luck in the history of football.

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