Dynasty QBs and Rushing Upside

I’m listening to today’s Dynasty Football Podcast, and I have questions.

I mean, I get it. Rushing upside is great for QBs for fantasy purposes. It’s great for the NFL as well, as it adds another dimension to your team’s offense, making it more difficult for opponent defenses to shut you down.

But… (you knew there would be a but)

Why the infatuation with QBs like Jalen Hurts or Justin Fields in dynasty? Both looked terrible as passers this year. I will cut Fields some slack, it was his rookie season, as he didn’t have the best weapons. But for Hurts, it was the second season, and I didn’t see much progress.

No rushing upside in the world will help an NFL team if their QB can’t pass. If passing didn’t matter, teams could skip the QB position and start Kamara or Henry under center.

When was the last time a rushing QB won the Super Bowl? Kaepernick came close in 2012, but ultimately lost to Joe Flacco. Russell Wilson won it in 2013, but he is a great passer.

Other than that, I see a long list of pocket passers.

Lamar Jackson could be a guy to win it. He is a solid passer, and his run game is crazy good. But Jackson brings us to the second problem with rushing QBs for dynasty purposes:

They have a short shelf life.

Jackson started getting injured this season. Maybe it was an exception. Or maybe it was a sign for things to come. He’s 25 now. Cam Newton was done at age 28.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If I can get 5-6 great seasons out of a QB, I will take him without hesitation. But it also means I will have to think about a replacement much earlier than I would have to for a pocket passer.

And in SFLEX leagues, drafting a great future QB is a pretty big challenge. You need a very early 1st round pick, and then you still don’t have any guarantee that this top college prospect will really perform on an NFL level.

So what do we get when we draft QBs with lots of rushing upside, but deficits in their passing game? You will get a QB who may deliver solid fantasy numbers for a short-to-medium period of time, before he’ll be either injured or out of a starter job.

In redraft, that’s no problem. But I see people taking Jalen Hurts in the first round of SFLEX dynasty startup drafts. Jalen Hurts could be without a job by 2023, or even earlier. When that happens, you did not just waste one, but several first round picks on your QB1 position. You will have to address the QB position in every first round of future rookie drafts, until you found a good option. And then you can’t use these picks on RBs, who have a notoriously short shelf life and constantly need to be replaced.

Rushing upside is great. But it’s a bonus. In military terms, it’s a secondary mission target. And you don’t sacrifice your primary target for a secondary one. The primary target for QBs is constant production and a safe future in the NFL. Rushing QBs will not provide that.

Bottom line: don’t draft terrible passers, just because they have some rushing upside. It doesn’t work in the NFL, and it won’t work for long in dynasty leagues, either.


While I agree with everything you said, there’s another aspect to add to this discussion: Great running QB’s who can’t pass are real life liabilities to their team. Maybe they will learn how to pass at some point (see Randall Cunningham and Mike Vick), but if it doesn’t happen, they will get benched or cut.

The key to watch is how much draft capital did the team spend to get the QB? Early picks get more rope. But a 6th round scrambler is easy to cut.

As for Hurts, he looks like he’s safe for another year. If he can even make a modicum of improvement to his passing game, I can see the Eagles keeping him around for longer. But like you said, his shelf life won’t be long unless he can learn how to be a pure pocket passer like Cunningham and Vick did (and even they never turned out to be great pocket passers).


True. I listened to a podcast today where somebody made the argument that “top 10 or not” is the key factor. Top 10 QBs tend to get a third season. Outside the top 10, it’s usually a second season. If you don’t show signs of improvement by then, you’re likely out of a job latest after that season.

Hurts was a second round pick. He did show some signs of improvement this year, but it was small steps. He looked competent at times, but also had a few terrible showings.

The key question for the Eagles is: can we win a title with that guy at some point? And my take is: no. They may keep him around for another year, but the leash will grow shorter. He will have no sort of job guarantee next year.

Positive examples on the QB position are Mac Jones and Davis Mills. Both showed notable signs of improvement over the season. It’s too early to call the race, but Jones has every chance to become the Pats’ next franchise QB.

Mills should have a safe job at least throughout next season. The Texans are well advised to spend their 2022 draft picks on positions where they have bigger problems than on QB. Which is pretty much every position. Mills actually looked really good towards the end of the season. In the final 3 games, he threw on average for 240 yards, 71.0% completion rate, a 6-1 TD-INT-ratio and an average QB rating of 111.5. Those are rock solid numbers, and he was playing 3 difficult opponents (LAC, SF, TEN) with a still-terrible supporting cast. I’m actually beginning to believe in him.

Both Jones and Mills are static pocket passers, though.


I couldn’t agree with you more about Jones and Mills. I already consider Jones as the next Brady for NE. As for Mills, you have to remember he came into the NFL with less college experience than most QB’s, and look what he’s done?

Don’t overlook the pure pocket passers. Consider who the top 2 QB’s over the past 20 years were: Brady and Manning, both pocket passers. The nice thing about the pocket passers is they play a long time, and keep you competitive. You surround them with talent on your dynasty roster, and you can go far.