With the NFL Draft mere days away at this point, we should be considering which players are most likely to have significant value shifts based on the outcome. With as much smoke surrounding him, let’s see if there’s soon to be fire.
Trey Lance, QB SF
The 49ers gave up immense capital to trade up and draft Trey Lance with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and so far it has not been ideal.
Coming into the NFL, we knew he was a raw prospect, so it was not very surprising when he sat on the bench in his first season behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
As Lance’s second season rolled around, the fantasy football community was very excited for him due to his rushing capabilities. He ran for over 1100 yards in his only full season playing for North Dakota State in 2019, and we all know what rushing quarterbacks do in fantasy. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by a broken ankle very early into the 2022 season.
If it was just an injury concern, he would have a much better outlook in dynasty fantasy football. However, we all know there is much more to this story. The last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft Brock Purdy came out and crushed it for San Francisco after coming in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo late in the year. While he did not play perfectly, he made a positive impact on this team. The locker room clearly loves him as a competitor and there were many positive comments through the season on his play from many members of the 49ers team and organization. He won plenty of games for San Francisco, and if he had not gotten injured and missed most of the NFC Championship game he may have played in a Super Bowl.
Purdy’s elbow injury and its timeline has not always been clear throughout the off-season. When he got his surgery in early March of this year, most hopes were that he would be ready within five to six months, which would set him up to be ready right before the 2023 season. However, newer reports on his recovery process have shown that his capability to play football at the start of 2023 season is in jeopardy. However, as of right now, there is no definite timeline and it will be something to follow through the off-season. Since reports have only gotten more negative since March, my bet would be that he is not fully healthy heading into the 2023 season, but he could potentially still start for the team. Given that he attempted to tough it out for the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, if Purdy gets a nod to play he will play through injury.
Situation and Usage
Moving to the present day, there have been some rumors that Lance could be traded a lot of the off-season. Now, we have real proof. The 49ers have reportedly been fielding calls for him within the past handful of days according to Ian Rapoport. While fielding calls is different than making calls, it is clear that the 49ers have interest in trading away their former third overall pick.
From NFL Now: The #49ers have fielded calls from teams interested in trading for QB Trey Lance. pic.twitter.com/dyCQ43IvFr
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 19, 2023
They have not seen him much in real games, but have seen him in practices for almost two years now. Even so, the 49ers seem so willing to move on. Most reports have even hinted that Brock Purdy is the leader for the starting job in 2023. Here is a quote from 49ers general manager John Lynch according to NBC Sports: “He’s probably the leader in the clubhouse. I’ll let Kyle make those kinds of decisions. But I know when we talk, I think Brock has probably earned that right to be the guy. If we were to line up, he’d probably take that first snap”. When tweeting about San Francisco fielding calls, Ian Rappaport also essentially said that it is assumed that Purdy is the future of the team.
Adding onto that, the 49ers did add Sam Darnold. While that is not a groundbreaking move, it is more significant than you may think. If the 49ers were to move on from Trey Lance, now they have a solid backup option to backup Purdy or start for Purdy if he is too injured to start the first few games of the season.
Not only does the 49ers team give us no confidence, but history shows that Lance is toast. The history of first round quarterbacks traded during their rookie contract is not a pretty one. These are the quarterbacks just since 2010:
Looking at this from a fantasy football perspective, can we have faith in Lance in dynasty? Is his cost worth the risk?
We all know that he can run, and in fantasy that can be very valuable. He also has a cannon of an arm and can chuck it down the field with ease. That all sounds great, but if he is not a good NFL quarterback he will not be able to start and give us fantasy points for long. 2023 seems to be a prove-it year for Lance. If he starts and does not show enough to the team he plays for it is likely that he will not get more starting opportunities in his career. We are simply at that point with him as a player entering his third season.
The history of quarterbacks being traded on their rookie deals is rough. Due to that, and the fact that the only team who knows anything about his talent right now is interested in starting a seventh-round quarterback over him, I do not have that much faith in him as a player. It is clear that the 49ers do not have confidence in him, so dynasty managers should not have much either.
ADP and Trade Value
Lance is currently the QB19 in the latest superflex dynasty ADP. Since his rookie season, his perceived dynasty value has been significantly hurt, and trading him is not easy. Due to his team next season being a question mark, not many want to buy into him as a dynasty asset.
Trades I have been able to look at on the very helpful DLF Trade Finder have shown that he is valued as a late first round pick currently in superflex leagues, and a new starting opportunity could send that price up even higher.
Based on that information, I may wait on Lance and wait for confirmation on the team he will be playing for. I would immediately sell him off his potential then.
While he does hold a lot of upside due to his physical abilities, at the end of the day, his journey to having real success is a steep uphill battle. All signs unfortunately point towards an unsuccessful end to his NFL story.
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