Two former leagues MVPs – the Kansas City Chiefs‘ Patrick Mahomes and the Baltimore Ravens‘ Lamar Jackson – are the best at what they respectively do. Mahomes is a passing machine who posts eye-popping aerial numbers, and Jackson is the most lethal running quarterback since Michael Vick.
So who do you want on your roster between these two game-changers?
- In four seasons as a starter, he has thrown 37 or more touchdowns in three of them.
- Fantasy owners love counting 300-yard passing games. For Mahomes, it’s easier. In 63 career starts, he has averaged 301.4 passing yards.
- A legitimate gunslinger who completes passes most quarterbacks wouldn’t throw from different arm angles that makes it nearly impossible to defend.
- Despite the loss of his top receiver, he still has the league’s best tight end and a well-balanced cast of supporting targets.
- KC’s offense flows through Mahomes’ arm, and there’s no two ways around this fact. He is the offense.
- The loss of Tyreek Hill will change how defenses approach the Chiefs and Mahomes. The threat of the 80-yard bomb helped make Mahomes more dangerous as defense had to consistently play the deep zone.
- He is an effective runner but is extremely situational. His career rushing average is slightly less than four attempts for 19 yards a game, and he has scored eight rushing touchdowns – two each year.
- He’ll be learning his new receiver corps almost completely from scratch. Mecole Hardman is back, but JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and second-round rookie Skyy Moore have never taken a meaningful snap with Mahomes as the switch.
- Mahomes is known for being fearless, but there is a fine line between fearless and reckless. In 2021, he threw a career-high 13 interceptions – two more than he threw in 2019-20 combined when the Chiefs went to consecutive Super Bowls.
- He plays in the toughest division in the NFL, and the other three teams all made big improvements in free agency and the trade market in the offseason.
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- The NFL’s most dynamic quarterback, he capable of throwing a 60-yard seed and outrunning any defender once he gets in the open field and turns on the jets.
- In his career, he has averaged 63.3 rushing yards a game, which over a full season would put him at 1,000 rushing yards – a feat he has accomplished twice and would have in the other two seasons if he had played more games than he did.
- He received a new best friend in the draft, when the Ravens used a first-round pick on center Tyler Linderbaum, one of the most athletic, agile centers to come into the NFL in some time. He will be his protector on the interior for years.
- His career high for passing yards is just 3,127, but his average passing yards per game in 2021 was 240.2 yards – more than 30 yards above his previous high.
- The Ravens put 19 guys on injured reserve last season and a dozen more – including Jackson (five games) – missed significant time. It rarely happens in back-to-back seasons that a team is snake-bitten by injuries like Baltimore was in 2021. He weathered the storm and should have more stability this year.
- His receivers may be the weakest in the league. Marquise Brown was the go-to wide receiver for Jackson (91-1,008-6 last year), and he was traded so the Ravens could draft Linderbaum. Rashod Bateman, fresh off 46-515-1 numbers as a rookie in an abbreviated season, is the new No. 1 in receiver room that is young and may only have on taken in the first 80 to 90 WR fantasy draft picks.
- His touchdown numbers have dropped significantly in his three full seasons as a starter (36-26-16).
- At the same time, his interception numbers have gone up each year (6-9-13).
- He plays a style that lends itself to taking big hits downfield from defenders with a head of steam that have shortened the careers of a lot of running quarterbacks.
- He has never started every game in a season in his career.
Fantasy football outlook
Mahomes and Jackson are two quarterbacks who earn points in different ways. When in doubt, the smart money leans to the player who lights up defenses through the air. It’s more consistent and predictable.
Jackson is going to start making business decisions about running if he plays on his fifth-year option without a new deal. Because elite throwers continue to do the same throughout their careers, Patrick Mahomes is the choice to draft in 2022. Despite the new cast of weapons, great quarterbacks make everyone around them better, and Mahomes should do just that in 2022.