Despite only appearing in six games with two starts for the San Francisco 49ers in 2021, Trey Lance, the soon-to-be second-year signal caller, is garnering an incredible amount of hype for his on-field abilities heading into 2022, with some going so far as to call him a top-10 caliber QB.
On paper, Lance has everything going for him; he has a premier collection of offensive weapons, a creative head coach who runs one of the most idiosyncratic offenses in the NFL today, and can pick up additional points with his legs as well as his arms.
Wait, points? Shouldn’t that read yards? Well, normally, yes, but the hype surrounding Lance is actually from the world of Fantasy Football, where the second-year North Dakota State product’s ability to pick up yards and score touchdowns with his arms and his legs make him a favorite to not only hear his name called in virtual war rooms the world over but potentially finish out the year with a points total that far exceeds his average draft status.
In the three games where Lance played meaningful snaps for the Niners in 2021, Lance recorded an average of 18.7 Fantasy points per game according to Fantasy Pros, which would have ranked him 12th league-wide among quarterbacks if he maintained that number across a full 18-week season.
Factor in the progression any quarterback takes from Year 1 to Year 2 and a more consistent role in both the passing and running game, and there’s little reason to believe Lance couldn’t be 2022’s version of Jalen Hurts, who won more than a few Fantasy Leagues for fans last year.
Why Lance Has Jalen Hurts Potential in 2022
2021 Hurts was a lot like 2022 Lance. Both gave fans a glimpse of their abilities as rushers/passers during their rookie seasons but were far from household names heading into fantasy draft season.
While neither was expected to immediately become top-10 passers in their first full seasons as starting quarterbacks, their added utility as rushers, when coupled with working inside the parameters of a run-focused offense, led to a good bit of hype heading into their second season from a fantasy perspective.
In Hurts’ case, that hype was justified; he finished out the 2021 season with the sixth-most fantasy points scored per game at 21.41, and even though he missed two games, he still finished ninth ahead of Kyler Murray, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
His below-average passing numbers were elevated by having the most rushing yards of any quarterback in the NFL, and his fantasy stock heading into 2022 rose considerably, as he is currently the sixth-ranked quarterback and 62nd overall ranked player in the league by Fantasy Pros.
If Hurts’ draft grade is a bit too high for your tastes and you want to try to find the next Hurts, then you are in luck: Lance has the same potential for a fraction of the price.
The 49ers’ QB1 Is a Bargain In Most Fantasy Leagues
Even after Garoppolo agreed to a reworked contract, Lance is still fully locked in as San Francisco’s starting quarterback. He took the first-team reps in practice, played with the first-team offense in the preseason when actually on the field, and will be announced alongside the likes of Deebo Samuel and George Kittle come Week 1 when the Niners travel to Chicago to face off against the Bears.
And yet, despite his Fantasy pedigree in 2021 in very limited action, Lance isn’t being drafted as a top-10 quarterback in most leagues. Matthew Berry currently loves Lance as Yahoo’s QB16, Fantasy Pros has him a bit higher, placing the NDSU product in Tier 3 right below Dak Prescott at QB11, and even Pro Football Focus, who are very high on the Niners’ signal caller, have him going QB7, one position spot lower than Hurts, at draft position 81.
Now granted, all Fantasy Leagues are different, and if you’re playing with a number of Niners fans, it’s entirely possible Lance could end up going before QB7 if another manager wants exposure to their favorite team’s top quarterback.
Still, with some worrying that Lance’s passing prowess just won’t be up to snuff and he’ll ultimately get replaced by Garoppolo, if you feel confident in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, the prospects of getting the Niners’ QB1 as, say, QB10 could be the difference between winning a league outright and struggling to make it to the postseason.