As part of an ongoing Rookie Comparison Series, Sam Wallace takes a closer look at Justin Herbert’s rookie season through the lens of The RotoViz Screener. How does Herbert’s future outlook compare to his historical comps? Is he primed to establish himself as one of the premier fantasy producers at the quarterback position?
Record-setting seasons, especially by rookies, are tough to evaluate through a dynasty lens appropriately. On the one hand, new benchmarks in fantasy points, receiving yards, or passing touchdowns provide insight into how a player can perform when at his best. On the other hand, the record-breaking season may be the best statistical season a given player will ever post. If a record was broken, it’s likely not going to be broken every year moving forward.
This is how I’m feeling about quarterback Justin Herbert following his rookie season. As a rookie, he set rookie records in passing touchdowns (31) and completions (396), and he didn’t start until Week 2. He also became the first rookie to throw at least two touchdown passes in seven consecutive games. Those incredible numbers are exciting for fantasy managers, but it’s important to remember that Herbert can be a valuable fantasy asset without meeting or exceeding his rookie numbers.
So how do we appropriately value Herbert moving forward? Using The RotoViz Screener, along with several other of my favorite tools, let’s take a closer look at how Herbert’s rookie season stacks up against his historical comps and how they fared in the seasons that followed.
A Rookie Season to Remember
The sixth overall selection, and third quarterback, in the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert saw the field earlier than was likely expected. Veteran journeyman Tyrod Taylor got the start in Week 1, but a medical emergency sent Taylor to the bench and thrust Herbert into action in Week 2. From there, all Herbert did was rack up stats and impress in all facets of the game. He averaged an outstanding 25-plus points per game and ripped off seven consecutive QB1 (top 12) weeks in the middle of the season.
Herbert finished the season by averaging nearly 40 passing attempts/game and ranked well among his fellow quarterback peers across the league. While he doesn’t offer the same rushing upside as some of the other more mobile quarterbacks, his massive frame and willingness to pick up tough yards are enough to boost his fantasy value just that much more.