The Yahoo Fantasy Football crew — Andy, Scott, Dalton and Matt — is identifying the specific players who have the widest range of outcomes this NFL season. Who could be a massive fantasy star — and who could never take off at all?
Andy Behrens: If things break right for Trey Lance and he emerges as an impossible dual-threat riddle with elite receiving options at his disposal, then he can definitely challenge for QB1 status. In the two games he started last season, Lance had 24 rush attempts.
But if Lance can't move the Niners offense in September, it's not crazy to think he'd find himself again holding a clipboard, watching Jimmy Garoppolo lead the Niners on a deep playoff run that doesn't end in a title. Of course, if you play in a one-QB league, you should only draft for upside, because the position is so easily replaced in-season.
Dalton Del Don: Trey Lance is the seventh-youngest QB ever who’s started just three football games since 2019, but he also possesses incredible fantasy upside thanks to his rushing (he led all QBs in scrambles per dropback last year as a rookie) and situation (Kyle Shanahan has the 49ers routinely leading the league in YAC and helped Nick Mullens throw for the second-most yards over his first 16 starts in NFL history).
Lance suffered two different injuries during his brief work last season and enters 2022 with an incredibly low floor but also with the upside to be a top-three fantasy QB right away.
Scott Pianowski: Trey Lance is likely the right answer here, as two of my colleagues suggest. And I've had plenty to say on Lance, too. But let's pivot to running back, and consider what Javonte Williams is all about in Denver.
In a perfect runout, Williams could be a top-five back; heck, he could be a magazine coverboy next year. Williams is seven years younger than Melvin Gordon and there's a new coaching staff; perhaps Williams marks the backfield as his, leaves Gordon in the dust.
But last year, Gordon was anything but dusted; Williams and Gordon had almost identical usage rates and efficiency metrics. Bring on the games; we need to find out of Williams is more league winner or one of those "wait until next year" picks.
Two wide receivers on opposite ends of the spectrum
Matt Harmon: I'll nominate a pair of wideouts who are at opposite ends of their careers. At the end, we have Julio Jones. I'm ready to believe anything about the future Hall of Famer. Jones' Reception Perception results frighteningly look a lot like Dez Bryant's 2017 season. You'll remember that Bryant was clearly cooked and didn't sign with a new team until November after being cut by Dallas in March. We could be looking at a similar cliff for Jones. I'm also ready to believe that he was just playing through injury last year for that sample and bounces back in a great situation with Tom Brady. He won't be a WR1 but could provide reliable WR2 numbers if he catches a few breaks.
At the near beginning stages of his career, I'll go Kadarius Toney. The mercurial Giants receiver isn't a refined route runner but has rare movement ability in the open field and showed some better nuance against zone coverage than expected as a rookie. The problem is, there's something going on with him off the field, whether it's injuries or something else. The Giants are getting a serious coaching/play-calling upgrade and Toney has the talent to take advantage of it. He just needs to stay healthy and refine his game a bit. I like to take the gamble at his ADP right now but the range on his outcomes is as wide as anyone.