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Quarterbacks To Draft Late: QB Sleepers & Draft Values



Quarterback Sleepers for Shallower Leagues (1 QB)

Today’s NFL is more pass-happy than it has ever been and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon. Fortunately for fantasy owners, that means there are a plethora of quarterback options that extend beyond the typical 10-team format.  It’s been said throughout the summer’s fantasy preparation that there are about 15 real-life quarterbacks that could prove to be viable fantasy starters any given week. That implies that there are names further down the list that should be viewed as potential sleepers depending on the size of your league.  As we look at ADPs for quarterbacks, we find this to be true.

In a 10-team league, it’s not uncommon for drafters to forego rostering a backup QB due to the depth of the position. A contrarian school of thought, however, is to wait on quarterback for as long as you can, loading up on running backs and wide receivers. And once you feel you’ve waited long enough, grab two of the best QBs remaining.  The first few players listed below fall into that very category.


Jay Cutler - QB, Chicago Bears

week-16-fantasy-championships-start-lineup-picksThere’s a nifty little stat that has been circulating NFL websites throughout the off-season that suggests the quarterback position in Chicago is vastly underrated. The stat goes like this: if you were to combine Jay Cutler and Josh McCown’s yard total, touchdowns, completions, and attempts into one player, they would be top 10 in all of those categories.

Depending on your league format, that should easily be good enough for being a top five fantasy quarterback. Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been dubbed the “quarterback whisperer” for a reason; he can pretty much turn anyone into a star.

The main reason that Cutler isn’t being looked at as highly as he should be, however, is the simple fact that he has had trouble staying healthy behind an offensive line that has historically been average at best. If healthy, Jay Cutler could easily break out in a big way within the Trestman offense, throwing to players like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. Cutler’s ADP as an early 11th rounder is absolutely worth a shot if you decide to wait on quarterback and want to double your chances of hitting it big.


Ben Roethlisberger - QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

When the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to hire Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator in 2012, there was a mixed reaction in terms of what it would mean for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Some viewed the hiring as a positive for Big Ben given Haley’s prior success on offense when he was able to work with a competent thrower. Others, however, thought Haley’s offensive scheme would rely too heavily on dink-and-dunk to yield Roethlisberger fantasy prowess. As it turns out, both sides were right albeit at different points of the season.

In the beginning of the 2013 season, the Steelers offense struggled as a whole but the latter half is when the team begin putting it together. Roethlisberger had some monster games in the second half of the season, throwing for 350+ yards three times over that span. While this could simply be coincidence, it’s more likely that the offense, particularly Roethlisberger, began improving once Todd Haley gave Ben more freedom with the football.

The theory behind Ben as a QB sleeper is that the positives from the latter half of the 2013 Pittsburgh offense would be accentuated and improved upon, hiding the negatives that we saw early in the year. With Roethlisberger currently going in about the 13th round, it would be wise to make him your second shot at QB similar to the way you would with Cutler. He will be throwing to viable players like Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Heath Miller and Le'Veon Bell. Better yet, it might even be worth attaching Roethlisberger to a questionable fantasy starter like Robert Griffin III (injury concerns, hasn’t looked good in the preseason) or Russell Wilson (hasn’t really emerged as a true fantasy contributor) with the hopes that Ben could overtake them for your starting gig.


Quarterback Sleepers for Deeper Leagues

While Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger have 10-team league upside, this next batch of quarterbacks are ones to target in deeper leagues. A deeper league consists of one with at least 12 teams, with these players possessing top 12-15 potential at their position. Their upside is slightly more limited than the previous two players but not enough to dismiss them from fantasy entirely.


Andy Dalton - QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Allow me to make something fairly clear before we continue: I am nowhere near The Red Rifle's biggest fan. In fact, I actually think I’m harsher on him than most who pay close attention to fantasy football. The reason I’ve included him in my deeper sleeper section is that it looks like the dismissal for Dalton has gone a bit too far as a whole.

Dalton finished the year as a top 10 fantasy quarterback in 2013, which is incredibly surprising.  Talent aside, the biggest knock on Andy Dalton’s fantasy status has simply been that there are too many quarterbacks ahead of him who are both safer and possess more upside. That being said, Dalton is going crazy late in drafts.

He’s being drafted as a 12th rounder, which, if you’re waiting on QB and looking to grab two, is perfect. This is more of a “don’t forget about Andy Dalton, he’s already done it before” than a “hey, this guy is way better than we think.” The latter would be a misrepresentation of the truth as Dalton’s on-the-field talent is questionable. But when you have A.J. Green, as well as talents like Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, to throw to -- you’re going to at least flirt with fantasy relevancy.


Carson Palmer - QB, Arizona Cardinals

Rotoballer-Fantasy-Football-Advice-Analysis-Carson-PalmerThe potential resurrection of Carson Palmer’s fantasy importance under head coach Bruce Arians was a quiet topic of conversation last year. Palmer is no spry young man in 2014 but it’s impossible to ignore the weapons around him. Say what you want about Larry Fitzgerald’s decline, he’s still Larry Fitzgerald and still an integral part of the team’s offense. Couple that with the emergence of Michael Floyd last year and you have one of the better one-two punches at wide receiver in the league.

The passing options don’t end there as Andre Ellington has been a trendy sleeper at running back and is expected to be a big part of the Arizona offense. If Ellington could become a true three down back, snagging passes in the backfield whenever given the opportunity, Carson Palmer could benefit from having three legitimate fantasy players around him. I’m not suggesting he’ll suddenly have a career year but a top 12 season out of Palmer isn’t out of the question.  I

f a few things go the Cardinals way with Floyd taking it up a notch and Ellington breaking out, they could easily end up one of the more entertaining offenses in 2014. Palmer isn’t a guy you would necessarily need to draft in order to benefit from his success. He falls into the category of a “wait and see” player rather than one you would want to carry on your roster heading into week one.


There’s always room for more potential sleeper candidates but the four players mentioned simply have the best combination of safety, value, and upside. That’s precisely what you should be looking for in a sleeper and that extends to all positions in football. Good luck with your drafts RotoBallers!