Fantasy Soccer: The Trevor Lawrence pessimism has gone too far

On the finish of the 2022 season, Trevor Lawrence was an ascending star on an ascending group. He’d directed an outrageous comeback win in opposition to the Chargers within the wild-card spherical, passing for 288 yards and 4 TDs, then his Jaguars had given the eventual champion Chiefs a light scare the next week.

By the top of the 2023 season, nevertheless, Lawrence was widely viewed as a disappointment — drifting towards the bust zone, if not fairly there. The web was filled with generational-prospect jokes. Each good factor Lawrence achieved the yr earlier than had principally been negated.

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At this time, we’re principally out on Lawrence as a possible fantasy contributor — he’s buried at QB20 within the early Yahoo ranks — and the world has moved on to hyping the Texans and Colts as ascending AFC South powers. Reputationally, Lawrence exists someplace between an enigma and a flop.

However it’s in all probability value mentioning Lawrence remains to be solely 24 years outdated. He’s been a high-visibility athlete for therefore lengthy it appears like he have to be 30, however no. Lawrence is definitely three years youthful than Joe Burrow and one yr youthful than Jordan Love. He’s just one yr older than newly drafted Jayden Daniels. We’re speaking a few quarterback with loads of growth forward of him.

Additionally, let the document present that Lawrence is able to finishing throws which can be completely disgusting and past the capabilities of many NFL starters:

It’s not as if the excitement that surrounded his arrival within the league was the results of collective delusion. Lawrence, actually, possesses a couple of abilities.

We definitely aren’t going to attempt to persuade you that his 2023 season was secretly wonderful, as a result of that’s probably not a defensible place. He threw 14 interceptions in his 16 video games, which is fully too many, and his adjusted yards per try slipped to six.7 — tied with Justin Fields and solely barely forward of Gardner Minshew (6.5). Not nice.

Lawrence did a couple of issues nicely final season, nevertheless, ending among the many leaders in big-time throws in response to PFF (35) and posting a passer ranking of 114.9 on deep makes an attempt. He threw 11 landing passes on makes an attempt of 20-plus yards, which tied Brock Purdy for probably the most within the NFL.

Nonetheless, we aren’t attempting to overstate the impressiveness of a 21-TD, 14-INT season by which his group went 9-8 and totally collapsed in December. Lawrence was enjoying by harm late final yr, it needs to be famous, however he wasn’t precisely lights-out earlier than the high-ankle sprain.

When you’re in search of one truth about his in any other case meh third season to present you actual hope, it needs to be the scandalous variety of near-misses and crushing drops in Jacksonville’s passing sport final yr. Lawrence absolutely led the NFL in one-foot-inbounds collegiate touchdowns final yr (not an actual stat) and his receivers dropped 26 passes, one of many highest totals within the league.

Simply have a look at all these coulda-been huge performs:

In a sport the place the margin between success and disaster is so small, issues can flip round shortly. Let’s watch out to not write off a participant as younger and conspicuously gifted as Lawrence at such an early stage in his profession. He additionally occurs to be a low-key dual-threat man who’s rushed for 9 scores over the previous two seasons.

Calvin Ridley, final yr’s main Jags receiver, relocated through free company, which is clearly a big departure. However Lawrence will nonetheless have Christian Kirk, Evan Engram and new arrival Gabe Davis at his disposal, together with a 6-foot-4 first-round rookie with 4.33 pace:

Brian Thomas Jr. was a spectacular big-play receiver at LSU final yr, averaging 17.3 yards per catch and reaching the top zone 17 instances. His finest traits align nearly completely with the areas by which his new quarterback has excelled, too. It’s a pairing that ought to produce a good variety of highlights within the season forward.

However if you happen to’re out on Lawrence after a principally unhelpful 2023 … nicely, high quality. That stance in all probability isn’t going to burn you in a one-QB fantasy league of typical measurement and form. As a normal rule, nevertheless, we shouldn’t be assigning do-not-draft standing to 24-year-old gamers with apparent expertise and respectable monitor data.

Lawrence is only one yr faraway from a QB7 end; he plainly has the power (and the supporting solid) to succeed in that degree once more. He is an upside possibility at a rock-bottom draft worth.

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