The 2022 Season is in the books. While there’s still some playoff football to help us see how players do in the clutch, for dynasty players, it’s a time to sit back, take stock and see how players fared. Over the next six Stock Watch pieces and the next three weeks, I’ll be looking back at the 2022 and 2021 classes by position. I’ll be evaluating if their stock rose, remained the same, or dropped during the course of the season. Now could be the time to sell high, buy low or hold on to a winning hand. Today, we kick off with the 2022 quarterback class, which wasn’t highly regarded coming into the season.
Stock Up: Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
About: You don’t expect much from the final pick in the NFL Draft. Purdy not only made the roster in San Francisco, he got a chance to shine with the injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. He started five games, going 5-0 with 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He helped lead the 49ers to the No. 2 seed and, at the very least, should be on a roster in every league. He’s giving the 49ers plenty to think about heading into the 2023 season.
Stock Up: Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
About: Ridder was a Third-Round pick in the recent draft, brought into a re-building situation in Atlanta, and paired with veteran Marcus Mariota. Toward the end of the season, with the Falcons sliding out of the playoff picture, the Falcons turned things over to Ridder to see what he could do. It was a slow start, as expected, but Ridder won his final two starts against the Cardinals and Buccaneers. Ridder completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 708 yards and two touchdowns. He added 64 rushing yards and didn’t throw an interception. He did take nine sacks and fumble three times, but you expect growing pains with a rookie. Ridder ended on a solid note and should be at least in the mix for the Falcons in 2023.
Stock Up: Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
About: Howell’s draft stock slid immensely in the draft, with him ending up in the Fifth Round with the Commanders. The Commanders had Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke already at quarterback, so, naturally, Howell didn’t see the field. Until the final game of the season. In his one start, going against the playoff-bound Cowboys starters, Howell was 11-for-19 for 169 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also added 35 yards rushing on five carries with a touchdown. More importantly, the Commanders won 26-6. Does it mean he’s a starter for the NFL or fantasy? No, but it is a positive sign for a player that is hanging out on some people’s practice squads.
Stock Neutral: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
About: Pickett was taken in the First Round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a First Round pick, he figured to be a big part of what the Steelers would do on offense. He started 12 games, going 7-5 as a starter. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also added 237 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Not incredible numbers, but Pickett was solid and figures to be part of what the Steelers are doing moving forward. For those that took him hoping for a viable option in Superflex, he’s as close to a sure thing as we have in the 2022 class.
Stock Neutral: Matt Corral, Carolina Panthers
About: Call this a case of missed opportunity. Corral was taken in the Third Round by the Carolina Panthers—a team that used a gaggle of quarterbacks in 2022—but he was lost for the season before the opening kickoff. We never got a chance to see what Corral could do. Now, the Panthers are changing coaches and likely turning over much of the roster. Still, Corral is the only quarterback under contract for the team. If you stashed him on a Practice Squad, I’m still keeping him there until we see what chance he gets with a new set of coaches.
Stock Neutral: Baily Zappe, New England Patriots
About: Some eyebrows were raised when the Patriots drafted Zappe despite having drafted Mac Jones in the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Zappe got his chance when Jones was injured, starting two games and winning both. He finished with a nearly 71 percent completion percentage, 781 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions. He looked good at times but seems consigned to a backup role behind Jones, at least for the foreseeable future. Given that, I’m not sure he needs to be rostered unless it’s as a handcuff.
Stock Down: Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans
About: Willis was another of the Third-Round picks, which gave some people excitement he could be the future for the Titans. We got to see Willis start three games. While he finished 1-2 in his starts, he threw for just 276 yards and three interceptions with no touchdowns. He added 123 yards and a touchdown as a rusher, but he completed only 50.8 percent of his passes. His performance was so unimpressive the Titans snagged Josh Dobbs off the Browns’ Practice Squad and started him in the final two games. With the General Manager who drafted him no longer with the team, it’s possible Willis isn’t even a Titan in 2023.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.