Drafting fantasy football quarterbacks has changed dramatically over the past few years. Originally, conventional wisdom told you to wait on the position because of its depth. The point differential between the third-ranked quarterback was not significantly higher from that of the 10th-ranked and, therefore, there was no rush.
Since the emergence of mobile quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson and elite passers such as Justin Herbert, however, the gap between the top five and the rest of the field has grown wider, and today, there is no shame in drafting one of them in the fourth round.
Though the gap may be widening between the elite and the rest of the field, that doesn’t mean you can’t find one of these mobile quarterbacks in the mid-to-later rounds.
Rushing talent at the position can still be found if you’re looking in the right place. Jalen Hurts taught us that in 2021, and San Francisco’s Trey Lance is about to do the same.
When the 49ers gave Jimmy Garoppolo’s agent permission to seek out a trade for his client, the Lance Era was ready to begin in the Bay Area. Not only did Lance prove himself in college, but also he filled in admirably at the pro level during a few spots last season. That wasn’t to say he doesn’t need some improvement, but the foundation was there for head coach Kyle Shanahan, who added in more RPO (run-pass option) plays to give his quarterback the freedom to run.
The 49ers have also maintained a strong group of weapons to surround the young quarterback and give him the support he needs. The ground attack is headed up by Elijah Mitchell, who is also quite adept at catching passes; Deebo Samuel has proven to be effective as both a runner and a receiver; and both Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle are ready to dominate through the air.
Unlike someone such as Justin Fields of the Bears, Lance’s success and fantasy value won’t just be dependent on his legs. His supporting cast is first-rate and will lift his talents to where you want them for fantasy scoring.
If you miss out on the elite-level talent early on in your draft, don’t panic. Continue to load up on the elite running backs and receivers. While the rest of your league is scrambling to find a second running back or third wide receiver, you’ll be completely covered and won’t miss a beat adding Lance in the 10th round.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice, player projections and average draft positions.