Welcome to the Stock Watch. While the picture above might make you worried you’ve stumbled into a financial advice column, have no fear, this is about our fantasy football stock. Each year in dynasty leagues we look forward to rookie drafts, snatching up all the prospects we know will lead to glory. But it doesn’t always happen right away. Over the next few pieces, as this off-season draws to a close, I’ll be taking stock of prospects at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 draft class. This isn’t about the stars that we already know are great, it’s about the players taken in the first three rounds that haven’t hit yet—and might never hit.
In this installment, we begin our visit with the Class of 2020. That was just last year, so you can imagine a lot of the players featured in these installments are guys that didn’t break big as rookies, leading to panic from some fantasy players. That can be an opportunity.
In the case of quarterback, it may also require patience. Three quarterbacks were taken in the Top 10 picks and all three – Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, and Tua Tagovailoa – seem to have secure value, for now. Two others were taken in the first three rounds whose future isn’t quite as secure. It’s a make-it-or-break-it year for Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, while Jordan Love’s time may never come in Green Bay. So, let’s dive in.
Drafted: No. 26 overall by the Green Bay Packers
Situation: Many were surprised when Love was taken in the back half of the first round by the Packers, especially since they had Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and under a long-term contract. The move appeared to have rankled and motivated Rodgers, who became the League MVP. Love, meanwhile, never saw the field. With no off-season or pre-season, he never had a chance to even suit up for the Packers. This off-season, with Rodgers at odds with the team, it looked like Love might go from the bench to behind center in a hurry. Instead, Rodgers worked out a deal and reported to camp on time.
That means, barring injury, Love will be insurance for the Packers in 2021. But with the restructured contract, it seems like 2021 could be the end of the line for Rodgers. So, if Love can impress in camp, and show what he’s got in the pre-season, he could be in a position for a bigger role in 2022.
Stock Value: Steady. It would be rising, except it rose so quickly this off-season that he is rostered in most long-term leagues. In re-draft, it seems like folly to snag him at this point, but he’s a player that’s worth holding and stashing given the uncertain future for Rodgers beyond 2021.
Drafted: No. 53 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles
Situation: Hurts’ selection was also a minor surprise where it occurred and the team that took him. The Eagles had franchise quarterback Carson Wentz—who had signed a large extension—under contract. Hurts’ selection in the second round raised eyebrows, but it seemed to be about having a solid reserve option. Until the season hit. Hurts came off the bench to replace Wentz, starting the team’s final four games. He threw for 1,061 yards and 6 TDs, adding 354 rushing yards and 3 TDs. He gave the team a spark.
That spark turned into flames. Head Coach Doug Pederson left, and soon Wentz was traded to Indianapolis. Now, Hurts is in line to be the guy for the Eagles in 2021. Yet there are still questions about his ability and long-term future, questions he has to answer this season for new coach Nick Siriani.
Stock Value: Sell. Look, Hurts could be the next guy to take a leap. He has shown an ability to run, and that rushing and passing could combine to make him a QB1. He’s currently going as QB11, and some are even more bullish. Personally, I think that’s too high. Even the Eagles don’t seem set that he’s the long-term future, with rumors having them pursuing Deshaun Watson. If the team had a high draft pick in 2022, they may also take a QB. In other words, find a true believer and offload Hurts now.
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.