After an incredible season that culminated in the CFB National Championship Game, Ohio State QB Justin Fields is one of the highest valued dynasty prospects in the 2021 NFL rookie class. Whether 1QB or Superflex fantasy football formats, Fields will be an early pick as teams look to add the next breakout QB.
Justin Fields dynasty value for 2021
Going all the way back to high school, Justin 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 Justin Fields seems like getting too cute with things.
Whether or not the New York Jets take him with the second pick, Justin Fields will have the draft capital we look for when assessing dynasty value. In Superflex formats, Justin Fields is likely the second-most valuable player in this dynasty class, along with Najee Harris of Alabama.
Justin Fields has shown high-level proficiency throughout his journey to the NFL
Justin 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, people might forget he 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 the University of Ohio State 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 Justin 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 have sports 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, Justin 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 Trevor 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 Justin Fields in dynasty rookie mock 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 Justin 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 Justin Fields off after his first interception.
Fields should go directly after Trevor Lawrence in rookie drafts. The only thing that changes is the gap. If you are in a Superflex league, taking Fields at the 1.02 is perfectly reasonable. It’s likely a 50/50 between him and Najee Harris.
In 1QB 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.
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