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Who Are You Drafting: Drake Maye or JJ McCarthy

You are on the clock, and both Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy are on the board. Who are you taking? @dropthemikeFF is here to help you make your pick.

Decisions, decisions, decisions! You are on the clock, and Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy are on the board. Who are you taking? If you are deadset on one or the other, you are further ahead than some. If you haven’t decided or are unsure who to draft, I am here to help you figure it out.

DRAKE MAYE

The New England Patriots have a new regime entering the 2024 season. They put their stamp on the roster in the NFL draft by selecting Maye third overall. After trading Mac Jones earlier this off-season, the Patriots are giving Maye the proverbial key to the team in his rookie season.

Coming out of the University of North Carolina, Maye showed he has the raw talent and potential to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. He has the ideal size and arm strength to be an NFL QB. The Patriots have a new offensive coordinator in Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt is bringing an offensive system similar to the Cleveland Browns. Even though a run-first offense might be a rookie QB’s best friend, it might not be conducive to fantasy success. His accuracy, along with his previously mentioned arm strength, is perfect for the Patriots’ new system.

The Patriots’ offense is a work in progress. Their offensive line was near the bottom of the league last year, and they have not improved enough to become a top-end unit. Along with Maye, the Patriots drafted two wide receivers, Jalen Polk and Javon Baker. Unfortunately, the weapons still lack the talent of a top-flight offense. Yes, they have other pass-catching options in Demario Douglas and Hunter Henry, but neither one moves the needle for fantasy purposes.

JJ McCarthy

“Out with the old and in with the new.” That is exactly what the Vikings did with their quarterback room in the offseason. Kirk Cousins left for Atlanta in free agency, and they brought in veteran Sam Darnold. However, their most significant move at quarterback was drafting McCarthy out of Michigan tenth overall.

There’s a saying in fantasy football, “Go get your guy.” Well, the Vikings did so in the NFL draft, moving up from pick 11 to pick 10 to make sure they got their quarterback of the future in McCarthy. In the Vikings offense, they don’t necessarily need a big playmaker at quarterback, but more importantly, they need a guy to make the right throws and decisions in the offense. McCarthy has a good pocket presence, great intangibles, and underappreciated mobility. If it sounds like you’ve heard that before, it’s because you probably have. He seems like a younger, more mobile version of Cousins.

The Vikings had a down season in 2023, partly to blame for having major injuries to some of their top-end talent. They have a middle-of-the-pack offensive line that has been improving as of late. However, the one thing they don’t lack is offensive weapons. They are bringing back a healthy Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison as wide receivers. There is a weapon in tight end TJ Hockenson, who will be back part way through the season after an ACL injury. They also signed former Green Bay Packer running back Aaron Jones in free agency. With the talent the Vikings have on offense, they seem to be only a quarterback away from getting back on track. Will McCarthy be the answer to their prayers is the question.

Who To Draft

Instead of picking straws or flipping a coin, let’s figure out if you should draft Maye or McCarthy in your rookie draft. Both quarterbacks have similar college experience, with Maye starting in 26 games and McCarthy starting in 28. Many leagues have already had their rookie draft, but if yours hasn’t, this is for you.

Maye and McCarthy received top-ten NFL draft capital from their respective teams. New England had opportunities to trade out of the third spot, but they decided to stay and draft Maye. On the other hand, the Vikings moved up from 11 to 10 to ensure they got their future franchise quarterback.

Maye and McCarthy seem to be perfect fits for their new teams’ offensive systems. But which quarterback will be the best for fantasy?

Last season, the Patriots passed the ball 57.3% of the time; however, the Cleveland offense, which their new offensive coordinator ran, passed the ball at a rate of 54.6%. The Vikings threw the ball at a rate of 61.6%, which tied them for second place in the NFL. Even though there will be ups and downs in any quarterback’s rookie season, this is a plus for McCarthy.

The Pick Is…

According to DynastyNerds rookie ADP, Maye is going fifth overall in Superflex leagues, one spot ahead of McCarthy. The clock is ticking; who are you taking? Both guys are very similar prospects. Maye might have better talent, but McCarthy is a better-finished product.

A lot depends on their current and future situation. The Patriots are rebuilding and retooling the roster. Unfortunately, there are better fantasy situations for a rookie quarterback. McCarthy is on a team with a completely different trajectory on their roster. With the weapons that McCarthy has at his disposal in Minnesota, he has a better short-term outlook than Maye.

You have to consider everything before making a decision. Taking everything into account, my rookie draft selection would be McCarthy. This is not an easy decision, but overall, I believe it is the right decision.

Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, a buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast. Dynasty Nerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop shop for all your fantasy football needs!

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