Michael Penix Jr.’s Dynasty Rookie Profile | Atlanta Falcons QB Fantasy Football Outlook

Set to play behind Kirk Cousins to start his career, what should dynasty managers expect from Michael Penix Jr. as the QB of the future for the Atlanta Falcons?

Normally a rookie quarterback prospect earning top-10 NFL Draft capital in a situation where he’ll be throwing the ball to players like Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, and Drake London would make for an outstanding dynasty fantasy football outlook in Superflex formats.

Unfortunately, there is a legitimate chance Michael Penix Jr. doesn’t see the football field for the next two years while playing behind Kirk Cousins as a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

How should dynasty fantasy football managers value Penix ahead of their dynasty rookie draft?

Should You Draft Michael Penix Jr. in Dynasty Fantasy Football?

It is still difficult to pinpoint how shocking the Falcons’ decision to select Penix with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft truly was, even a full two weeks removed from the event.

Atlanta just gave Cousins a four-year deal worth up to $180 million dollars with $100 million of that being fully guaranteed less than two months ago, which makes this franchise-altering commitment to Penix in the first round absolutely befuddling.

Penix’s rookie contract puts him on the Falcons’ roster through the 2027 NFL season, with a fifth-year team option for 2028. Cousins is under contract with Atlanta through 2027. If Cousins plays to the level they expected when they gave him the bag back in March, Penix could realistically not see the football field for the next 2-4 years.

I fully understand that dynasty fantasy football is all about long-term value, but even that seriously clouds Penix’s future on the field and puts his draft stock in Superflex leagues in flux.

On paper, he’s in a great situation and is loaded with dynamic offensive playmakers at every position, but there is no guarantee as to when dynasty managers will be able to deploy him in their starting lineups. This makes his dynasty value very low to any team, outside of a full-blown rebuild scenario.

Additionally, Penix will be 24 years old his rookie season and enters the league with both durability issues and holes in his prospect profile.

Does Penix have fantasy upside as a pocket passer in the NFL? Yes, but I don’t think he’ll ever enter elite territory at the position due to his lack of rushing production in college. Penix does have nice linear speed, but he struggles to open his hips and change directions, which will limit his upside as a dual-threat option.

Not to mention, there is no guarantee Penix is going to be a great quarterback in the league. Surrendering multiple seasons worth of potential production while still running the risk that he flops in the NFL is within the range of outcomes.

I like Penix as a prospect, but there is too much risk with his profile and current situation to invest first-round rookie draft capital in him when your Superflex dynasty draft rolls around.

Who Is Penix Jr.?

Background

Penix was a three-star prospect coming out of Tampa Bay Tech in the talent-rich state of Florida during his high school days. During his two starting seasons as a member of the Titans, Penix threw for 4,243 yards and 61 TDs.

Penix is 6’3” and 213 pounds, which puts him in the ballpark of what some scouts are looking for with regard to size at the quarterback position in the NFL.

College Production

Penix has certainly had a lengthy journey under center during his collegiate career. During his four years at Indiana, Penix threw for 4,197 yards and 29 TDs over 21 games.

However, the version of Penix we saw at Washington was a completely different beast. He threw for more yards and TDs in both individual seasons as a member of the Huskies than he did during all four of seasons at Indiana combined.

In 2022, Penix threw for 4,641 yards (which led the Pac-12) and 31 TDs in his breakout season. The Huskies QB managed to improve upon those gaudy numbers the next season by throwing for 4,903 yards and 36 TDs, which helped earn him the 2023 Maxwell Award.

Injury History

Penix does have a lengthy injury history entering the NFL. During all four years of Penix’s collegiate career at Indiana, he missed time due to injuries. In 2018, Penix suffered a season-ending torn ACL in October.

MORE: Dynasty Fantasy Football Startup Draft Strategies

In 2019, Penix sustained a dislocated SC joint in his right shoulder in November.

In the midst of his best year as a Hoosier in 2020, Penix tore his ACL again against the Maryland Terrapins.

In 2021, Penix dislocated a joint in his left shoulder after just five games, which would prove his final days in a Hoosier uniform before transferring to Washington.

Penix’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Plenty of velocity coming from his arm; ball has enough juice to get outside the numbers and threaten defenses vertically at the next level.
  • Capable and willing deep-ball operator; threatens defenses on all three levels of the field and is capable dropping dimes vertically against opposing defenses.
  • Showcased some gathering information during the pre-snap process; understands how his concept can exploit certainly coverages against looks (middle field open vs. middle field closed); will use his pre-snap information to influence safeties with his eyes to create bigger passing lanes down the field.
  • Arm talent allows for him to feather in throws on the second and third level when touch is required.
  • Can be effective when running RPO-based schemes.
  • Willing to hang in the pocket and go through progressions; showcased some ability to navigate the pocket when color flashes in front of him or he feels an outside rusher by sliding or climbing the pocket.
  • Accurate deliverer of the football with regularity; over 65% completion rate during his days at Washington.

Weaknesses

  • Footwork needs refinement to consistently play on time at the next level.
  • Advanced age due to six seasons at the collegiate level could shrink the development window at the NFL level.
  • Lengthy injury history definitely brings up valid durability concerns.
  • Virtually no threat as a runner at the NFL level.
  • Below-average impact as an off-script creator due to limited athleticism.
  • When pressure would speed up his clock, his unique throwing motion would lose some of its ball-placement accuracy.
  • Wish he would play on time/within structure a bit more often; ball routinely did not come out of his hand at the top of his drop.
  • As a projected pure pocket passer at the NFL level, it would have been encouraging to see many more throws with anticipation on his tape.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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