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Biggest Busts of 2021 - Quarterback

Lamar Jackson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

With another fantasy season behind us, it is time to evaluate what went right and what went wrong in terms of fantasy production by players.

While managers always hope for the best from their players, sometimes things don’t go the way we hope as players deal with injuries, slumps, and now the COVID-list. 2021 saw some very high-profile QBs struggle and finish much lower than expected.

Let’s break down which QBs were in the bust range.

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Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson entered 2021 with high expectations after coming off an incredible 2019 season and still impressive 2020 campaign. Jackson entered as the QB4 but limped to a QB15 finish as he managed only 12 games due to suffering an ankle injury that kept him out to close the season. 

The QB’s potency wasn’t on display much during 2021, as he had over 300 yards passing or 100 yards rushing in only two of 12 games. He finished 2021 with 2,882 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and a career-high 13 picks, along with 133 rushes for 767 yards and two rushing scores. Mostly all his numbers were the lowest since his rookie year in 2018. He had a career-low in rushing touchdowns. An alarming concern is that Jackson has increased his interception total each year starting from 2018.

In terms of passing, Jackson finished 25th among NFL QBs, right above rookie Davis Mills of the Texans. His touchdowns ranked 24th and his Quarterback Ranking was 23rd, but his passing yards per game was 13th. 

Jackson should be considered a top QB option heading into 2022 fantasy drafts given he is 25, has a few years of experience, and brings great potential in the passing and rushing game. He’s in the QB1 tier for 2022 despite his lower 2021 finish. 

 

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Despite playing in 14 games this season, Wilson managed a career-low in rushing yards and passing yards. The talented QB’s season was affected by a finger injury which caused him to miss time. Overall, the 33-year-old posted 3,113 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, six picks, 183 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns. He finished as the QB16 while being projected as the QB6 heading into 2021.

This was majorly disappointing considering the QB passed for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2019 and 2020 while playing only two more games. This also comes with the QB’s completion percentage (64.8%), yards per attempt (7.8), and passer rating (103.1) hovering around his career normals.

When healthy, Russell Wilson is as potent a fantasy QB as any other top-tier guy. With weapons like Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, the QB doesn’t have a shortage of talented pass-catchers to throw to. Wilson should be considered in the low-end QB1 tier heading into 2022 even if he changes teams because of his talent and how he has consistently been decent in fantasy.

 

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Tagovailoa was being measured as the QB15 heading into 2021 fantasy drafts but ended up as QB26 when all was said and done. His sophomore year was generally better than his rookie year in 2020 but the most concerning things were he threw 10 picks (compared to only five in his rookie year) and he had nine fumbles (only had one in 2020). 

The 23-year-old finished with 2,653 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 10 picks, 128 rushing yards, and three touchdowns in 13 games. He finished alongside guys like Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, and Baker Mayfield, who are not exactly studs in fantasy (or on the actual field most of the time). 

Tagovailoa also lacked an explosive factor in 2021, not posting more than 38 rushing yards in a game and only getting over 300 passing yards in one game as well. 

Given he is still young and not proven for fantasy, expect him to be considered in the QB2/low QB2 tier heading into 2022.

 

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Baker has been a polarizing NFL player since entering the league in 2018. He’s shown stretches of greatness and stretches of bewilderment, but that’s been the career of the 26-year-old. Entering 2021 as the projected QB16, Mayfield finished below those expectations and finished QB25, among the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Jared Goff, and Tua Tagovailoa.

He dealt with shoulder and knee injuries during the season and finished with 3,010 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 picks. The QB also had 134 rushing yards and one rushing score in 14 games. Mayfield recorded the lowest passing yards of his four-year career while also posting a career-low in passing touchdowns. His interception troubles didn’t improve (three of four NFL seasons with double-digit picks now) and he added another six fumbles on the year, which brings his career total to 26. Statistically, Mayfield finished in the bottom-tier in most categories among starting QBs and wasn’t very crisp and efficient with his passing.

After recording his best touchdown to interception ratio in 2020, Mayfield regressed. The QB managed over 300 yards passing in only two contests and didn’t prove he could take the next step in 2021. For 2022, Baker shouldn’t inspire much confidence as a weekly starter and hence should be drafted as a backup.



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