Sunday, April 2, 2023

2022 Fantasy Football Quarterback Projections: Jalen Hurts and Jameis Winston climbing, rookies still absent

The first question I would expect when talking about post-draft projections updates is “where are the rookies?”. At the quarterback position, that is a question that will not be answered by this round of projections. That can be at least partially explained by the fact that there was only one quarterback taken in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Kenny Pickett is the only quarterback (for now) we could reasonably expect to start more games than the veteran in front of him. Why don’t I?

It’s partially because I’m just not totally sold on Pickett, and also because I don’t believe Mitchell Trubisky is as bad as his reputation. Most importantly, I don’t believe Mike Tomlin has any plans to do anything but make the playoffs this season and I remain unconvinced he’ll see Pickett as a better option to help him reach that goal in 2022. But even if Pickett was in the projections below, he wouldn’t be ranked any higher than Trubisky is at No. 20.

Don’t let the lack of rookies trick you into thinking these are the same old projections from April. The placement of Jalen Hurts and Jameis Winston should be enough to prove that.¬†

Hurts vaulted up to No. 6 in the projections and he’s closer to Josh Allen at No. 1 than he is to Kyler Murray at No. 7. I’m projecting the acquisition of A.J. Brown will mean both more passing and more efficient passing for Hurts, who also projects as the second-leading rusher at quarterback behind only Lamar Jackson. Hurts is likely to be a top-five quarterback next year if he can just stay healthy, but if he takes a leap himself, he could absolutely be the No. 1 quarterback in Fantasy.

While I don’t believe Jameis Winston could actually be the No. 1 quarterback in Fantasy, he could absolutely be a No. 1 quarterback this season. In fact, if Michael Thomas is able to get to 100% healthy that should probably be our expectation. Winston’s Saints added one of my favorite rookie wide receivers in Chris Olave and consummate professional¬†Jarvis Landry to the receiving corps in the past month. Pair them with Thomas and Alvin Kamara and suddenly the Saints’ offense looks above average, if not better.

Of course, the Saints offense does come with some risk. Kamara could still be suspended for the altercation in Las Vegas, Thomas may never be the player he once was, and Olave is a rookie. So I’d understand if, for stability’s sake, you’d rather take Derek Carr over Winston, especially in a two-quarterback league. This is a good reminder that projections are not rankings, and I wouldn’t draft strictly off of them.¬†

What I do like to do is use projections as a way to see where players have similar projections but massive differences in ADP. I would suspect Hurts, Winston, and Kirk Cousins will all compare favorably by that measure. Cousins always does.

One final note before we get to the actual projections: Don’t be discouraged by what you see for Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, and Zach Wilson. They are high-upside guys with no floor at all in a one-quarterback league. Their projection is basically irrelevant to their value because their value is mostly theoretical right now. I rank all of them higher than where I have them projected.

Here’s the May update for my 2022 quarterback projections:

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