After it was announced yesterday that Sam Darnold won the training camp battle for the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback job behind Brock Purdy, rumors have been circulating about a possible trade involving Trey Lance. His landing spot could drastically change his position in dynasty rankings, his yearly projections, and possibly even his value in redraft ADP.
Lance’s athleticism is one of the reasons he was drafted so high and why the 49ers used so much future capital to trade up for him at third overall. Unfortunately, his athletic traits have never translated into NFL success. He’s only played in eight games throughout his two year career, and while he hasn’t done much on paper, his skill set as a pro is still relatively unknown. Fantasy football managers have been holding on to him because of that untapped potential, but unless he is traded, he may never get the chance to properly develop and return value in fantasy. Let’s look at a few destinations that could raise his draft stock for the 2023 fantasy football season and beyond.
Trey Lance Trade Destinations
The quarterback controversy in Tampa has been a hot topic this offseason, and even though Baker Mayfield has technically won the starting job, it’s no guarantee that he will keep it. Mayfield’s yards per attempt has declined over a full yard since his rookie season, and he has never been able to reign in his interceptions. Ball security is a huge point of emphasis for new offensive coordinator Dave Canales, and if Mayfield’s turnovers become a problem (as they likely will), the Bucs could turn to Kyle Trask or look for another option all together. With third-string quarterback John Wolford questionable for the regular season after suffering an injury in the preseason this year, Tampa Bay needs depth, and Lance would provide that and more.
While the Falcons say they have their starting quarterback locked up in second-year man Desmond Ridder, there are a ton of unknowns with his skill set and how it will translate to the NFL. Arthur Smith loves to run the football, and Trey Lance would fit in very well to his offensive scheme. During his time at North Dakota State, Lance excelled at running the football, putting up 166 rushing yards and a touchdown in the 2019 NCAA Championship game and averaging 10.2 yards per carry in the regular season. If Ridder doesn’t pan out and Taylor Heinicke doesn’t fit into Smith’s system, Atlanta could try to bring in Lance.
This landing spot may not benefit redraft fantasy managers, but it would breathe some life into some dynasty rosters. The Vikings have some uncertainty at the quarterback position with Kirk Cousins getting older, the Kellen Mond experiment not panning out, and Nick Mullens as the only semi-viable backup. Cousins is also set to become a free agent after this season, as the Vikings have refused to come to terms on a long term deal. If traded, Lance could spend a year in Kevin O’Connell’s system, develop without any pressure, and give the Vikings some sort of answer for the future. This isn’t just speculation either, as Dianna Russini tweeted that Minnesota was engaged in trade talks for Lance this spring before they fell through. Oh, and did I mention that Lance’s hometown is right outside Minneapolis?
Sure, the Commanders have named Sam Howell the starter, but how far is a fifth-round pick going to carry them in the future? The team is under new ownership and may be looking for a new identity, and if they believe they can develop Trey Lance, they may make a move for him. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy developed Patrick Mahomes under Alex Smith during his rookie season, and while Lance shouldn’t be compared to Mahomes, Bieniemy could help mold him into a serviceable player.
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