Trey Lance is a polarizing player in the 2022 fantasy football landscape. We have never seen a team with title aspirations trade up in the NFL draft to select a quarterback 3rd overall, only to keep him on the bench for essentially his entire rookie season and then watch him shoot up draft boards in fantasy drafts the following year.
There are certainly intriguing aspects to Trey Lance’s fantasy profile in 2022, but should you be drafting him?
See which tier we have Trey Lance in our Positional Tiers.
Reasons to Draft Trey Lance
Frankly, these archetypes of players don’t come along too often. 6’4, 225 pounds, 21 year old rookie with a bazooka for an arm that a team trades multiple picks to move up and select 3rd Overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Supposedly he runs a 4.5 40. Yes, he comes from an FCS school, but this type of profile is mostly a unicorn in the landscape of the NFL.
Lance saw minimal playing time in 2021, but he flashed the upside we wanted to see in that small sample size. Entering at halftime of Week 4’s game in Seattle for injured Jimmy Garropolo, Lance put up more than 20 fantasy points in just one half, throwing for 150 yards and 2 TDs while running for 41 yards.
In total, Lance essentially started 2.5 games for the 49ers and scored 56.1 fantasy points (20.4, 15.6 and 20.1). That’s good for 22.4 points per game, which would have been just ahead of Patrick Mahomes and just behind Tom Brady as the QB5 last season.
We know that rushing is what truly unlocks QB upside in today’s fantasy environment (see Josh Allen, Kyler, Lamar, etc.), and Lance totaled a whopping 31 rushing attempts in those 2.5 games, good for 161 yards. The passing was raw from a real-life standpoint, but the upside was there with 598 yards, 4 TDs and 8.5 yards per attempt. 8.5 YPA would have put him 3rd in the NFL.
Even if he’s still raw as a passer and real-life football player, the profile of Trey Lance creates one of the highest floors in fantasy, and if he takes a leap as a player, the ceiling is truly insane.
|Completions||Pass Attempts||Yards||Pass TDs||Rush Attempts||Rush Yards||Rush TDs|
|Lance - 2021||41||71||603||5||38||168||1|
Trey Lance Fantasy Upside Case
Lance’s upside is tantalizing. Some of the biggest league winners at the QB position have come from this type of player. Robert Griffin III in 2021 (ironically coached by Kyle Shanahan) set the world on fire as the QB1 overall as a rookie, while Lamar Jackson was also the QB1 in his 2nd year with the Ravens, while also winning 2019 NFL MVP.
It is certainly not going to be easy to unseat the likes of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and the aforementioned Lamar Jackson atop the fantasy QB landscape, but the QB1 overall is in the range of outcomes for Lance. When you combine his rushing profile with his arm strength and a bevvy of supporting weapons like Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk (plus 2nd year RB Elijah Mitchell, and rookies Tyrion Davis-Price and Danny Gray), the sky is truly the limit for Lance’s fantasy season.
Reasons to Avoid Trey Lance
Anyone that knows me knows that I have been in on Trey Lance, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons for concern. The clearest issue is that in sharper leagues (or sites like Underdog and Drafters), Lance’s ADP has risen multiple rounds already this summer. If you use our Spike Week rankings, you’ll know that we still have Lance as a value, but we are getting much closer to an efficient price that does have a lot more of the high floor and ceiling built into it.
We are still talking about a very raw 2nd year player from an FCS school, and he is certainly going to need to take a step forward in his ability to read defenses and deliver accurate and on-time passes to excel in 2022. And at this rising cost, we are going to need that progress. Not necessarily because he won’t put up fantasy points regardless (as he showed last year), but if he’s going to be worth his price we will need him to earn the trust of Kyle Shanahan to take the training wheels off the offense.
Trey Lance Fantasy Downside Case
Lance arguably has one of the weirdest downside cases in the league. While it appears that Jimmy Garropolo will be traded or cut to clear cap space, it’s also realistic that he remains on the team. Lance is the starter even if Jimmy is back on the team in 2022, but that adds just a tiny bit more downside to Lance’s season. If he does not take a step forward as a passer and the 49ers happen to start sluggish, or maybe Lance gets hurt with his power running style, Jimmy could see the field again.
We’ve seen Garrpolo be incapable of elevating this offense for years now, but if they were to win some games with Lance banged up or struggling, you never know what Kyle Shanahan will do.