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As we slowly get closer to the 2018 NFL Draft, we are beginning to get an idea of where players are landing. There are plenty of question marks out there still between free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, but there are definitely some places where the starting lineups are beginning to take shape.

The quarterback position is one that doesn’t take too long to determine who the starters will be, partly due to the time it takes for new QBs to learn new systems and prepare for next year. One case in point would be the recent news of the Washington Redskins making a surprising move and locking up Alex Smith. Fantasy owners can now plan ahead for Patrick Mahomes to take the reins in Kansas City, and Smith to run the show in Washington.

There is sure to be plenty of shocking news at the QB position to come, but we can move forward planning accordingly. Smith and Mahomes will likely get drafted in your leagues heading into 2018, after Smith’s nice year and with the hype surrounding Mahomes, I don’t see them exactly as ‘sleeper’ candidates. Let's look at some deeper names that could emerge as legitimate fantasy assets next season.

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Early QB Sleepers for 2018

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)

Mitch Trubisky is a QB that could very easily go undrafted in your Redraft leagues for 2018. There wasn’t much that he showed us during his rookie year that anyone really should have been too excited about, it really was fairly disappointing for Bears fans as well. Trubisky ended his rookie campaign in 12 starts with 2,193 passing yards on 330 attempts, completing 59.4% of his passes with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but ending a rookie season with just nine total touchdowns and seven interceptions is anything but promising. Despite this rough rookie season, Trubisky is someone I like a lot to come out and impress us next year. In fact, don’t be surprised if he ends up being a streaming option at the QB position, and eventually someone that you can start on a weekly basis.

With Matt Nagy coming into town from Kansas City, you can expect a much different offense from Chicago in 2018. The unpredictable play-calling that Nagy used with the Chiefs and their three-wideout sets could be fun to watch. I expect the Bears to get Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen involved more, and potentially a breakout season from Cameron Meredith. Expect to see more of the run pass option in this offense, which could open things for the passing game, and I expect this boost in the offense overall to be good for RB Jordan Howard, as well as the change of pass with Cohen. With all of these factors in mind, Trubisky is looking like he’s set up for a nice breakout season.

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

After a serious amount of hype heading into the 2017 season, Jameis Winston turned out to be a frustrating player to own. With all of their new weapons and all of the hype coming from the HBO series, Hard Knocks, it made sense. After missing three games with his shoulder injury, and basically missing all of Week nine against the Lions when the injury occurred, his numbers look much worse than what they were. Finishing the season with 201.8 fantasy points, he was on pace to finish as the QB10 or QB11, had he not missed time for this injury. Not to mention, he was playing through the injury for several weeks before it was too much for him to continue playing through.

Mike Evans was frustrating to own this year as well, but he did end the season with his fourth straight 1,000 yard campaign. DeSean Jackson was a total bust, and the running game was basically non-existent. I expect Winston to bounce back in 2018, and he will likely be someone that gets snubbed by many owners in your Redraft leagues. Second year WR Chris Godwin will be someone that could be a sleeper this year, and I expect Winston to finish the season inside the top 12 for QBs.

Eli Manning (QB, NYG)

Eli Manning was someone that I was fairly excited about drafting late heading into the 2017 season. This was a total bust, and largely due to injuries to almost their entire receiving core. Evan Engram was the main beneficiary of these injuries, and Sterling Shepard was a guy I loved to plug and play towards the end of the season when he came back from his sprained ankle injury, and then missing a few others due to migraines.
Assuming that Odell Beckham Jr. is back and 100%, between him, Engram, and Shepard, it only makes sense that Manning puts up numbers.

Despite talks about Manning possibly heading out of New York, I am not on board. I expect him to return in 2018, and a rookie QB to be learning from him. If 2018 doesn’t work out, I could see them moving on from him in 2019, but next year plan on Manning being a nice late-round QB option or a streaming option.


More Sleepers & Draft Values


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