Photo by Packers
Welcome to the eighth article of my “Dynasty Breakdowns” series where I dive into the relevant statistics that define a player’s dynasty value and assess whether it’s best to acquire or stay away from them. In my first seven articles of the series, I’ve written about three running backs, three wide receivers, and a tight end; you can find all of those previous articles at the link here and at the end of this article. It’s finally time for me to dive into the treacherous waters of the quarterback position. Who better to first write about than Jordan Love, one of the most polarizing players in the current dynasty landscape?
Jordan Love was infamously drafted 26th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, who traded up from pick 30 to take the Utah State prospect. In his rookie season, Love expectedly sat behind Aaron Rodgers as the QB 2. Rodgers would go on to win his first of two straight MVP awards that season, leading the Packers to their second straight NFC Championship appearance. Fast forward to the present, as Rodgers is expected to be traded to the New York Jets after plenty of speculation was confirmed during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. The transaction is pending both sides agreeing on a reasonable compensation package. As Rodgers heads out of Green Bay, the dynasty community is very much split on how the new QB 1 should be valued.
Graphs Courtesy of KeepTradeCut
While the door is as wide open as ever for Love, many still question both his talent and the organization’s commitment to him. In his first three years with the Packers, Love has only started one game. In one of his most recent chances to showcase his talents while filling in for an injured Aaron Rodgers, Love had an impressive 113 passing yard and one touchdown performance in not even a full quarter. The most memorable play from Love’s two drives was a slant route thrown to rookie receiver, Christian Watson, taken for a 63-yard touchdown. Let’s get into some of the statistics that define Jordan Love’s abilities as well as the surrounding facts regarding his situation.
I love using quarterback efficiency charts like the one below to depict how quarterbacks perform based on what is expected of them. The y-axis depicts earned point average (EPA) per play (acting similarly to QBR), while the x-axis shows completion percentage over expected (CPOE). Both of these statistics consider the many situational differences between quarterbacks and their games, allowing us to compare them on an even playing field.
Data Viz Courtesy of rbsdm: Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) and Sebastian Carl (@mrcaseb)
The graph above specifically shows Week 12, 2022 quarterbacks with a minimum of nine plays in order to include Love’s performance. Please try to disregard Skylar Thompson losing almost an entire point per play and focus on Jordan Love, who had the highest EPA per play at the top of the graph. While this data is extremely limited and is of a very small sample size, it shows the only truly meaningful opportunity Love has received in the last year. In this opportunity, Love thrived. He played well enough to give his team a chance to come back against the top team in the NFC on short notice.
Data Viz Courtesy of rbsdm: Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) and Sebastian Carl (@mrcaseb)
This graph shows Love’s efficiency from his singular start in 2021 against Kansas City when Aaron Rodgers was out with an illness. In his first game as a starter, Love put up very respectable numbers in one of the most intimidating environments in football – Arrowhead Stadium. While it is nice to drool over this data, it is once again a very small sample size.
Relative Athletic Score (RAS) is a metric I’ve used plenty of times in the past, especially in my articles about running backs. For the purposes of analyzing quarterbacks, I think RAS is most useful for judging rushing ability, a very important element for quarterbacks in the current state of fantasy football.
RAS Metric and Graphic Courtesy of Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb)
Jordan Love stands tall at 6’4” while maintaining pretty good speed. Having a relatively quick 40-time at a tall height has proven to be very effective for quarterbacks such as Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Daniel Jones.
In few relevant opportunities, Love has played well. Because we have such little data to pick apart, Love’s dynasty value is mainly based on the opportunity he is being met with as Green Bay’s next QB 1. Let’s take a look into the different factors that build this extraordinary opportunity.
Jordan Love finds himself on a team that is in a transitioning state. Apart from the obvious transfer of power at the quarterback position, the Packers are entering their second season without Davante Adams since the incredible talent joined the team in 2014. With the additional departures of Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb (expected to sign with a different team or retire), and others, the wide receiver core is now headed by sophomores Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. While they may not have the leadership and experience of seasoned veterans, we’ve seen young quarterbacks thrive and grow with young wide receivers such as Joe Burrow with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. While we saw many flashes from both Watson and Doubs last season, there were also many inconsistencies between the pair which can be expected out of rookies. While the youth, talent, and promise of the Packers receiving core is exciting, it needs work. Feel free to consider yourself a dedicated football fan if you knew that Samori Toure is currently the team’s WR 3. I expect the team to go after another weapon in the passing game early in the draft.
Long time tight end, Robert Tonyan, also parted ways with the team this offseason, signing with the division-rival Chicago Bears in free agency. I would expect them to target this position early in the draft as well.
