Finding value in the quarterback position during the draft provides a significant advantage. It’s hard to pass up flashy skill players in the early and middle parts of the draft, but in single-quarterback leagues, searching for a quarterback often starves you or a leading receiver or running back. . You may find good value in those positions in later rounds, but it’s easier to find a legitimate candidate to sleep in or escape at QB. Even if you prefer to draft a quarterback early, downgrading for a possible late robbery can pay off in the form of a trade once the season begins.
The perfect image of a sleeping quarterback is Justin Herbert last year. In single QB rework leagues, he was often not drafted, only to finish as a top 10 pick at the position.
Speaking of guys who haven’t been drafted, if you’re not in a deep league, be sure to keep an eye out for some of the sleepers below during the early part of the season. At least some will be available on the waiver wire, so be prepared to jump in if they have a hot start.
This year’s roster features six players caught in quarterback battles. Everyone has a great advantage if they get away with their respective jobs.
People were quick to write Tua off after a lackluster rookie season, but remember he was coming off a serious hip injury sustained during his senior year in Alabama. While his rookie season wasn’t what many expected, it did show off his ball placement and precision skills. The Dolphins came out and landed him two receivers who excel at opening deep, Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller V. They play more to Tua’s strengths than DeVante Parker or Preston Williams. Tua is already experienced in hitting Waddle in stride, and they should pick up right where they left off. Mike Gesicki and Hunter Long are also more useful tight end options. Simply put, Tua wasn’t set for success in 2020. At 21 he is, and he could easily surpass ADP.
Mayfield finished behind Cam Newton last season at QB17. It’s not that Mayfield doesn’t have guns or isn’t a promising young quarterback; it just doesn’t pick up the volume. He’s in Ryan Tannehill’s range of passing attempts. However, there is no shortage of firepower on the Browns’ roster, and Baker has proven capable of making big plays. (Throws requiring “exceptional skill and athleticism” or “Throws executed at decisive moments”). That cannot be ignored. With household names like OBJ and Jarvis Landry, the Browns offense always has the potential to explode. Behind an elite offensive line, Baker should sit comfortably in the pocket regularly. Additionally, the Browns offense will be among the league leaders in red zone attempts, resulting in some easy passing touchdowns. He’s accurate and he’s not afraid to make big shots. Any increase in passenger volume could spell a great year out of Mayfield.
Jones definitely has things heading in the right direction. Saquon Barkley is making a comeback and Kenny Golladay is added to the group. Whatever your take on KaDarius Toney, he will help the offense move the ball. If Danny Dimes can get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, he could enjoy a fantasy-relevant season, especially if he’s averaging more than 30 rushing yards per game again. At his low price on drafts, he is a low risk, high reward player, optimal for a backup if he takes an early QB.
Winston, with his new look, has a ceiling as high as a top-10 quarterback. Assuming he wins the quarterback battle with Taysom Hill, a gunman-led Sean Payton offense sounds good. If you limit your turnovers, you could easily see 5,000 yards with close to 40 touchdowns in a 17-game season. (Although Michael Thomas’ ankle injury clouds optimism a bit.) Even in his disastrous 30 INT season with the Bucs in 2019, Winston finished QB3. Of course, Winston could easily lose the starting job and Hill could be a top-10 candidate, as he was during his early career last year, thanks to his rushed floor. Winston would be the highest-ranking and highest-rewarding player, but Hill would likely be more consistent if he ends up starting.
Lock, like Winston, is another ‘throw caution to the wind’ gunslinger, but has had no success in the past, even with solid weapons around him. He completed only 57.3 percent of his passes in 2020 and hasn’t shown much promise. But as we know, crazier things have happened in fantasy football. Will Josh Allen become an elite quarterback in 2020? Lock has nothing like Allen’s lead, but another year on Pat Shurmer’s offense could turn the tide. Shurmer isn’t a sexy name, but he led a Vikings offense in 2017 that produced a Kirk Cousins QB7 season. With the weapons around Lock, he surely has the potential to do something similar.
The Jimmy G era is coming to an end in San Francisco, but when? In the year the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl, Jimmy G finished at QB14. With even more guns now, his ceiling is even higher if he ends up being the 49ers’ full-time starter this year. But that’s okay. According to FantasyPros, Garoppolo is coming off the board at an average draft position (ADP) of QB33. We could see an Alex Smith / Patrick Mahomes situation where Lance sits for a year to be groomed as the future starter. If that’s the case, Jimmy G will absolutely trash that ADP. On the other hand, Lance has tremendous potential if he is named a starter early in the season. Its dizzying face features solid fantasy flooring. At NDSU, Lance had 48 total touchdowns, over 1,100 rushing yards and just one interception. That is not a typo. This suggests that it won’t be thrown out of the game very often. He’s leaving the board before Garoppolo, and it’s probably a smart move to select both of them if you select either one, depending on your league format.
Fields could easily outperform his QB19 ADP. He has the tools to be a stat accumulator, and his low rank is an indication of the unknown. Rookie rookie quarterbacks have a solid floor, but their success will depend on how long the Bears coaching staff pretend Andy Dalton is worth keeping there. If Fields wins the spot early in the season, he could be the best man on this list.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.