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Rookie Quarterback Dynasty Reactions: Zach Wilson and Mac Jones

We cover the two AFC East rookie quarterbacks and how they performed in their first years.

Mac Jones

Rookie quarterback reactions are back! In my prior article, I reacted to the seasons and outlooks of three rookie quarterbacks including Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance. If you have not read that article, take a minute to do so and then come back to this one!

We will be covering two more rookie quarterback seasons and wrapping up the series. Additionally, we will discuss their futures with their teams and their dynasty fantasy football outlook. Let’s get right to it!

Zach Wilson, NYJ

NFL Draft Pick: Round one, third overall

Wilson hit the NFL having started 30 games at Brigham Young University. In those 30 games, he threw for just over 7,600 yards and 56 touchdowns along with 15 interceptions producing a 67.6 completion percentage. His statistics were certainly great but what people seemed to love about him is his cannon for an arm. His deep ball ability is amazing.

In 2020, his last year at BYU, he attempted 27 passes down the field of 30 or more air yards. He completed 20 resulting in a 74.1 completion percentage. While many fantasy analysts absolutely loved him coming into the draft, he had plenty who thought he was overrated. He was proving to be a very polarizing player but we could all agree on one thing – his youthful looks seemed like a 12-year-old playing on an NFL field.

As the 2021 season winds down, Wilson haters continue taking victory laps as he played miserably for much of his time on the field. He played 11 full games, and only threw for 220 yards or more in four of them. He also had a total of eight passing touchdowns along with 11 interceptions. This Jets team was mediocre at best and Wilson played a large part in that overall performance. Mike White even looked better when he played. In White’s first game subbing in for Wilson who missed some time with a leg injury, he threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns.

All that said, I would not panic on Wilson just yet. There are some positives we can take away from this year. Towards the end of the season, he played much better. In the last five games, he threw for five touchdowns while only throwing a single interception. He also began to run the ball better. In college he had a great ability to escape pressure and create plays with his speed and agility. It was never at a Justin Fields or Trey Lance level but it was solid production. In his three seasons at BYU, he put up an average of 21.4 rushing yards per game. In his last four games of 2021, he put up 136 yards on the ground. He proved himself to be more comfortable escaping pressure and running the football, which was nice to see from the rookie.

Currently, Wilson is a player I see as a potential buy-low in dynasty fantasy football. Considering the offense around him, there is a lot of young talent. He has a solid running back in Michael Carter and explosive wide receiver in Elijah Moore, both entering their second years heading into 2022. He has veteran wideout Corey Davis, who is signed to this Jets team for another few years as well.

While there is much to be hopeful for with Wilson, as a buy-low in dynasty I would slightly prefer going after any one of the other three rookie quarterbacks mentioned in my previous article. I believe in their talent and their offense a bit more than Wilson and the Jets’ offense. However, if you need a cheaper option, Wilson would be worth considering.

Mac Jones, NE

NFL Draft Pick: Round one, 15th overall

Alabama’s Jones was not nearly as hyped as the other four quarterbacks taken before him in the draft. In 2019 and 2020 combined, he started 24 total games. In those games, he threw for just over 6000 yards, 55 touchdowns, and seven interceptions but did not add anything of value in the running game.

Fast forward to today and wow, did Jones prove some of us wrong! He looked so good in practices and camps that Cam Newton got cut from the team before the season even started. Simply put, the Patriots knew Jones was their guy. In his rookie 2021 season, Jones threw for the 13th most yards with 3,801. He did this on a Patriots team that passed at the 25th highest rate in the entire league.

Jones also had an impressive 7.3 passing yards per attempt. He was extremely efficient on his low volume. He not only looked like the best rookie quarterback of the year but is in top consideration for the coveted award of NFL Rookie of the Year. To be fair, Jones did not do all of the work. Bill Belichick schemed this offense to work perfectly for the rookie. The run game was on point and the throws were usually shorter. Due to all of this, Jones thrived.

Thus, Mac Jones is a great long-term buy in dynasty fantasy football right now. You might be thinking: why on earth would I want to buy coming off a great year as I would undoubtedly be buying high? Fair question, but you want to invest because the pass attempts for Jones are likely going to begin to climb. We saw the exact scenario with Tom Brady at the beginning of his career.

In 2001, Brady had his rookie year with the Patriots – they were 25th in pass attempts that year. Following that, the attempts kept climbing and in four of their next five years, the Patriots were in the top 12 in pass attempts. In 2007, it all broke loose and Brady had an excellent MVP season – helped by Randy Moss. Mac Jones is not Tom Brady. However, their skill-sets are similar and we could see Belichick approach Jones similarly.

Looking to build on their talent, The Patriots will undoubtedly be in the conversation for a big-name wideout in free agency. I would imagine they will also be in the discussions for trading for Calvin Ridley from the Atlanta Falcons. There are reports saying he could be traded this off-season and if those are indeed true, the Patriots are going to be interested. Bringing in a weapon like Davante Adams. Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, or Calvin Ridley would be a great reason for the Patriots to give Jones more freedom and more volume. This would be a huge upgrade for Jones and this would increase his dynasty value and price significantly.

The only downside I see with Jones is his lack of rushing production. At Alabama, he only put up 50 rushing yards in 2019 and 2020 combined, he put up a very lacking 129 yards this year as well. He is not going to give us that edge in the running game which unfortunately caps his upside, but an uptick in pass attempts should almost certainly be enough to take Jones from QB2 into QB1 territory. Other than his lack of rushing, I like everything about Jones and his situation. His price is also going to soar this off-season if the Patriots bring in that high-level wideout, or even if they are just rumored to do so. Either one of those outcomes is incredibly likely. So before free agency really begins, you should be going after Jones as a trade target in dynasty.


It has been an exciting year watching this rookie class of QBs. I like both of these quarterbacks and their dynasty prices. Mac Jones has gotten off to a hot start unlike the rest of the rookie quarterbacks I have discussed. Sadly he ended the season with a painful loss to the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs but there is still plenty of value remaining in this young player. With the weak quarterback prospects in this upcoming draft class, trading for Jones is absolutely something to consider. He was just purchased for the 2022 1.05 in a superflex dynasty league that I am a part of. I would much rather have Jones than any of the 2022 quarterback class and that is a valid target price.

Well, that wraps up the Rookie QB Reaction Series! Keep your eyes out for my upcoming series on Rookie RBs and see you next time.

Rookie Quarterback Dynasty Reactions: Zach Wilson and Mac Jones
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