Analyzing Zach Wilson’s fantasy football dynasty outlook
Unlike in the real world, the quarterback position isn’t necessarily the most important in fantasy football (save for 2QB or Superflex leagues). But drafting an elite quarterback below market value is how championship teams are built.
Wilson is one of two rookie quarterbacks who have been their team’s unquestioned starter since they were drafted, with the other being Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence.
However, Wilson isn’t currently being drafted by fantasy players as if that’s the case.
According to Sleeper‘s ADP, Wilson is going as the QB23. Essentially, he’s being taken near his fantasy floor.
In 12-team dynasty leagues (encompassing all three dynasty formats), Wilson is being selected in the middle of the ninth round. He is the fourth rookie quarterback being taken off the board, only ahead of New England’s Mac Jones.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the Jets or Wilson, his current value in fantasy football leagues is a bargain. In my redraft piece featuring Wilson, I discussed the potential finishes of rookie quarterbacks starting at least 14 games.
The data in the 10-year sample provided showed that Wilson has greater than a 75% chance of posting top-24 numbers in his rookie year. He also has a 26% chance of becoming a top-12 quarterback.
While the numbers for rookie quarterbacks are surprisingly good for fantasy football, year two is when we see greater consistency at the position.
Using that same sample group in the article mentioned above (minus Justin Herbert, who has yet to play his second season), I looked at how those quarterbacks fared in their second season in the NFL.
Of the 22 players sampled, 10 of them improved their fantasy ranking from their rookie season. Eight of them (36%) would become top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in their sophomore season. That’s 10% higher than the finishes of rookie quarterbacks.
It is highly plausible that Zach Wilson could join that company. This is especially true when you look at the situation.
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New York is a rebuilding team, but that actually helps Wilson’s fantasy value. The Jets are set to send out their youngest defensive starting lineup since 1990. The defense may struggle, which could create more come-from-behind opportunities for the offense in which Wilson stockpiles pass attempts.
The Jets run an RBBC (running back by committee) approach and have a deep stable of wide receivers headlined by Corey Davis. While the potential of the rookies is unknown, everyone else on the team – such as Davis, Jamison Crowder, and Keelan Cole – is a fairly known quantity.
None of them are especially great producers in the fantasy football world. This means the burden of production falls on Wilson, which only increases his value.
Wilson provides unique traits that make him a special player. He’s been compared to elite NFL quarterbacks and has the arm and footwork to provide Patrick Mahomes-like upside.
As we’ve seen with players like Derek Carr and Baker Mayfield, you don’t have to be an elite QB (or have truly elite weapons) to be a successful fantasy football quarterback.
Jets’ offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is already instilling a system to help Wilson thrive. LaFleur is using the run to set up high-upside passing opportunities, incorporating looks from his time in San Francisco, and running plays that Wilson was quite successful with during his time at BYU.
At Wilson’s current value in fantasy football, he’s a bargain. I would target him as my backup QB in both 1QB and Superflex dynasty leagues with the hope that he develops into a top-12 option.
With plenty of unknowns heading into this year for the rookie quarterback class, take a chance on the one flying under the radar with the best odds of providing instant gratification – Zach Wilson.
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