A strong final two years of his career at Ohio State has seen quarterback Justin Fields’ dynasty value increase heading into the 2021 fantasy football season. Following a slight slide in the 2021 NFL Draft, what is Fields’ dynasty value for the 2021 season and beyond?
Justin Fields dynasty value for 2021
Going all the way back to high school, Fields has been destined to play in the NFL. Both he and fellow 2021 QB Trevor Lawrence have been virtually joined at the hip along the way, each fighting for the edge over the other to establish themselves as the most valuable player in the class. Fast forward a few years, and nothing has changed.
We have seen what a difference a QB can make for your dynasty team. Even in 1QB formats, a borderline playoff team can catapult themselves into the championship game with the right quarterback.
Some pundits love Zach Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, I do too. However, placing him over Fields in terms of fantasy value seems like getting too cute with things.
Justin Fields lands with the Chicago Bears
At pick No. 11, Fields has the draft capital we look for when assessing the fantasy value in dynasty formats. In Superflex, Fields is either the second or third most valuable player in dynasty, behind only Trevor Lawrence and possibly Trey Lance. Intriguingly, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers passed on selecting him at No. 3 overall. They have been working with him since he was in high school. Now with the Chicago Bears, Fields will lead the team into a prove-it season for both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace. They have an abundance of playmakers with Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, and David Montgomery.
Fields could shine in this offense, but the landing spot is not one we were excited about as others. His dynasty would be higher should he have landed with Carolina or the 49ers. Heading into the draft, Fields was my QB2, but he slides to QB3 behind Lance. His dual-threat ability keeps him ahead of Zach Wilson despite the difference in draft capital. The main reason he slid behind Lance for me is organizational security. I know who Lance will be playing for and the scheme for the next five years. I can’t say that for the first five weeks for Fields.
Fields has shown high-level proficiency throughout his journey to the NFL
Fields was the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the 2018 class and the No. 2 overall QB next to Trevor Lawrence. If you just started watching college football or preparing for the NFL Draft, it is easy to forget Fields initially went to Georgia. Things didn’t work out for the Georgia native at his home-state school, however, due to the team sticking with former five-star recruit Jake Fromm as their starter.
Fields transferred to Ohio State University and started his ascension as a sophomore. Fields saw success immediately, completing 238 of 354 passes (67.2%) for 3,272 yards and 41 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. He also added 137 rushes for 484 yards and 10 scores. That performance earned the true sophomore a third-place finish in the 2019 Heisman voting, behind Joe Burrow and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.
His 2020 season is even more impressive given the circumstances
His 2020 season was most impressive and also more impactful than people think. If not for Fields, we might not even have had a season at all. Fields and Lawrence were two of the largest voices in the “We want to play” campaign in which student-athletes were trying to gets sports to resume.
It would have been easy for any player to have a down year, especially in the Big Ten. Between canceling, then coming back, then delaying only to release two schedules and playing a half-season. However, Fields stepped to the challenge, elevating his draft stock and dynasty value in the process.
He entered the season as a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Fields helped lead the Buckeyes to another undefeated regular season and Big Ten championship. Thus, leading to an eventual rematch with Lawrence and Clemson. That game alone sold several evaluators on his toughness and composure.
Fields’ performance vs. Clemson
Fields took a massive shot with six minutes left in the second quarter. Two plays after the hit, he threw a laser for a touchdown. A series later, he threw another one to give the Buckeyes a 35-14 halftime lead. And then came another and then another. After the hit to his ribs, Fields completed 11 of his next 14 passes for 222 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Fields threw for 385 passing yards and 6 touchdowns in the College Playoff Semifinal game.
Fields finished the shorted 2020 season with 2,100 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and added 383 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns on the ground. He repeated as the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year and unanimous first-team All-Big 10 selection.
If targeting Justin Fields, have some patience if he struggles and his dynasty value takes a hit
From a historical aspect, quarterbacks don’t typically have phenomenal rookie seasons — Joe Burrow (for half a season) and Justin Herbert are outliers. There are far more E.J. Manuel and Blake Bortles-type performances dotting the history books.
Since 2010, there have been 34 QBs taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Of those QBs, only five finished inside the top 12 in their rookie season.
2011 – Cam Newton, QB3
2012 – Robert Griffin III, QB5
2012 – Andrew Luck, QB9
2019 – Kyler Murray, QB8
2020 – Justin Herbert, QB9
Including those five rookie quarterbacks, only 15 ended the season inside the top 24. Context is needed as Joe Burrow and his injury-shortened season would have easily joined this group.
When we look at quarterbacks who had success early on, there is a shared trait — mobility. Yes, that even includes Luck. Believe it or not, he ran a 4.67 at the NFL Combine.
We have to remember these elite prospects are going to the worst team in the NFL for a reason. They have more holes on their roster than just the quarterback. The ability to get out of the pocket and create in the open brings such a massive boost to a player’s value.
Where should you draft Fields in dynasty rookie drafts?
Playing the quarterback position in the NFL might be the most challenging thing you can do in sports. Everything from learning how to be a professional, getting to know teammates and a new playbook, to performing against the best in the world all has to happen at breakneck speed. You can slow that down by being an incredible athlete.
That’s what Fields is at the end of the day. He can make every throw, and when rolling out, rip off lasers to the sidelines. While he can hold the ball a second too long, he has 4.5 speed that gets him out of danger. Even if there are a few bumps along the way, that’s to be expected, and history says it is likely. Just don’t panic and sell Fields off after his first interception.
Fields should go directly after Lawrence and possibly Lance in rookie drafts. If you are in a Superflex dynasty league, taking Fields at the 1.02 is perfectly reasonable. It’s likely a 50/50 between him Lance.
In 1QB fantasy leagues, I would have no issue taking Fields in the middle of the second round. I feel we tend to undervalue the QB in single formats, and he has the upside to be your starter either in Year 1 or Year 2.
Want more fantasy football analysis and news?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay current with all things around the NFL and the upcoming 2021 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.