The 2021 NFL Draft quarterback class is loaded with talent. FTN Fantasy’s first mock draft of the season has five QBs going in the top 10. And standing atop the mountain of QB talent in this year’s class is Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence has been the presumed first overall pick for the 2021 NFL Draft dating back to 2019, or maybe even 2018 — that’s how good he was in college.
Now that Lawrence’s time in the NFL is finally here, what should we expect of him from a fantasy perspective? And where should we be rooting for him to play?
As a true freshman in 2018, Lawrence led the ACC with 30 touchdowns, and his 4 INTs were tied for second-fewest in the nation. He led the ACC in yards and yards per attempt (Y/A) as a sophomore in 2019, and he played in the national title game in two of his three years (winning once).
From a statistical perspective, Lawrence is obviously a top candidate. And from a fantasy perspective, we shouldn’t overlook his rushing production in college. He averaged nearly six rush attempts per game in his collegiate career, and he went off as a junior for 563 rushing yards. He’s not the next Lamar Jackson, but he’s certainly an above-average rusher as a QB, which is big for fantasy in today’s NFL.
Ability to ‘read the field’
Lawrence is probably the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, who was the best prospect since Peyton Manning. Guys this good don’t come around very often. There’s not much to say about how good of a prospect Lawrence is that hasn’t already been said, so we can keep it short.
Lawrence can make any throw, and he’s excellent at reading coverages and blitzes. He can also throw on the run. Lawrence has also shown a great ability with timing throws — if he’s able to click with his receivers in the NFL, it’s a skill that could be deadly (think Aaron Rodgers with Jordy Nelson or Davante Adams on timing routes). And, as noted above, Lawrence is an above-average rusher (he’s also excellent at avoiding the rush and moving in the pocket).
Limited progression through reads
Lawrence is undoubtedly the best prospect in this class and the best QB prospect in some time, but that’s not to say he’s perfect.
It will take a minor miracle for Lawrence to end up anywhere but Jacksonville (who owns the first overall pick), but let’s do a quick run through the two most realistic landing spots.
Jacksonville Jaguars: This would be a solid landing spot for fantasy purposes, even as early as 2021. The offense has a bona fide WR1 in DJ Chark and a solid dual-threat RB in James Robinson. If Gardner Minshew flirted with borderline fantasy QB1 status in this offense as a rookie, that will be Lawrence’s floor.
New York Jets: This would not be an ideal spot for 2021, but the long-term outlook could be solid, as the Jets have two first-round picks both this year and next year as well as some extra picks in the first four rounds over the next two seasons. Lawrence played with better receivers in college than New York’s current options, though.
He’ll be a dynasty QB1 regardless of where he gets drafted — as soon as he gets drafted. He has the upside to be the overall QB1 both in dynasty and redraft within a few years, though, of course, he faces still competition for that mantle with many good young QBs (many rushing specialists) in the league right now.
Tyler is a 20-year fantasy football vet specializing in redraft, DFS, and dynasty. He has earned multiple FSWA nominations and won the Best Football Series award in 2017. Tyler previously wrote for PFF Fantasy, RotoViz, and Bleacher Report.