Identifying bounce-back or breakout players for the following season is a long-standing strategy to maximize roster value in the offseason. Here are my favorite bets for an uptick in 2023:
Why: Fields is in the QB10 range of dynasty market value, a pricey zone to project a breakout 2023 season and trajectory. However, Fields has the profile of a high-QB1 outcome with No.1 overall potential. Fields is a rushing-centric option at present. Despite the Bears being dead-last in the NFL in pass attempts, Fields is still a QB1 for fantasy. Fields is nearly 300 rushing yards ahead of even Jalen Hurts. Being a QB1 with Fields' lack of passing weapons is quite the fantasy achievement. Darnell Mooney was a disappointment before he recent injury. The WR2+ depth chart is a rag-tag collection, including the minimal impact from Chase Claypool post-trade. Cole Kmet is the lone player of promise rising in prominence. The Bears have the most projected cap space in the NFL next offseason, have the second pick in the NFL Draft order, plus additional fourth and fifth-round selections. Expect the Bears to add to Fields' weapons in the offseason.
Even a modest bump in passing volume boosts Fields into the elite QB1 territory. Fields has been above-average in yards-per-attempt (7.5) this season, and his TD-INT Rate Ratio is on the proper trajectory. The NFL average is around 1.10 annually. Fields' 0.49 as a 2021 rookie put him firmly on the bust track. However, Fields' 1.10 in 2022 puts him higher than Kyler Murray and Jimmy Garoppolo for their respective career averages as a point of comparison. Even as a quarterback skeptic, Fields' uptick in 2022 is an overt positive sign to put together a more complete production puzzle in 2023.
Finally, Fields' dynasty market value is uncommonly less than his current fantasy production ranking for 2022. A few December dynasty trades (Superflex) of note for Fields include:
- Fields for Mike White, Garrett Wilson
- Fields, 23 1st for Christian McCaffrey
- Fields, Drake London for Chris Olave
Why: Another current Year 2 quarterback rewriting their career arc is Trevor Lawrence. After a dismal 0.48 TD-INT Rate Ratio as a rookie under the thumb of Urban Meyer and a dysfunctional Jaguars infrastructure in 2021, a factory reset was in order for 2022. Insert Doug Pederson, a boost in the supporting cast on offense, and Lawrence has surged to a 1.34 ratio in 2022, on par with Josh Allen, Kirk Cousins, and Dak Prescott of current active quarterbacks for their career averages. Lawrence is still without a true WR1 and has been held back by one of the highest drop rates in the NFL this season. Calvin Ridley was an inexpensive trade acquisition for 2023. Jacksonville has an early draft position projected and an extra fourth-round selection of note. Plus, Lawrence is under rookie contract with low-cost control for two more seasons, the ideal window for a young developing team to make a strong contending push with spending around a low-cost quarterback.
Lawrence, like Justin Fields, resides in the QB9-12 range of market value. Considering the lack of a profile of young options like Trey Lance and Kenny Pickett in the mid-teens of the position, Fields and Lawrence are easily worth the boost in cost.
A few December dynasty trades (Superflex) of note for Lawrence include:
- Lawrence, Travis Etienne for Lamar Jackson, Aaron Jones, 23 2nd
- Lawrence, Isiah Pacheco, 23 3rd for Austin Ekeler, James Conner, David Montgomery
- Lawrence for Chris Godwin, 23 1st
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