J.J. McCarthy’s Dynasty Rookie Profile | Minnesota Vikings QB Fantasy Football Outlook

    Never throwing for 3,000 yards in any season at Michigan, what can dynasty managers expect from QB J.J. McCarthy in his rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings?

    The Minnesota Vikings were linked to J.J. McCarthy throughout the majority of the pre-draft process. Ultimately, the Vikings only had to move up one spot to land the former Michigan Wolverine product as their franchise QB entering his rookie season and beyond.

    What can dynasty fantasy football managers expect from McCarthy in an offense loaded with elite playmakers on the perimeter orchestrated by one of the better young offensive minds in the league?

    Should You Draft J.J. McCarthy in Dynasty Fantasy Football?

    When you step into an offense that has players like Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison, it’s hard not to get excited about McCarthy’s long-term fantasy outlook in Minnesota.

    All that stands in his way from seeing a full-time starting role in 2024 is Sam Darnold, who I don’t see keeping McCarthy off the field for more than a month this season.

    McCarthy’s experience running pro-style passing concepts projects favorably to operating head coach Kevin O’Connell’s offensive scheme. The Vikings ran more play-action passes than any other team by a wide margin, which McCarthy had plenty of experience doing at Michigan in their run-heavy offensive approach.

    McCarthy flashed plenty of ability to go through his progressions and throw with anticipation over the middle of the field but didn’t have the overwhelming volume of some of the other top quarterback prospects in this class due to the aforementioned offensive scheme with the Wolverines.

    One underrated part of McCarthy’s game is his ability to create off-script and effectively generate yards as a runner, both as a scrambler and ball carrier in QB-designed runs. Sure, he isn’t Jayden Daniels in that department, but his ability to contribute on the ground shouldn’t be overlooked either.

    McCarthy’s value in dynasty rookie drafts will vary greatly depending on the format. In Superflex leagues, he is a surefire first-rounder. In 1QB leagues, expect him to fall somewhere between the end of the first to the late second.

    Who Is McCarthy?

    Background

    McCarthy is a four-star quarterback prospect who started his high school football career at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park, Ill., before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to finish out his prep career.

    McCarthy led IMG to a national championship in 2020, which was aided by a No. 1 ranking in MaxPrep’s High School Football Rankings.

    Before finishing his high school career, McCarthy declared to play at the University of Michigan.

    College Production

    McCarthy’s career in Ann Arbor, Mich., did not torch the record books or garner a ton of individual accolades, but he did manage to contribute in all three seasons at a national powerhouse program like Michigan.

    In his freshman campaign, McCarthy threw for 516 yards and five scores through 11 games of action, which helped set the table for his legendary run as the Wolverine’s signal-caller.

    MORE: Dynasty Rookie Rankings 2024

    McCarthy assumed the full-time starting role his sophomore season after an early-year QB battle and helped lead Michigan to the College Football Playoff, where they lost in the semifinal round to TCU. He produced 2,719 yards and 22 scores through the air while adding 306 yards and five scores on the ground on the year.

    McCarthy followed up his stellar sophomore campaign with another productive season under center in 2023. His production mostly mirrored what he did his previous year, but he still managed to throw for 2,991 yards and 22 scores while lowering his interceptions on the way to a national championship.

    Injury History

    McCarthy dealt with a shoulder injury ahead of the 2022 season but ultimately avoided surgery. He also picked up an ankle injury during the 2023 season but did not miss any time due to the injury.

    McCarthy’s Strengths and Weaknesses

    Strengths

    • Arm showcases plenty of velocity and displays confidence and courage on throws into small windows against zone coverage over the middle.
    • Consistently gets through his progressions and can get to the backside of the read; eyes continue to scan the field when his first progression isn’t available.
    • Comfortable hanging and climbing in the pocket; will reset his base while lining up his feet to the next receiver in the progression.
    • A plus-level athlete who can occasionally threaten defenses as a ball carrier and will extend plays with athleticism, leading to off-script production in the passing game.
    • Does a great job accelerating forward off his back foot when protection breaks down in the A or B gap; has enough play strength and contact balance to shed tacklers occasionally and keep plays alive.
    • Experience running pro-style passing concepts; seemed comfortable navigating his system with regularity.
    • Does showcase some nice reps throwing with anticipation. If he finds a linebacker or second-level defender with his back turned covering a seam route, he isn’t afraid to throw right past the ear hole on his helmet before his receiver comes open (see TD pass against Michigan State in 2023).
    • Consistently aligns his feet with where he’s going to throw the ball; drops include some dovetails where he will slightly angle his drop to get him squared away to rip a throw outside the numbers at the top of his drop with little wasted motion.

    Weaknesses

    • Lacks consistent touch to feather in layered throws on the second and third level.
    • Has a bad tendency to make everything a laser air show on throws down the field.
    • Stubbornly unwilling to give up on bad plays at times; his unwillingness to throw the ball away led to some bad sacks and negative plays.
    • Ball placement wasn’t great; many throws made life unnecessarily more difficult on WRs, limiting YAC opportunities.
    • While he can get through his progressions, he does have some reps where he hangs a bit too long on receivers, which jacks up the timing of getting to the next option in his read.
    • Sometimes plays with a little hesitation — a tendency to take an unnecessary extra hitch before letting it rip. There is some anticipation on tape, but there is room for more decisiveness on film.

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