Exiting the combine, we are digging into this incoming rookie class for Dynasty rookie drafts, startups, and the potential these young players can have on the 2024 seasonal formats.

Even before the actual NFL Draft in April, rookies are available in Best Ball formats across all platforms.

Now that the NFL Combine has passed, we have a plethora of new athletic data on this upcoming rookie class.

That information can be applied to athletic models and used to shape the full portfolio for prospects to go along with production profiles, which is a general overlay of what these players put on tape for NFL teams.

Today, we are jumping into the quarterbacks.

We have also covered the tight ends, running backs, and wide receivers.

The quarterback position is the one that has the largest difference between what is considered a fantasy success and real-life success.

Scouting and analyzing how collegiate passers will translate to the next NFL has been an ongoing battle that has suffered more losses than wins.

The good news here is that we are not selecting these passers with the inherent real-life ramifications that an NFL franchise has when missing a player evaluation.

We also have the added benefit of knowing what types of archetypes of quarterbacks truly have access to fantasy upside and can adjust accordingly.

With SuperFlex and 2QB formats rising in popularity to add relevancy to the position, the top of the position has become more pertinent to invest in Dynasty rookie drafts.

That also gives a boost to the quarterbacks who could have floor capability as well, but that later bucket of passers has extremely limited value and is largely replaceable in formats that still only require you to start one player at the position.

While continuing to grow, until those formats that entail multiple starting quarterbacks become industry standard, the quarterback position remains a supply-and-demand game that lends favor to suppressing incoming rookies at the position since so many leagues are still starting one quarterback.

This was a major fulcrum point a year ago with Bryce Young being the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft but our third-ranked quarterback in fantasy leagues after the draft.

Post draft we will have the added influence of draft investment and landing spot to add to the layout.

That will be relevant for this class, especially, because we have a few tighter tiers, especially the secondary tier of the position.

From a top-down perspective, this quarterback class is strong.

Mock Draft Database currently has four quarterbacks in the first round with another pair of picks inside of the top-40 selections. Three of those players could end up as the first three players selected this spring.

This is also an interesting class because we have a handful of late bloomers that took maximum advantage of the added year due to COVID and the changes to the transfer portal.

You can find previous versions of this post from the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 seasons through these links.

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Tier 1 Rookie Quarterbacks

This top tier of quarterbacks are the two players who fit the larger criteria that we are looking for in fantasy. They come with both passing and rushing acumen.

In today’s fantasy landscape, you need access to rushing production to not only compete via a floor perspective but also crack those elite seasons that can pace the position.

Caleb Williams, USC

Final Year Age: 22.1

Williams has been anticipated to be the No. 1 overall pick in this draft since over a year ago.

He exits college with a 97th percentile score in career passing production in my prospect model for all quarterbacks going back to 2000.

For his career, Williams ranks in the 92nd percentile in yards per pass attempt (9.2 Y/A). He averaged over 9.0 yards per pass attempt in all three seasons at college.

He is in the 96th percentile in touchdown to interception ratio (6.6:1), and in the 85th percentile in completion percentage (66.9%).

Williams has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes in the way that he moves and routinely makes insane throws off platform and out of structure while being paired with incredible arm talent.

No quarterback in this draft class had more pass attempts outside of the pocket in 2023 than Williams did (88) per Sports Info Solutions.

On those plays outside of the pocket, he averaged 9.4 Y/A (third in the class) with a 12.5% touchdown rate (also third).

Inside of the pocket, Williams averaged 9.4 Y/A, only behind Jayden Daniels and Bo Nix in this class.

He also comes with an 88th-percentile career mark in rushing production.

I do not believe Williams will be a rusher to the degree of the top-flight runners in the NFL. I believe he will be more touchdown-dependent in that regard than an outright scrambler, but he can be used in the read-option game as well as near the goal line.

Paired with his passing profile, Williams could be in the bucket of what we had in early-career Deshaun Watson from a fantasy-lens as an apex outcome.

Williams rushed for 27 touchdowns in college.

With the NFL using their quarterbacks more than ever near the end zone on the ground, Williams led this draft class with seven of his 11 rushing touchdowns in 2023 coming inside of the five-yard line.

While we have touched on the good, we also have to flip to the other side of things.

Williams was once again cruising to another potential Heisman in 2023 before the wheels came off for the first time in college.

Through six games, USC was 6-0 while Williams had thrown 22 touchdowns with just one interception. He was averaging 10.9 yards per pass attempt over that stretch to open the season.

Then over the final six games, USC went 1-5 while Williams threw just eight touchdown passes to four interceptions while averaging 8.2 Y/A.

He also fumbled nine times, losing three.

That back half of the season filled with adversity also included the only two games this past season in which Williams faced top-10 defenses.

One of those was the worst game of his career by far against Notre Dame.

The other was against Oregon, in which Williams completed a season-low 55.9% of his passes.

While the highs from Williams have drawn ceiling comparisons to Mahomes, Williams was nowhere close to Mahomes regarding sack avoidance.

Williams took a sack on 21.6% of his pressures this past season, the third-worst rate in this draft class.

For comparison, Mahomes was only sacked on 9.8% of his pressures in his final season in college and has gone on to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in avoiding sacks on pressures. Since entering the league in 2017, Mahomes has been sacked on just 12.2% of his pressures, the lowest rate in the league.

If you need some added background on why this is vital, avoiding a sack doubles your rate of scoring on a drive while tripling the success rate of scoring a touchdown at the NFL level.

When pressured this past season, Williams logged a 49.4% on-target rate per SiS, the lowest rate of this draft class.

When he was not pressured, that rate spiked to 80.1%, which was third-best. His 10.3 Y/A when he was not pressured was second in the class.

The interesting component for Williams here is that he was great at avoiding sacks outside of pocket.

He was sacked on just 4.3% of his dropbacks outside of the pocket (third-best in the class) despite having the most dropbacks on the move.

Compare that to someone like Jayden Daniels, who was sacked on a class-high 18.8% of his dropbacks outside of the pocket.

And therein lies the question for Williams and his six-game drop-off to close his college career that gets highlighted as the premier negative.

How much of the hero-ball we saw to end the season was actual hubris surrounding ability and how much can we credit to his overall surroundings?

The truth surely lies in both camps, but USC also ended the season with an underperforming offensive line and a defense that allowed 34.4 points per game.

While we should not disregard the close to his collegiate career when the surroundings declined, we still have a larger sample of Williams providing elite production that showcases the ceiling we want to pursue.

For all of his turnover-worthy plays, Williams was still great where it mattered the most.

Despite being pressured on 36.7% of his red zone dropbacks in 2023, he did not throw a red zone interception. His 79.2% on-target throw rate in the red zone was the best in this draft class.

On third and fourth down passes, Wiliams still led this class with 9.6 Y/A and did not throw an interception on those downs despite being pressured on 42.6% of those dropbacks (third-highest).

An added element here is that if Williams does end up being selected No .1 overall by Chicago, the Bears are actually in a better position than the majority of teams making the No. 1 pick to provide a positive runway for a passer out of the box.

Chicago already has D.J. Moore in place as a WR1. They took an offensive tackle first last season that started all 17 games. Outside of having the first pick, they also hold the No. 9 pick to potentially add one of the top offensive tackles or one of the top three wide receivers in this draft class to the fold.

The Commanders and Patriots take a lot more squinting in providing a strong year-one landing spot.

Jayden Daniels, LSU

Final Year Age: 23.0

I believe there is an absolute case to make for Daniels being the QB1 in this class, especially when looking at things through a fantasy lens.

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