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Rookie Roulette - Which First-Year QB Should Go #1 in Dynasty Drafts?


Football fans know which quarterback was taken first in this year’s NFL Draft, but now fantasy football owners want to know which QB should go first in dynasty drafts.

The 2017 rookie quarterback crop is not loaded with any sure starters for this season, but there are plenty of potential passers for future seasons. Many of the quarterbacks are run-pass dual threats who can rack up yards through the air and on the ground and were able to pile up the points during their storied college careers. There is no doubt a couple of them, while they might not help fantasy squads much in 2017, could be perennial fantasy keepers over the next decade.

So which rookie quarterback should come off the board first in dynasty drafts?  Here is my take on the four top candidates and who should be picked first:

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Top Rookie Quarterbacks for Dynasty

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

Chicago shocked everybody when they traded up to snag Trubisky with the second overall pick, but it was not shocking because Trubisky was such a stretch. It was because the Bears had just plunked down $45 million on Mike Glennon earlier in the offseason. Trubisky was ranked as the top quarterback coming out of college on most draft boards and has been pegged as a future franchise quarterback by some.

Trubisky has an accurate, above-average arm and can be the best pure passer of the rookie bunch because he is solid in the pocket. All he needs is smart coaching, Chicago to FINALLY acquire some decent receivers he can throw to, and for Glennon to politely get out of his way (or be shoved out of the way). He also needs an offense where there are plenty of designed roll-outs that maximize his skills. 2017 will probably not be the year for the second and third of those things to transpire, but hopefully in 2018 and beyond he will be Chicago’s centerpiece and become a fantasy centerpiece.

 

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

It is obvious that the Chiefs need a gamebreaker and not a game manager running their offense. Alex Smith is limited in what he can do because of his lack of arm strength and his penchant for opting for conservative checkdowns over riskier passes 20-plus yards downfield. The future of Kansas City’s offense is definitely brighter with the multi-talented Mahomes at the helm, although little should be expected from him in redraft leagues this upcoming season.

Mahomes is as much of a project as a home renovation you see on HGTV. He is a raw talent who is used to throwing out of a shotgun in a spread offense and now has to be taught the ways of a more conventional NFL offense. This will likely take some time. Mahomes will also have to learn to cut down on the turnovers (29 INT in 32 college games) and prove that quarterbacks from college spread offenses can succeed in the NFL. K.C. head coach Andy Reid always milks the most out of his quarterbacks, and Mahomes might be the most talented one he has had since Reid and Donovan McNabb had so much success together in Philadelphia.

 

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Watson was drafted after Trubisky and Mahomes, but the difference in talent between him and those two is negligible. Watson might not have been as highly-rated as Trubisky and Mahomes entering the draft, but he had a much better resume than that pair. He put an emphatic period on his college career by defeating Alabama in the BCS Championship game and torching the Tide’s top-ranked scoring defense for 420 passing yards and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). If the kid can play that well on that stage against that defense, he is certainly ready for the pros.

The only thing standing between Watson starting and throwing 15 passes per game at fantasy superhero DeAndre Hopkins is Tom Savage, an injury-prone backup who has not thrown or ran for a touchdown in the five NFL games he has seen action in. This doesn't sound like much competition. Watson might win the starting job straight out of training camp, and at worst should get a crack at running the offense at some point during the season.

 

DeShone Kizer, Cleveland Browns

Kizer was not taken until the second round, but do not underestimate his skills. The Notre Dame product is a double threat as he has an NFL arm and body yet can get the ball over the goal line via his legs a la Cam Newton when near the end zone. But his aforementioned body and right arm is what impressed scouts and should titillate fantasy owners. Kizer is built like a brick igloo, and no rookie quarterback has the arm strength, the velocity on his throws and the ability to make all the passes on the field like Kizer can. To top it off, Kizer came out of a pro-style offense, so he is a little ahead of some other rooks when it comes to learning the NFL game.

While Cleveland might be shorter on talent than the performers on The Gong Show, they do have players at the skilled positions that can help Kizer, with a couple being young enough that they can grow and improve right along with Kizer. First-round pick David Njoku is a playmaking tight end with wide receiver speed. Veteran Kenny Britt is coming off his first 1,000-yard year, while Corey Coleman is looking to bust out in his sophomore season after injuries slowed down his promising rookie campaign. The two-back attack of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. will also take pressure off Kizer with their running and receiving ability out of the backfield. All Kizer has to do is beat out the undertalented Cody Kessler and the overpaid Brock Osweiler and the keys to Cleveland’s offense could be his for the foreseeable future. The biggest problem for Kizer is the organization he is a part of now.

 

Verdict

So which of the foursome is the rookie QB you should go after first in your dynasty drafts? I cross Kizer off the list because of Cleveland’s well-documented history of horrendous quarterbacks (Tim Couch, Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn, Charlie Frye, the list goes on…) over the past 17 years. Kizer has a lot to overcome to become a decent quarterback in Cleveland.

Mahomes might have the best all-around skills of the rookie quartet, but he also probably has the biggest learning curve. He will likely need the most practice time to get transformed into an NFL quarterback due to the offense he primarily played in during college. Mahomes could end up being the best of the bunch, but it might not happen until 2020, and fantasy owners normally do not have that kind of patience.

Trubisky is the highest-regarded rookie QB coming into the season, but he has more doubters than President Trump's Twitter followers. Trubisky could become a superstar, or he could become the next Heath Shuler or Akili Smith. If Mike Glennon gets off to a good start and the Bears offense is decent, Trubisky might ride pine a lot over the next couple years.

That brings us to Watson, who has the clearest sight line to a starting spot. His smallish stature and reckless running style might lead to injury, yet the way he has proven he can accumulate yards and score in bunches under the brightest spotlights against the toughest defenses has to make him attractive to fantasy owners. He can be Houston’s starting quarterback for the next several seasons and is poised to put up 3,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 25-35 touchdowns per season as long as he stays healthy. I would allow others in my dynasty leagues to take Trubisky and Mahomes off the board first and then sneak in for Watson and enjoy his fruitful career.

 

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