Lamar Jackson was selected with the last pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. He was drafted after Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen at the quarterback position. Prior to being drafted in the first round, Lamar Jackson was a prolific quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals earning the Heisman Award in his true sophomore season. Jackson threw for over 9,000 yards to go with 69 TDs versus 27 interceptions. Jackson was truly electric rushing the ball, having two seasons with over 1,500 yards, finishing with over 4,000 yards and 50 TDs in his three collegiate seasons.
Jackson joined the Ravens behind long-time starter Joe Flacco until the Ravens’ Week 10 bye. In Week 11 Jackson took the reigns and took the NFL by storm. In his rookie season, Jackson averaged under 160 yards per game passing but added 80 yards per game on the ground. However, Jackson only added five TDs in the passing game and four TDs on the ground never reaching a completion percentage of 70% in a single game. Despite the underwhelming figures, Jackson led the Ravens to a 6-1 finish in the regular season, and the only loss was an overtime loss to Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs.
In 2019 the flood gates opened up and the “inaccurate” Lamar Jackson become the youngest quarterback with a perfect passer rating in a game. Jackson continued his dominant performance, leading to a 3,127 yard season with a league-high 36 TDs in only 401 attempts. His 9% TD rate was far and away the best last season, as well as the second-best among quarterbacks to throw over 400 passes, behind only Peyton Manning’s 2004 season. Jackson also joined Michael Vick as the only quarterback to crack 1,000 yards rushing in a season, breaking his record by almost 200 yards, finishing with a total of 1,206 yards and 7 TDs. Jackson finished the season with the second-best fantasy quarterback season and the ninth-best season overall since 2000. Since becoming a starter Jackson has a regular-season record of 20-3.
The Ravens’ big offseason additions for 2020 are Calais Campbell and Patrick Queen on the defensive side of the ball, along with J.K. Dobbins at running back. The Ravens are forecasted to win 11.5 games; however, they are favored in all 16 games this season. Though regression is expected to impact Jackson’s 9% touchdown rate, which was double the league average, as well as the Ravens TDs as the Ravens scored on 57% of those drives, matching the 2007 Patriots.
The Ravens haven’t been shy about their plans before 2019 Harbaugh said he was going to alter the way football was played by going heavy in the run, which played out almost as well as it could. Prior to this season, Harbaugh said that the next evolution would be Lamar’s usage and efficiency on deep passes. With Marquise Brown fully healthy, along with adding rookie speedster Devin Duvernay and a developing Miles Boykin, expect the Ravens to go deep to complement their incredibly efficient run game.
What is the outlook for the next 3-5 years? As a 2018 first-round draft pick Lamar is under the Ravens control until the 2023 season. Based on his early success I’d expect Jackson to garner an extension in the Mahomes ballpark.
Jackson has only sustained an ankle sprain in 2015 at Louisville. Despite his style of play, he has stayed incredibly durable. With his frame, injuries will always be a concern, however, Jackson has an excellent bill of health.
Lamar Jackson is going as the 3.01 in 1QB dynasty leagues, after Patrick Mahomes as the QB2, however, he is currently projected to lead the NFL in fantasy scoring per Mike Clay. In 1QB leagues, it makes sense that QBs are drafted late, as the difference between the top and 13th scorer for quarterbacks is 28% which is the lowest discrepancy. However, times may be changing as the top quarterbacks drafted are 24 years old and 23 years old respectfully. Jackson is one of, if not the most electric player in the NFL and having him on your dynasty team makes Sundays that much more enjoyable.
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