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Over the next few weeks, we will ask our staff a single question on a variety of topics ranging from a huge news event to a tough fantasy decision or player evaluation.
If you like this format, come back for another Question of the Day. Today, we head to San Francisco and project how their quarterback situation will turn out.
Here's the question we asked our staff.
And here's the quick answer:
- The clear starter is Brock Purdy.
- His average ranking is around QB20.
Lots of consensus here too.
Here are the full answers.
Jason Wood: If health is guaranteed, the only answer is Brock Purdy. Despite being the clear-cut starter, unfortunately, his lack of rushing upside and the 49ers' low pass volume offense limits Purdy to a low-end QB2 ranking; he's QB21 in my current rankings. The front office and coaches never waivered in their support of Purdy as QB1, even when we weren't sure if his elbow injury would keep him out until the middle of the season. Now that he's in camp, there's zero controversy. A camp report even noted how Coach Shanahan has yet to bother running a sub package of designed runs for Trey Lance, which is something he's done in prior camps. If you want a more detailed analysis of Purdy's outlook, check out our Player Spotlight.
Ben Cummins: The answer here is clear and obvious: Brock Purdy. Under drafted by the NFL, Purdy showed last season he's going to be a reliable starting quarterback in the NFL for years to come. If able to stay healthy, Purdy will start all 17 games and is my QB20. He's a great late-round target with the confidence and backing of his head coach and playmakers galore to work with.
Matt Waldman: It’s Purdy, without a doubt, and he’s my QB19 because the 49ers use a controlled passing gm paired with a powerhouse rushing attack to win. Purdy is a terrific pocket manager who sees the field better than most credit him. He sees it better than his arm strength sometimes allows him to exploit. This is something I shared with Will Hewlett, Purdy’s private QB coach, who I have been providing early scouting reports from the RSP to his clients.
Purdy did a great job toning down his aggressive tendencies as a rookie. Something QB coaches/former pros have shared is that coaches of West Coast Offenses err on the side of QBs who execute the scheme as extensions of the coach — a common complaint from QBs that the coach views his players as pixels on the screen of a video game.
Purdy fits Shanahan’s offensive vision best. I would bet money that we’ll someday learn Trey Lance was not a unanimous pre-draft choice despite initial reports claiming otherwise. Darnold is an experienced vet for when they trade Lance at some point this year.
Sam Wagman: Despite my personal beliefs that he is a below-average quarterback, Brock Purdy will get the most starts for the 49ers this year. Going from Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft to franchise savior in the span of several months, as Purdy did, is a near-impossible task to replicate. But the team clearly believes in him, and it seems as though he is recovering from a torn UCL well. As to my personal rankings, Purdy is a mid-to-low QB2 because I just cannot see a full offseason of teams having film on him not being a significant roadblock in terms of his fantasy output. Teams now know he does not run the ball much, if at all, and there is also the concern that the block of teams that Purdy played in the regular season was a very easy set of opponents. It was clear that Purdy was outmatched against the Eagles in the NFCC game, and I have to imagine teams will apply pressure to fluster him.
Joey Wright: It is difficult to see a scenario where Brock Purdy is not the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to at least start the season. San Francisco is built in a fashion where Purdy doesn't need to put up Hall of Fame numbers to keep the job. The 49ers have an excellent run game and last year's number-one-ranked defense. As long as Brock Purdy only needs to manage games, he will be under center. If we get word on Purdy being the starter in Week 1, he is absolutely worth rostering in Superflex leagues and a perfect match for any team taking a risky QB1 along the lines of Anthony Richardson or Tua Tagovailoa.
Jeff Bell: Brock Purdy is the unquestioned starter in the building. Kyle Shanahan has removed any special packages for Trey Lance from the playbook. The team has increased emphasis on involving the running backs in the passing game, utilizing Christian McCaffrey’s skill and making life easy for Purdy. I expect to settle with him as a low-end QB2 in Superflex formats and not a draftable consideration in short bench, one QB formats.
Phil Alexander: If all three are healthy, the 49ers have made it clear Purdy is their starter. With Purdy's training camp "pitch count" slated to end soon and Kyle Shanahan on the record stating the quarterback looks the same as he did before getting hurt, we have little reason to believe he'll reinjure his throwing arm or otherwise turn back into a pumpkin. Purdy is my QB19, making him a fine pick as your QB2 in 2QB/Superflex formats. The elite run-after-the-catch skills of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle will carry Purdy to a handful of mid-range QB1 performances. If you're in a Best Ball draft and take any 49ers skill position player in the early rounds, make Purdy a priority as your QB2. In traditional redraft leagues, if you're going to spend a roster spot on a backup quarterback, make it one with a higher weekly ceiling.