At the running back position, the Packers are still very complete. Aaron Jones, although getting older, remains one of the top players at the position and is also very efficient as a pass catcher. He pairs nicely with his younger counterpart in AJ Dillon who really picked up steam at the end of last season. The Packers are set for another year of consistent production in the backfield, an undervalued and overlooked quality that can heavily contribute to quarterback success.
One of the most successful young coaches in the league right now, Matt Lafleur is finally losing his QB 1. In four seasons of coaching, Lafleur has achieved an incredible regular season win percentage of 71.2%. While still very young at age 43, he has shown plenty of success and leadership at the head coaching position. This can be a key to successfully developing his young quarterback for the future.
After analyzing some of the different parts of Love’s role this upcoming season, there are three key moves I am looking for from the Packers to truly convey they are still committed to their first-round quarterback.
NFL teams have the ability to extend first round selections to a fifth-year option prior to the start of a player’s fourth season. It is similar to a franchise tag, but is normally cheaper than the first season of a player’s extension. If the Aaron Rodgers deal goes through as expected, the biggest question the Packers face is whether or not they want to pick up Jordan Love’s fifth-year option. The price tag would come in at a hefty $20.27 million due to both his position and performance thus far. If Jordan Love has a great season and the Packers look to include him in their plans for the future with an extension, the fifth-year option would be a nice discount for the 2024 season. However if Love doesn’t play well and the Packers want to get rid of him, the fifth-year option could keep an unwanted asset on the books for another year under a quarterback’s salary. The Packers don’t have the luxury of seeing any new tape before they have to make their decision; therefore if they choose to pick up Love’s fifth-year option, it will be a sign they have faith in his development and want to include him in their future plans.
Drafting Offensive Assets
The Packers have reasoned against taking offensive talent early on in the draft, selecting defensive players with 11 of their last 12 first-round picks – Jordan Love being the singular offensive player. As mentioned before, the Packers could really use some help at both the wide receiver and tight end positions. Selecting a top-rated player on the offensive side of the ball could be a sign they are looking to make Jordan Love’s life as a quarterback easier.
NOT Drafting a Quarterback Early
The other major part of the draft I’m paying attention to for Jordan Love’s sake is whether or not the Packers choose to take a quarterback with any significant draft capital. If the Packers select a quarterback within the first four rounds, I would be pretty nervous. I expect them to take a later day-three quarterback for both added depth and potentially a bit of added motivation in training camp for Love to ‘win’ the starting role.
In his 14-year career as the Green Bay starter, Aaron Rodgers has earned 11 top-10 fantasy finishes, including seven finishes in the top-two. Jordan Love was drafted with first-round capital for a reason; with added weapons and continued excellence in the coaching position, I don’t see why Love can’t succeed in the Packers offense. While it is too early to tell where Love will end up talent-wise relative to Rodgers, there’s no denying the Packers offense has been a great place for fantasy quarterback success in recent years.
If the franchise chooses not to pick up Love’s fifth-year option and he has a poor year as the starter in Green Bay, the team will most likely choose to let him go to free agency. Because Love’s value is completely founded upon the opportunity he currently has, falling into free agency would send him into dynasty purgatory.
Buy or Sell?
Though the drives we’ve seen from Jordan Love at the NFL level have been promising, there’s not enough tape to make significant conclusions about his abilities and talent. Not only did the Packers draft Jordan Love with significant capital, they traded up to acquire him. Due to the limited stats and information available to us at this time, Jordan Love should be valued in dynasty football based off of his evaluation in the eyes of the Packers.
Anyone looking to buy Jordan Love should hold off until we know more about the franchise’s plans for the future. Surrounding him with more talent and picking up his fifth-year option would be incredible steps toward solidifying his spot as the Packers’ quarterback for years to come before we even get to see him open up the season as the team’s starter. The dynasty community is, as always, enamored with how a player ranks among other players at the same position. To give the people what they want, I currently have Love ranked as the 18th quarterback. This lands directly behind Kenny Pickett and just in front of Will Levis. In terms of rookie draft picks, I’d be willing to trade pick 1.09 in super flex (SF) and a mid second rounder in 1 QB for Love.
For owners of Love, I’d hold onto him. More likely than not, the Packers will choose to invest further into the offense, and I believe he will come out of the draft with a higher dynasty value. Jordan Love finally has his chance to drive the bus; with supportive moves from Green Bay management, he could skyrocket in value.
Check out other Dynasty Breakdowns here and check me out on twitter @JackJReinhart