Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from DLF member Bobby Lawrence. He explores the question we’ve all been asking ourselves…what should we do with Trey Lance? Is it time to move on completely or are there more factors to consider?
In dynasty circles, when player performance results are not forthcoming, there comes a time when dynasty managers need to decide whether to cut the cord with certain high draft capital players and consider them busts. This brings us to the Trey Lance dilemma. Do we hold Trey Lance, or should we try to get what we can and move forward?
In standard 1QB leagues, rostering Lance shouldn’t even be a question. The answer is a resounding no! That is, unless your league provides enough roster space to carry 3 quarterbacks. But even then, it may not be wise to carry 3 QBs. However, deciding whether to keep Trey Lance rostered in dynasty superflex leagues is not quite as simple. Acquiring decent QBs in superflex formats after the start-up has ended is often very difficult and can be very expensive.
So, what do we do with Trey Lance in superflex? In view of the recent news that San Francisco has named Sam Darnold the backup QB behind Brock Purdy, many are concluding that Trey Lance is a bust. Many have been making this claim for a while, and now they feel vindicated since Shanahan has rostered Lance behind Darnold. But the question begs: can the ‘Lance is a bust’ conclusion be made and taken seriously after the kid has only started 4 games in 2 years?
Brock Purdy had a storybook stretch of games last year after being thrust into the 49er’s starting QB role in early December—starting and winning 7 straight games before being knocked out of the NFC title game with a UCL injury. Purdy had off-season surgery, and for all intents and purposes, it seemed apparent that Purdy was going to be handed the starting QB role in San Francisco if he was healthy. Purdy is healthy, and he is the starting quarterback.
Fair or unfair, the only QB competition in the Niners training camp this month seems to have been between Trey Lance and Sam Darnold for the backup QB role. While the 49ers have decided to move forward this year with Purdy under center and Darnold as their QB2, the current QB situation in the 49er’s organization still seems somewhat volatile.
Reports coming out of the 49er’s camp all August suggest Purdy has not looked consistently sharp, and he has supposedly been throwing a bunch of interceptions. Yes, it’s only practice, and he is coming off UCL surgery. Nevertheless, I can’t help wondering if Brock Purdy is just an average NFL quarterback. Without getting into the weeds about the level of Brock Purdy’s talent as an NFL quarterback, UCL surgery or not, most of us can agree that he is not a QB we have been aggressively targeting in dynasty leagues. But neither is Trey Lance.
Those who already have Lance rostered have to decide what to do with him. After only 4 games, Lance probably hasn’t had enough of an opportunity to show what he can do in the NFL or in fantasy football. Not only has Lance not received the necessary number of consecutive reps with the 49er’s 1st team offense in practice or real-game situations; but there are also legitimate questions about chemistry.
Do the strengths that Lance brings to the table as a QB match what Kyle Shanahan wants in a QB tasked with running his offensive scheme? Since Lance’s injury last September, and in view of Brock Purdy’s storybook run of success last year, has Trey Lance really received the support and the confidence needed to succeed in San Francisco? Did Sam Darnold really outperform Trey Lance, or was Darnold always going to be the QB2? These are just a few questions that need to be answered before dynasty managers decide what to do with Trey Lance.
There are plenty of questions. Will Brock Purdy continue to perform like he did last year? How will the UCL surgery impact Purdy’s 2023 performance, either physically or mentally? Even if Purdy doesn’t perform well, or if he has setbacks with his health, will Trey Lance even get a chance to play now that Sam Darnold is the QB2? As long as he’s in San Francisco, will Lance ever get the playing experience he needs to be evaluated accurately as either a bust or as a valued dynasty asset? How long will Trey Lance be with the 49ers? Is a trade now inevitable, and if Lance is traded, will he thrive in a different environment with another organization?
So, should dynasty managers hold Trey Lance? I suspect there’s no middle ground. Some would claim that Lance has had every opportunity needed to succeed as an NFL quarterback and he has failed. Others, including myself, would contend that because of a series of bad circumstances Lance’s potential as a dynasty asset is still very much unknown and he could still prove to be a very valuable dynasty asset. Therefore, my position is yes, dynasty managers should hold Trey Lance.