At this point, I feel it is reasonably evident that Alabama QB Mac Jones is the most controversial player of the 2021 NFL Draft and upcoming dynasty rookie drafts. Jones is the poster child of deciding how much draft capital means to the fantasy football community and how it affects someone’s value in upcoming dynasty drafts.
Mac Jones’ dynasty value for 2021
When it comes to how a player is valued, it boils down to the person most of the time. You and I could have totally different values on a player in dynasty, given the format’s long-term nature. There is also what you value in a player. Is it the arm strength? Mobility? The pocket presence or that swagger?
While he does not have the best arm of the class or will ever be a rushing threat, Jones thrives with accuracy and quick processing. His skill set is in direct contrast which what the modern game is transitioning to and what is coveted in prospects — particularly those who carry relatively high draft capital and value in Superflex leagues. I feel that is one of the reasons people are so divided on Jones.
Jones is locked in as the QB5 of this class because he does not have the ceiling of his contemporaries. He will be successful at the next level, however. That I am certain of. But unlike other QBs such as Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Zach Wilson, you won’t be upset if you miss out on rostering him in dynasty.
Mac Jones selected by the New England Patriots
It’s fitting, isn’t it. The Patriots were able to stand pat and still saw a QB slide to them in the draft. Jones was never a top-three pick. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to see him operating Kyle Shanahan’s offense with his accuracy. However, if I were to choose an “Option B,” New England would be it.
Jones fits the Bill Belichick offense and has all the traits he looks for in a QB. After all, he ran it with a QB of similar characteristics for 21 seasons. The departure from this philosophy could be one of the reasons the Patriots struggled under Cam Newton last season who is a big-arm, mobile QB that can struggle with accuracy. Without question, the offseason, or lack thereof, played a role, but Newton was uncharacteristically bad.
In 15 games, he threw for just 2,657 yards and 8 touchdowns. He threw 3 scores to various players before finally connecting with a receiver on a touchdown in Week 11. Quite the contrary from Tom Brady, who averaged 4,375 yards and 31 touchdowns from 2009 to 2019.
The lack of talent on the offense was a critical issue for the Patriots. They addressed this in the offseason through the additions of Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and most importantly, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. Last season, 68.1% of Newton’s passes traveled 10 or fewer yards in the air. It only makes sense to grab the top two TEs in free agency and fill that area of the field with options.
With Newton back on a one-year contract, Jones will sit for at minimum half the season or until 2022. With that being said, it all depends on how Newton plays. The concern will be the time needed to change the offense from Newton back to their “traditional” scheme. This could likely be a two-week process and one I would see happening around the bye week if it is late enough in the season. I believe Jones can work well in this offense; he just needs time to get accustomed to the “Patriot Way.”
Where should you draft Jones in dynasty rookie drafts?
Here is the fun part of this. On April 29, we found out how much the NFL and, more specifically, the San Francisco 49ers valued Jones. And surprise, surprise, it was all a ruse. Lance was their target from the beginning, and Kyle Shanahan went to great lengths to spread disinformation. They were even going so far as to tell different narratives inside their own building. The NFL chose upside rather than the safe option, and that is the case for dynasty managers as well who choose Jones.
As a full-time starter in 2020, Jones completed 77.4% of his passed for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Jones’ accuracy is arguably his greatest trait. On the short-to-intermediate route, he will carve up a defense, and there have been tons of QBs who have thrived with this style of play.
There are no surprises with Jones. You know what you are getting from the jump, and there is particular security in that feeling. But is it enough to make you reach for him in dynasty drafts?
The format makes all the difference for Jones’ draft position for fantasy
If you are in a 1QB league, Jones is a mid-third-round rookie for me. In my post-draft rookie rankings, Jones has remained my QB5 and is my No. 30 overall rookie. In 1QB formats, I feel there is a general feeling where QBs don’t matter. They are pushed further than they should come draft day. However, those of you who have suffered through teams with no QBs know how awful it is.
Say we’re talking redraft, I get you, and I am with you, but there are only 32 starting quarterbacks. If you don’t have three on your roster, it could end up costing you. When you have the chance to snag a QB with top-10 draft capital in the third round, do it — even if you aren’t entirely sold on him. Consider Jones a low-risk investment.
In Superflex, the risk is more apparent. Rather than being surrounded by Chuba Hubbard and Rhamondre Stevenson Jones is now in the same range as Jaylen Waddle and Javonte Williams. This speaks not only to the positional value of a QB but also to the risk. A swing and a miss is costly here, but Jones is worth the late-first-to-very-early-second-round selection in dynasty.
It is also slightly team-specific. If you need a QB, then roll with Jones. On the other hand, if your team is WR-needy, this is arguably one of the best spots in the draft. Nevertheless, while he does not have the arm or legs, Jones deserves far more respect than he has been receiving.
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