Trey Lance Dynasty Fantasy Fit with 49ers: Dream Landing Spot

Trey Lance Dynasty Fantasy Fit with 49ers: Dream Landing Spot article feature image
Credit:

Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Lance.

Trey Lance Fantasy Profile

Position
QB
School
North Dakota State
Height
6’4″
Weight
224
40-Yard Dash
N/A
2021 Age
21
Class
Double Redshirt Freshman
Recruit. Stars
3
Projected Round
1

Trey Lance Fantasy Fit

I love this fit. Lance has the rushing production to make him viable in fantasy even if he’s subpar in reality, and in the Kyle Shanahan offense, Lance should have many opportunities schemed open for him as a passer.

For much of the process leading up to the draft, it looked like Mac Jones would be the pick — but I’m thrilled it’s Lance. As a fantasy analyst and football fan, thrilled.

Whenever he becomes the starter — whether that’s Week 1, in the middle of the season or in 2022 — I expect Lance to be a low-end QB1 right away.

Even with the probability that he does not start immediately as a rookie, he should be a priority in superflex and two-quarterback rookie fantasy drafts.

Lance going to the 49ers is a dream.

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Dynasty Fantasy Analysis

Note: The following was written before the NFL Draft.

Lance is my favorite quarterback in this class. He’s not the best prospect — but he has a shot to be the best professional.

The breadth of his comps speaks to his wide range of NFL outcomes.

Like Allen, Lance is raw. Like McNair, he is a strong, tough-to-tackle runner. Like Stafford, he is young — he will be 21 years old as a rookie. And like Hill, he will likely need time to develop.

Lightly recruited out of high school, Lance had the opportunity to play in the Ivy League for Cornell, in the MAC for Northern Illinois, in the FCS for powerhouse North Dakota State — or in the Big Ten at Minnesota (his local school and desired location) … but as a safety, not a quarterback.

Lance chose to stay at quarterback, and he signed with the Bison. He chose well.

In 2018 he dressed every game of the title season, but he technically redshirted as the No. 3 quarterback and saw limited action in just two contests, completing his one attempt for 12 yards while flashing his wheels with 8-82-2 rushing.

In 2019, though, he broke out as a redshirt freshman with one of the most dominant FCS campaigns in recent history.

Starting all 16 games, he led the Bison to a record-setting 16-0 season and national championship with 2,786-28-0 passing on a 66.9% completion rate and 156-1,159-14 rushing (excluding sacks, per 2021 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook).

I want to be sure you appreciate those numbers: zero interceptions and well over 1,000 yards rushing. The rushing production in particular was something to behold.

For his remarkable season, Lance won the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding offensive FCS player in the nation.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Dakota State’s 2020 season was postponed to the spring of 2021, but the team did play one game — essentially an exhibition against Central Arkansas — in October.

Under these abnormal circumstances, Lance had perhaps the worst game of his undergraduate career: He completed just 50% of his passes and threw his first (and only) interception of college. Oh my — how embarrassing!

Some draftniks talk about this one game as if it’s somehow representative of anything and as if Lance actually played poorly. Given the circumstances, the game is meaningless, and Lance didn’t have a bad game. He had 148 yards and two touchdowns passing and was 13-164-2 rushing. Overall, that’s a dominant performance.

Shortly after the game, Lance opted out of the rest of the season and declared for the NFL draft. So here we are, looking at an incredibly accomplished but developmental prospect.

In some regards, Lance is similar to Mac Jones: Both started just 17 games in college, but what they accomplished as individuals and team leaders in limited action was remarkable. But, unlike Jones, Lance didn’t play at the highest level of college football, and he hardly threw the ball: As a starter, he attempted just 18.6 passes per game.

But I’m not too worried about Lance as a passer. He’s far from a finished product. He doesn’t throw with great anticipation or accuracy. He tends to leave the pocket early when pressured. He doesn’t drive with his legs when throwing deep. He can be tentative in attacking the defense. But he also doesn’t have bad mechanical habits that need to be unlearned. He’s a workable prospect.

He’s intelligent and driven. In college, he played in a pro-style system. He can produce inside and outside of the pocket. He can throw with touch to the sidelines. He pushes the ball downfield with his career average depth of target of 11.5 yards (per Pro Football Focus). And he has a strong arm, as evidenced by some of the throws we saw at the North Dakota State pro day.

Lance certainly has the talent to be a functional-at-worst NFL passer.

But, really, who cares about his passing? Even if he never becomes an average passer, he could still be a league-winning fantasy quarterback because of his rushing ability.

With his size, Lance as a runner looks like a move tight end after the catch. He shreds arm tackles and stiff arms defensive backs.

Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson: They’re all better than Lance. Even the immobile Jones is probably better.

But none of them has Lance’s divinely unholy combination of youth and rushing ability. None of them has his immense fantasy upside.

With his relative inexperience, passing issues and production vs. low-level competition, Lance might be a bust. But if he booms, the explosion will be magnificent to witness.

I want him everywhere. Acquiring him in dynasty leagues is one of my top priorities.

NFL Prospect Comp: Jalen Hurts with more draft capital and height but much less experience


Matthew Freedman is 1,018-828-37 (55.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

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