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Superflex Quarterback Deep Draft Sleepers - Trevor Lawrence, Daniel Jones, Marcus Mariota

In fantasy football, there are "sleepers," or players we expect to outproduce their average draft position (ADP), and then there are "deep sleepers." These deep sleepers aren't on many people's radar. They may be coming off of a down season, or they may find themselves in a much different situation from a season ago. Either way, they're not getting enough attention and have an opportunity to far outproduce their ADP this season.

In this article, we'll focus on the quarterback position. These three guys have ADPs well below QB12, which means you're likely not going to start them in a 1QB league. However, they should be targeted in 2QB or Superflex leagues because of their upside.

Check out early RB sleepers when you're done here.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP: QB19)

Lawrence entered the league with extremely high expectations. He was taken number one overall in the 2021 NFL Draft after throwing for 10,098 yards, 90 touchdowns, and just 17 interceptions in his three seasons at Clemson. He completed 66.6% of his passes while rushing for an additional 943 yards and 18 touchdowns. And then Urban Meyer got his hands on Lawrence, and it was all downhill from that point.

To say he struggled as a rookie would be an understatement, but we can't put all the blame on Lawrence. In fact, we shouldn't put hardly any of the blame on him. The Jaguars' other first-round pick, Travis Etienne (Lawrence's college teammate), didn't play a single regular season snap after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the preseason. His supposed number one wideout, D.J. Chark, also went down early in the season with an ankle injury. Without ample options in the passing game, Lawrence found himself swimming upstream on a weekly basis. Per PlayerProfiler, he was second in the league in pressured throws (138) and subsequently led the league in interceptable passes with 50.

But let's throw that season out the window and start fresh. Doug Pederson is now the head coach and the Jags spent the offseason revamping their offense. Not only did they throw a bunch of money at guys like Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram, but they also bolstered their offensive line by adding All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff. And don't forget about Etienne, he'll also be in the mix this season after missing the entire 2021 season. That safety blanket should be invaluable for Lawrence. Let's take a look at what Pederson was able to do with another young, talented quarterback in Carson Wentz back when he coached the Philadelphia Eagles.

Under the coaching of Pederson, Wentz went from QB24 to QB2 in fantasy football between his rookie and sophomore seasons. The hope here for Lawrence is that he can do "something similar" to Wentz. The chances of him being a top-five quarterback are probably slim-to-none, but let's not count out top-12, especially given his ability on the ground. In fact, Lawrence rushed much more than Wentz as a rookie, so that part of his game seems to be innate, despite the lackluster coaching in Jacksonville a season ago. Before he even threw a pass, his legs alone were good for 2.7 fantasy points per game in 2021.

The Jaguars are also bound to play more up-tempo this season under Pederson. Between 2016 and 2020, Pederson's Eagles averaged 66.7 plays per game. That would have been good for fifth-most in the league in 2021. Compare that to the Jaguars, who averaged just 60.5 plays per game a season ago. The combination of upgraded offensive weapons and a competent head coach, mixed with Lawrence's elite skill set at the quarterback position provides a ceiling similar to what we saw with Wentz in 2017. It's asking an awful lot, but don't be surprised to see Lawrence finish the season as a low-end QB1 that can be had at a low-end QB2 price point.


Daniel Jones, New York Giants (ADP: QB28)

Another quarterback that gets a major upgrade at head coach. Brian Daboll comes over from the Buffalo Bills to replace Joe Judge. The Giants also replaced offensive coordinator Jason Garrett with Mike Kafka, who spent the last five seasons in Kansas City working with Patrick Mahomes. Without knowing anything else, there's reason to be excited about Daniel Jones in 2022 just given where Daboll and Kafka came from.

Now, let's see what the Giants did in the offseason to get better on the offensive side of the ball. They prioritized the offensive line, selecting Alabama's Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. With their next pick, they took a shifty receiver out of Kentucky, Wan'Dale Robinson. Both these guys figure to make an immediate impact at the next level, which should in turn help Daniel Jones. Add in a generational-type running back in Saquon Barkley, and at least two other very good wide receivers in Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay, and you've got the makings of a really solid offense that has a chance to put up some points this season. Recall that the Giants scored a league-low 23 offensive touchdowns a season ago. That number is bound to increase in 2022 with Daboll calling the shots.

And here's the thing with Jones - he's already shown flashes in his first three seasons. Sure, he's been hampered with injuries, but let's not take away from the fact that DJ was the overall QB6 for the first four weeks of the 2021 season. He averaged 23.6 fantasy points per game during that stretch. 32.7% of those points came in the form of rushing production (7.7 points per game on the ground). That upside can't be overlooked.

In the last two seasons, the Bills ran 65 plays per game under Daboll. Meanwhile, under Judge and Garrett, the Giants ran just 61.1 plays per game the last two seasons. Additionally, Daboll has deployed a pass-first scheme, passing on 59.4% of offensive plays. There won't be any shortage of opportunities for Daniel Jones to take that next step toward being a solid low-end QB1 in 2022. But whether he can sustain his health and that production remains to be seen.


Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: QB30)

In Week 6 of the 2019 season, Mariota lost his starting job to Ryan Tannehill and has since never gotten it back. Not in Tennessee, not in Las Vegas where he's backed up Derek Carr the past two seasons. But let's not forget what he's capable of with the ball in his hands.

He played meaningful snaps in just one game for the Raiders (Week 15 of the 2020 season). In that one game, Mariota threw for 226 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 88 yards and a score. He finished that game with 25.8 fantasy points, 14.8 of which came on the ground. In his 4+ years as a starter for the Titans, Mariota totaled 1,399 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Not too shabby. The question becomes, entering his age 28 season, how much autonomy will Mariota have in playing his brand of football? Have a listen:

Mariota has never been better than QB13 on a per-game basis, so it's understandable why one might be a bit skeptical. Nobody is suggesting he's going to walk into Atlanta and miraculously become this bulletproof top-12 guy. But between his familiarity with head coach Arthur Smith's system (from their time together in Tennessee), to three really nice offensive skill players in Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Cordarrelle Patterson, Mariota has the chance to far outperform his QB30 ADP this season.

If you're in a Superflex or 2QB league and you're wanting that deep sleeper that could potentially fill in as your second quarterback, Mariota should absolutely be on the top of your list of options. Remember, any quarterback that can run the ball like he can has a place on fantasy football rosters. And he balled out in limited opportunities with the Raiders last season.

And one last quote from quarterbacks coach, Charles London, on if the Falcons would implement designed runs for Mariota (or any other quarterback) this season: “I think we’d be crazy if we didn’t try to roll these guys out of the pocket a little bit," he said. “We’ve got three really athletic guys in our room. As coaches, we have to figure out the best way to get these guys in a position to be successful.”

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