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Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings: Top five rookie quarterbacks

Mobile, AL, USA; American squad quarterback Malik Willis of Liberty (7) runs with the ball in the first half against the National squad at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL offseason is nearly upon us. While others focus on 2022 NFL free agency and how NFL teams might find ways to improve, let's take a different approach and look ahead to the 2022 NFL Draft. Specifically: dynasty fantasy football talent.


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Throughout draft season, I'll be delivering top-five lists at every fantasy position to keep tabs on the top dynasty prospects. For those looking to dig deeper, PFF's 2022 NFL Draft Guide is a crucial resource, and it will be updated throughout the offseason leading up to the NFL Draft in April.

For now, let's dig into the top five rookie quarterbacks for dynasty fantasy football leagues in 2022 — with a few honorable mentions for good measure.

1. MALIK WILLIS, LIBERTY

2022 Senior Bowl Measurements
Height 6 feet
Weight 220 pounds
Arm Length 31 3/4”
Wingspan 77 3/8”
Hand 9 1/2”
Class Senior
Age 22

No quarterback has turned more heads in Mobile, Alabama, than Malik Willis. The Liberty signal-caller has shown off his arm strength and athletic playmaking ability to put the NFL on notice that he deserves to be the first quarterback drafted in April

The hype is warranted through the lens of fantasy football, as cannon-equipped quarterbacks who create value with their legs are the precise archetype to target.

Willis finished the 2021 season first in big-time throw rate (11%) and fourth in PFF passing grade on throws of 20-plus air yards (96.8). He also added 1,220 rushing yards and 133 forced missed tackles on 151 carries — the highest rushing production of any quarterback and the second-most missed tackles in the nation behind only Iowa State running back Breece Hall.

Willis evaded a tackle on nearly every other carry (48%), and he showcased this elusiveness with two more missed tackles in the 2022 Senior Bowl en route to 54 rushing yards. His 91.7 PFF passing grade throughout the Senior Bowl practices was the highest of the week.

The former Auburn Tiger averaged almost 100 rushing yards per game over the last two seasons, putting him in elite company with some of college football’s best rushers. The rushing alone will give him an opportunity to enter the late-round quarterback discussion if he can earn a starting gig in Year 1.

College Career Rushing Profiles (Sorted by PFF rushing grade)
Player PFF rushing grade Rushing yards/
game
Attempts/game TDs/game YPA Scrambles/game Designed runs/game
Lamar Jackson 87.5 126.1 14.6 1.3 8.6 3.7 10.9
Malik Willis 94.4 98.4 12.1 1.2 8.1 5.0 7.1
Jalen Hurts 77.6 82.2 12.5 1.0 6.6 3.7 8.8
Kyler Murray 84.4 76.5 9.6 0.9 7.9 2.9 6.7
Trey Lance 80.6 72.8 10.1 0.9 7.2 1.9 8.2
Desmond Ridder 78.6 58 9.1 0.6 6.6 2.4 6.7
Justin Fields 72.5 54.8 8.0 0.7 6.8 3.4 4.6
Daniel Jones 65.2 51.1 9.4 0.5 5.5 1.9 7.5
Matt Corral 75.2 47.3 8.2 0.5 5.8 3.6 4.6
Sam Howell 81.9 45.8 7.2 0.5 6.4 3.2 4.0
Josh Allen 58.9 42.3 8.0 0.5 5.3 3.0 5.0
Joe Burrow 73.6 40.2 7.0 0.4 5.8 2.7 4.3
Zach Wilson 69.2 34.9 5.9 0.5 5.9 4.1 1.8
Trevor Lawrence 81.5 34.3 5.0 0.5 6.9 2.3 2.8
Baker Mayfield 66.3 33.7 6.5 0.5 5.2 2.5 4.1
Kenny Pickett 62.3 30.3 6.4 0.4 4.7 3.5 2.9
Justin Herbert 50.7 22.8 4.5 0.3 5.1 2.0 2.5
Sam Darnold 58.6 22.3 5.0 0.3 4.4 2.4 2.7
Tua Tagovailoa 61.8 16.1 2.7 0.3 6 1.5 1.2
Bailey Zappe 55.1 13.9 3.6 0.1 3.8 2.1 1.5
Gardner Minshew 52.9 10.4 4.4 0.3 2.4 2.5 1.9
Dwayne Haskins 58.1 10.3 5.4 0.3 1.9 2.1 3.3
Carson Strong 40.7 8.3 2.3 0.0 3.5 1.7 0.6

2. SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA

2022 Senior Bowl Measurements
Height 6 feet
Weight 221 pounds
Arm Length 31 1/8”
Wingspan 77 5/8”
Hand 9 1/8”
Class Senior
Age 21

Sam Howell earned the starting quarterback job at North Carolina as a 19-year old true freshman and never looked back. He finished fourth in the FBS with 38 touchdown passes in his first season, cementing himself on the NFL radar.

He followed up an impressive introduction with an even more dominant performance as a passer in 2020, finishing as the nation’s sixth-highest-graded quarterback (92.3) and fourth-best deep passer (98.0) in an offense littered with future NFL talent.

Unsurprisingly, Howell took a bit of a step back in his final season without the likes of Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome at his disposal. The UNC product finished as PFF’s 37th-graded passer (80.3) — 15th among his 2022 draft class.

To make up for a lack of passing efficiency, Howell turned up the dial on his rushing production. After posting just 600 yards on the ground through two seasons, Howell rushed for 1,106 yards as PFF’s second-highest-graded rusher (91.0) in 2021.

PFF’s 2022 NFL Draft Guide describes Howell as “one-and-run” in terms of how he goes through his progression. If the first read isn’t there, he is looking to get yards with his legs. This presents problems for the real-life NFL but shouldn’t be considered negatively for fantasy.

Howell’s escapability lends itself to rushing success at the NFL level if he doesn’t have a lot of talent around him. Conversely, his first two years of college show he will take full advantage when he does have weapons around him.

It’s hard to label Howell as a “situation-proof” quarterback — a rookie quarterback's team context plays an integral part in their growth — but it’s hard to overlook his versatility as far as how he can rack up fantasy points in the years to come based on which team selects him. 

from PFF's 2022 NFL Draft Guide

3. KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH

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