This time of year there are all sorts of questions that come to us on Twitter or in the Fantasy Alarm Chat rooms about sleepers you can target later in drafts. Now as the typical fantasy football player gets more knowledgeable about the player pool across the positions, it’s harder to find those coveted sleepers that make the difference in winning a league or being an also ran. Even though we at Fantasy Alarm, tell people to wait on quarterbacks, there are still those that freak out if they don’t get a top-five guy at the QB spot, but this piece should help you calm those nerves about missing out on top-five guys. So this week we will look at the most important position on the field and see if we can’t find any sleepers in the quarterback spot.
Jameis Winston , TB – ADP: 115.5 - Are you ready for some interesting facts? Winston hit career-bests in completion percentage and off target percentage last year and rushed for a career-high 281 yards. He was also the fourth-highest scoring quarterback for the nine weeks that he started last year. If everyone loves the weapons around him in Mike Evans , Chris Godwin , and O.J. Howard , why is he going this late in drafts? He’s going as the 13th QB off the board and behind Kyler Murray , a rookie in a questionable situation, with this ADP. Obviously there are question marks about guys that go this late, but the defense on the Bucs will have them trailing a lot meaning more passing chances for Winston and last year he was on pace for 4,300-plus yards and 28 touchdowns if he had played the full 16 games, and keep in mind some of those pace numbers are lowered since he only played nine full games. A 4,500-plus yard, 30-touchdown season from a guy going as a back up quarterback in 10-12 leagues? Wow.
Ben Roethlisberger , PIT – ADP: 118 - Roethlisberger led the league in dropbacks, pass attempts, and completions last year while finishing top-two in passing yards, and ranking in the top-five in fantasy scoring. He did have Antonio Brown there, however he still has JuJu Smith-Schuster , James Conner , Vance McDonald , James Washington , and Donte Moncrief around him still. Big Ben has been a top-eight QB in fantasy scoring each of the last five years and there is no sign of slowing down as they have the same plug-and-play offense they’ve had much of that time. Getting a potential top-eight QB off the board this late is a steal.
Philip Rivers , LAC – ADP: 131 - Rivers notched a 32-touchdown, 4,300-yard season yet again in 2018 making it the sixth-straight year he’s gone over 4,200 yards. He was a top-10 QB almost half of the fantasy regular season last year and has nearly the same supporting cast around him. Yes, Melvin Gordon is holding out, however the four games they played without him last year they went 4-0 and Rivers carried the offense. Tyrell Williams has gone up the coast a bit however they get Hunter Henry back and a fully healthy Keenan Allen and Mike Williams , not to mention Austin Ekeler catching balls out of the backfield. The Chargers offense has always been predicated on Rivers throwing the ball quite a bit, as you can see from the yardage totals, and that shouldn’t change this year, in fact, it likely goes up. He’s going about the 12th round in ADP terms or the 13th in a 10-teamer, and given his top-10 QB upside, that could be a steal as the 15th one off the board.
Kirk Cousins , MIN – ADP: 132.9 - I am probably the most bullish on Cousins amongst those at Fantasy Alarm and in fact in an episode of Table That Discussion, I made the argument as to why Cousins was the best QB sleeper at that point, and now it’s a month and a half later and he’s still not rising in the ADP. Cousins has posted four straight years of 4,200 or more yards and 25 or more touchdowns including a career-high 30 last year. He has the same offense in place this year with the same cast of characters in Stefon Diggs , Adam Thielen , Kyle Rudolph , and Dalvin Cook is healthy. Cousins also set a career-high in completion percentage and was a top-10 passer in fantasy seven times last year. There is concern the system is changing this year, but in reality the run-game should just get more efficient meaning better output for Cousins and Co. Did I mention that his QB12 finish last year was his worst of his career with more upside this year? So why is he going as a QB16 off the board?
Dak Prescott , DAL – ADP: 135.2 - All of the talk around the Cowboys has been the holdout of Ezekiel Elliott , and with good reason, however that negates their quarterback who is actually arguably better without Zeke on the field. Prescott hasn’t been putting up the elite numbers but they have been good enough for him to finish as a top-11 QB in fantasy each of his three pro seasons and as high as sixth. The addition of Amari Cooper mid-season last year immediately helped the passing attack and getting Travis Frederick back at the center spot this year will stabilize the offensive line which gave up 56 sacks last year. If you know anything about the work done for the Draft Guide here at Fantasy Alarm, a chunk of it is based off the idea of consistency and Prescott fits that mold perfectly putting up the same touchdown totals each of the last three years and similar yardage totals too, the added rushing stats help his fantasy value along with the consistency. Considering he’s been a QB1 option in most leagues his whole career, he’s a major value going this far down in drafts.
Tom Brady , NE – ADP: 139.2 - Much to the chagrin of fellow Jets’ fans, Brady is still quite good at being an NFL and fantasy quarterback despite his advancing, or shall we say advanced, age. Yes, his stats have fallen each of the last few seasons, but to what? He still posted more than 4,300 yards and 29 touchdowns without Rob Gronkowski being a usable weapon and a wide receiver corps devoid of any elite threats. Now this year, while Gronk did retire, he just got Josh Gordon back and has Julian Edelman and first-round wideout N’Keal Harry as well, not to mention James White and Sony Michel who showed he can catch passes last year. Is he the elite top-three QB option he was about eight years ago? No, but he still possesses top-12 upside about half regular season, and that total goes up if Michel spends anytime on the PUP List like he may with the knee issue meaning him being drafted QB20 currently, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Derek Carr , OAK – ADP: 169.4 - Carr’s success doesn’t necessarily hinge on Antonio Brown ’s return, but his draft stock certainly does. Carr was underwhelming last year to say the least, however that was the first year of a new system and he didn’t exactly have a ton of receiving help aside from Jared Cook either. Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson did nothing but drop balls and the rushing game was absent pretty much all year. In 2019, the Raiders retooled the receiving corps with the aforementioned Brown but also Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson and Darren Waller , a sleeper at TE. They also spent a first round pick on Josh Jacobs to line up behind Carr in the backfield and boost the rushing attack. If Antonio Brown returns to practice and stops complaining about his helmet, Carr should immediately take a step up in value considering he’d have two receiver capable of 1,000-yard seasons flanking the outsides of the offense