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Think of the Dallas Cowboys from the 1990s. Does Troy Aikman immediately come to mind? How about the 49ers of the 1980s - let me guess, you thought of Joe Montana fairly early into the recollection? Pittsburgh dominated the 1970s, and while the "Steel Curtain" moniker refers to their stifling defense, they also happened to have this guy named Terry Bradshaw slinging the rock. *deep sigh* *begrudgingly* We're all aware of Tom Brady, and the Patriots recent reign. Quarterbacks and dynasties are synonymous.

Frankly, no one remembers Jim Jeffcoat, Dwight Hicks, or Laurence Maroney, and I'd bet a strong half of you couldn't name one player from the Steelers' renowned "Steel Curtain" without the assistance of an internet-connected device. It just is what it is - the quarterback position has been glamorized since the beginnings of time - and while having an elite QB hasn't always been indicative of a team's success (Looking at you, Rex Grossman) the league has evolved to the point where having a baller at the QB position has become paramount. And yes, you should apply the same ideology to your dynasty leagues. (If league dominance is your intention, that is.)

I mean, sure, you could probably get by with a stopgap at QB (for a season or two) depending on your roster and/or skill level, but there's no debating that your squad's success over the next 3-5+ seasons is going to be far greater should you land a young, stud QB without sacrificing your first-born child. (Which I'm not against, per se, just be sure to finish reading this prior to making that decision.)

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Dynasty Sleepers - Quarterback

Now before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let me take a second to provide my personal definition of the polysemic term, "sleeper": one who is slept on. Period.

Who won't you find here? Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, or Lamar Jackson. Nor will you find the likes of Patrick Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo. Could these guys be a staple at QB for your teams in years to come? Absolutely. Are they sleepers, though? Nope. We're talking about the guys who may be overlooked due to a past injury, lack of opportunity, or poor performance. The guys you can throw into a trade low-key, and look like a genius five years down the road. The guys who shouldn't be mentioned in the same article as the aforementioned greats (my bad), but have the opportunity to provide above average (maybe even elite) fantasy production for the foreseeable future.


Mitchell Trubisky - Chicago Bears

With four names, and three commas, the Bears took Trubisky's rookie campaign and tossed it into the Chicago River. Those four names (and three commas)? Matt Nagy, Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton. Now no, they haven't gone all-in like their NFC companions from L.A., but they did deliver a subtle message to Mitch: "Let's see what you got."

Chicago's new Head Coach, Matt Nagy, comes over from Kansas City and if you didn't know, he's responsible for the play-calling which resulted in the Chiefs' 4-1 finish to the 2017 campaign (28.6 points per game). He's also a former QB. Robinson practically missed the entire '17 season, but managed 2,283 yards in the two seasons prior (the 11th highest WR yardage total over that stretch) despite playing in a Jacksonville offense which hasn't exactly been an aerial juggernaut. Gabriel is literally one of the fastest humans on the planet. And Burton provides a versatile weapon at the tight end position. Oh, and the Bears still have Jordan Howard - who finished sixth among RBs with 1,122 yards in 2017 - to go along with one of the best offensive lines the game has to offer. (Matching Cameron Meredith's offer sheet from the Saints would merely be an ice cold beer at the end of a long work day, and I still have an undue longing to see what a healthy Kevin White can do.)

If Trubisky is owned in your league (he probably is), good luck prying him from his owner's fingers. However, there's a chance you can catch an unsavvy owner slipping, and you can always play the "He finished 28th in passing yards with a 1:1 touchdown/interception ratio and as many TDs as Ryan Fitzpatrick!!" card if you must. Sell it, spin it, hell, throw a 60" OLED TV in the deal if you have to, but get Trubisky on your squad as Chicago has surrounded him with more weapons than Al Capone and he now finds himself in the driver's seat of success for many years to come.

Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins

They say, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." They also say, "out of sight, out of mind." I'm not quite sure who "they" are, but I'd imagine Dolphins fans (and Tannehill owners alike) find themselves firmly positioned in one of these two camps. So do a little poking. Should you find a Tannehill owner who falls on the latter side, hit him with the Limbo Rock and see how low he'll go.

Now I know, Jarvis Landry, and his league-best 112 receptions, now call Cleveland home. However, the Dolphins brought in Danny Amendola, and he's kind of the same guy. Wal-Mart Great Value brand, seven years older, far less swaggy, same guy. You get the point, though. Miami also brought in Albert Wilson - who's coming off the best season of his four-year career - to play alongside a (hopefully) healthy DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills who surprisingly finished 26th in receiving yards a season ago with 847 despite the apathetic play of Jay Cutler.

Translation: Tannehill has more than enough talent around him to put up the third 4,000+ yard passing season of his career.

Let me pause to make one thing clear, Tannehill is far from a home run. There is plenty of risk when you consider he's coming off two left ACL tears and will be approaching two full calendar years since playing his last meaningful game by the time the regular season kicks off.

