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Aaron Rodgers. Andrew Luck. Peyton Manning. Russell Wilson. Drew Brees.
When you think fantasy football quarterbacks, those names tend to come to mind. Of course, though, we can’t all be lucky enough to get them on our team.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the QBs you don’t normally think about, but who could surprise anyway. The sleepers.
While the guys listed below might not be your every-week starter, they’ll be useful, whether as a spot-starter, for 2-QB leagues, an injury-replacement or bye week filler.
Keep reading to see some quarterbacks with garner sleeper status.
1. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli Manning, a sleeper? Yes, he sure is. Well, maybe he’s more disrespected than a traditional sleeper. But, whatever. Eli’s propensity to produce more turnovers than your local bakery and his knack for hovering in the 60 range for completion percentage make him an afterthought when it comes to drafting your fantasy team’s quarterback. So why at age 34 is Manning the Younger considered a sleeper? Well, there are a few reasons. 1) Odell Beckham Jr. is a bona fide star. Add in Victor Cruz (coming off a season-ending injury), Rueben Randle, Larry Donnell and pass-catching running back Shane Vereen, and Manning has the best set of weapons he’s had; 2) He’s more comfortable in the new offense brought in last season; 3) Odell Beckham Jr. again; and 4) He actually completed a career-best 63 percent of his passes in 2014. Manning ended as a top 10 scoring QB in most standard leagues a year ago and there’s no reason to think he can’t surpass his 4,410 yards and 30 TDs this fall.
2. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr has the offensive line and core of receivers (rookie Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree) to improve greatly on his solid rookie campaign which saw him toss for 21 TDs and 3,270 yards. He didn’t have either receiver in 2014 and unlike his older brother, former NFL QB David Carr, Derek did not spend the majority of his season on his back. The running game might not appear to be in great shape, but it could surprise and that could boost Carr’s production even more. I’m not talking every-week starter, but certainly not free agent pool fodder. Especially in one-day fantasy leagues like DraftKings, where Carr will certainly be an affordable option.
3. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
There was a reason Bortles was selected so highly in the 2014 NFL Draft (3rd overall). He’s got the tools to succeed. And while you think he might not have the weapons, he’s got a few. Just because nobody knows any of their names doesn’t mean they can’t play. His receiving corps of Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson will not be mistaken for what Andrew Luck has in Indianapolis, but the trio certainly showed promise in 2014. Add in the addition of red zone master Julius Thomas, the tight end formerly of Denver, a quality offensive lineman in Sam Young from the Cowboys and running back T.J. Yeldon in the draft, and you see Jacksonville is beginning to surround Bortles with some playmakers. Now, he just has to get them the ball.
4. Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles
Sanchez made himself fantasy-relevant in 2014 when Nick Foles got injured, completing 64 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns in 9 games. A Chip Kelly offense can make stars out those who usually aren’t. Foles is gone, but in his place is former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford. And Bradford, as most football fans know, misses lots and lots of time. In fact, he hasn’t played in a regular season game since October 20 … of 2013. Knee injuries have derailed his career. We can actually consider Bradford a sleeper because as mentioned above, Kelly’s offense produces. But if he can’t stay on the field, it’s likely going to be Sanchez, if he can hold off Matt Barkley and … wait for it … Tim Tebow. It’ll be Sanchez.
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick/Geno Smith, New York Jets
A Jets quarterback will be effective in 2015. A Jets quarterback will be effective in 2015. That wasn’t a typo; I just needed to say it twice so I would actually let it sink in and believe it. With the addition of Brandon Marshall and the eventual return of rookie Devin Smith, who will miss 4-to-6 weeks with an injury, the Jets certainly added some pieces in the passing game. They already had Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and emerging tight end Jace Amaro. Here’s the thing, Geno Smith has talent. He just makes so many mind-numbing mistakes that they had to bring in Fitzpatrick. Geno won’t have a long leash in 2015. If he falters, Fitzpatrick has the weapons to put up good numbers. If Smith and Fitzy falter, there’s always rookie Bryce Petty. But that is not what the Jets are hoping for. Nor will Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker owners.
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