Dan Hindery: Brock Purdy is my QB19. His fantasy upside is underrated. One of my favorite stats to look at is fantasy points per snap (FPPS). Amongst quarterbacks who played at least 250 snaps last season, Purdy ranked 8th in FPPS. While the sample size was relatively small, it does not feel fluky to me. The weapons are as good as any in the league, and the 49ers look like a team that may be even more pass-heavy this year, given what McCaffrey can do as a receiver out of the backfield and the elite run-after-catch ability of the other top pass catchers.
Ryan Weisse: It's Brock Purdy's job, and he slots in as my QB20. It was a wild ride to end the season for San Francisco, and clearly, Kyle Shanahan saw exactly what he wanted out of Purdy. The reports that the job was his to lose seem to start immediately after their season ended. The only question was his health. From Weeks 13-18, Purdy threw multiple touchdowns in every game and was a top-10 fantasy quarterback. He had another great game in the playoffs against Seattle, but Dallas and Philadelphia brought him right back to Earth. I'm likely too low in my ranking, but I'd like to see him healthy and play a good game on the road before I fully buy in.
Will Grant: Brock Purdy proved last season that he deserves the start, and all indications from the 49ers are that they are hitching their wagon to him this season. As Phil Alexander Phil pointed out - the amount of weapons that San Francisco has on offense can make a lot of quarterbacks look good, and Purdy took full advantage of that last season. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, that doesn't translate into elite stats every week, and I rank Purdy as a mid-tier QB2 (QB18-20) with some upside, but not someone I want to count on week to week. The bigger concern is that the pressure on him will be completely different this season as he will be the start from day 1, and opposing defenses will be specifically scheming against his weaknesses. I suspect he'll be doing much earlier than I am willing to take him in most fantasy drafts.
Jeff Tefertiller: Purdy is the de facto starter and should start all 17 games. He is currently ranked as a low-end fantasy QB2 as QB19. The 49ers are giving Trey Lance to win the backup job, but Sam Darnold is the likely clipboard-holder, at least early in the season. Neither of these reserves should put pressure on Purdy. His efficiency will give him a long leash. As a rookie, Purdy completed 67% of his passes and threw 13 touchdowns compared to just 4 interceptions. He executes Coach Shanahan's offense well and has earned the coach's trust. From a fantasy perspective, we have a seventh-round rookie quarterback who started the last six games of the regular season, throwing multiple touchdowns in each contest. I do think that we - in the fantasy community - are not giving Purdy enough credit for this feat and how he will improve in year two.
Jeff Haseley: The answer is Brock Purdy. Purdy was given a chance last season when called upon, and he answered the bell to the tune of eight wins in nine starts, which includes the postseason. His only loss came against Philadelphia in the playoffs, where he sustained an elbow injury and didn't finish the game. Purdy took the reins and elevated his game when his coach and team needed him the most. If he's healthy, there is no doubt in my mind that Shanahan will want him under center over anyone else on the roster. This is Purdy's job to lose. He's earned it.
Sean Settle: There is no answer other than Brock Purdy. If he can remain healthy, I have him ranked at QB18. He has an elite group of skill players around him and a head coach that has unrelenting faith in him. Purdy is a great late-round option or a solid QB2 with matchup-driven upside. I would rank Purdy higher, but the NFL has a steep learning curve. Plus, other teams will have more tape and more time to plan for him. He did a great job protecting the ball last season and will find it tougher this year. Do not expect a true sophomore slump, but he is not ready to be considered a top-tier quarterback.
Andy Hicks: Brock Purdy, and it isn’t close. That said, it will surprise me if he is starting by the season's end. I rank him 24th. Purdy fits this system well, does what he is asked, and keeps the chains moving. That said, can he lift a struggling offense? Can he engineer come-from-behind victories? I foresee situations where Purdy has his limitations exposed, and we see the better-credentialled #3 overall picks Trey Lance and Sam Darnold get a shot. Darnold, in particular, is only 26 years of age and has the NFL scars of a retired veteran. If his head is right, I expect Darnold to play a part in the 49ers season. If the 49ers keep winning, Purdy will play the whole season.
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