However, Miami's o-line allowed fewer sacks than all but 10 teams in 2017 (33) while putting up the sixth-highest pass-blocking efficiency rating (81.7) per profootballfocus. Then, there's Kenyan Drake who came on strong to close out the '17 campaign, and the addition of Frank Gore definitely doesn't hurt. All told, there's plenty to like with Tannehill (despite the inherent risk), and at just 29 years of age with three talented receivers - not named Amendola - all aged 25 and what figures to be a decent run game, Tannehill has the necessary ingredients to consistently find himself among the Top-15 fantasy QBs while boasting Top-10 potential (he finished 9th among QBs in 2014).

A.J. McCarron - Buffalo Bills

It's no secret that the Bills are a run-first team, so if you're looking for a 4,500+ yard guy, your search continues. But even with that in mind, there are plenty of reasons to like McCarron's prospects of earning a long-term contract in Buffalo (or showcasing enough to earn one elsewhere).

LeSean McCoy is one of the greatest RBs of his generation, and has more carries than every back not named Todd Gurley or Frank Gore over the past three seasons. Sure, a just argument could be made that a run-first scheme isn't ideal for a fantasy QB, but I'd argue that this offense is an ideal fit for McCarron's "game manager" skill set. Plus, it's not like the Bills don't pass at all - Tyrod Taylor finished with just 57 fewer pass attempts than Jared Goff a season ago. Not to mention, when has having an elite RB who commands stacked boxes been detrimental to a QB's performance?

I'll wait...

Moving on.

Buffalo boasts one of the best offensive lines in the game, and while Taylor absorbed the third-most sacks in 2017 (46), the Bills concluded the season with the second-highest pass-blocking efficiency rating (83.0) per ProFootballFocus. There's also that part about Taylor crediting the line with a few unearned sacks due to his affinity to scramble. A.J. shouldn't be spending much (if any) time scrambling; those sack totals are not indicative of what we should see moving forward. Then, there's Kelvin Benjamin (who's a beast when healthy), Charles Clay (who has five-straight 500+ yard receiving seasons and has been one of the most consistent options at the TE position), and Zay Jones (who I now find devilishly interesting despite the recent TMZ escapade). McCarron averaged just 10.96 yards/completion over his three career starts in Cincy with 4 TD, zero INT, and a 65% completion rate. In other words, he's far from a gunslinger. Maybe it's just me, but seeing how Jones averaged 13.8 yards/target (40th), and 11.7 yards/reception (169th), he seems to be a tailor-made receiver to feast given McCarron's tendency to favor the short stuff.

Now it's been five years since Brent Musburger divulged his thirst during the 2013 BCS National Championship game - a game which marked McCarron's second title as Alabama's starter and the third of his Tuscaloosa residency - and while 1,919 days is a rather long time, McCarron is still wet behind the ears at the tender age of 27. I won't put too much stock into his collegiate career - Alabama hasn't produced a QB who made waves in the NFL (as a player) since Ken Stabler - but I will say that there's a reason Hue Jackson gaily trotted the length of the field to greet him with a hug back in November, for the Bills throwing him a two-year, $10 million contact, and with Taylor in Cleveland, Nathan Peterman possibly being the worst QB in the NFL, and T.J. Yates being... well... T.J. Yates, we very well may see these reasons manifested over the next few seasons.

Yes, a lot can change between now and the Bills' opener, but at a cost of free ninety-nine, the risk associated with A.J. is vastly outweighed by the potential reward.

Teddy Bridgewater - New York Jets

Coming from a man who's suffered a ruptured patellar tendon, believe me when I tell you, there's a pretty good chance Teddy B will never be the same. Keep in mind, this is coming from a genetically average man who doesn't have a dietician, 16 hours a day to train, or millions of dollars to spend on keeping his body in pristine condition. Let's keep the comparisons to a minimum here. That said, logic suggests that it may take some time for Bridgewater to find his groove, but if his first two seasons in the league are any indication - 6,150 passing yards, 28 TDs, and Rookie of the Year hardware -  even at 90%, he'll still be pretty damn good.

He's also just 25 years old.

Bridgewater gets the nod on talent, potential, and youth alone, but to add a few bonus points, this Jets offense has the potential to be beastly. Robby Anderson (19th) and Jermaine Kearse (27th) both finished among the Top-30 wide receivers in 2017 - in terms of yardage - with 941 and 810, respectively. Quincy Enunwa missed the entire 2017 season, but don't let that cause you to forget that the last time we saw him he wasn't doing much - just 58 receptions for 857 yards over 13 games in 2016. Oh, and for giggles, the Jets brought in Terrelle Pryor, Andre Roberts, Clive Walford, Isaiah Crowell, and Thomas Rawls.

Now I'd be remiss to not mention that this Jets offensive line is atrocious. Josh McCown was sacked more times than all but five QBs a season ago. I'd also be doing a disservice to not mention that Bridgewater inked a one-year deal (with only his $500,000 signing bonus guaranteed), or that the Jets traded their No. 6 overall pick, two second-round picks (No. 37 and 49), as well as their 2019 second-rounder to the Colts in order to obtain the No. 3 pick this year (presumably to draft a QB) - the Jets aren't exactly sold on him being their guy.

... You shouldn't be either, though, and for this reason (above all others) a sleeper logo based upon the silhouette of Teddy B is long overdue.


More 2018 Dynasty League Strategy