Top 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers at Quarterback, Ranked
Regardless if you are in a standard or a super flex league format, addressing the quarterback position for your fantasy football team this season holds major importance. But investing in QB sleepers certainly can help you fill out your rosters with running backs and wide receivers early and often, knowing you can grab a few top-12 targets later on.
QB sleepers are not always thought of when going through your pre-draft research process, yet they can be the difference-maker in your leagues. Passing on the Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and Dak Prescott options early on can help balance your roster out while forcing your league mates to scramble for RBs and WRs when they should have been targeting them instead of QBs.
The following five fantasy football quarterback sleepers are options that are not commonly thought of when thinking best QB options, but all have realistic chances to finish within the top 12 options this season.
All compiled average draft projection (ADP) data is pulled from FantasyPros and/or FantasyData.
San Francisco 49ers
Capitalizing on rookie options is just as important as hitting on the proven veterans, meaning that Trey Lance holds immense value as a QB sleeper this season, even with the uncertainty surrounding when he will get his opportunity to start.
With Jimmy Garoppolo currently hoarding all of the starting work and with no change in sight, Lance will be relegated to bench duty, with the occasional chance during special formations and packages. Head coach Kyle Shanahan knows what kind of weapon he has in Lance and certainly will not hesitate to use him, but Lance should be looked at as a sleeper option here through the lens of a team that can afford to stash him on their bench for the time being.
The Niners have a potent offense that Garoppolo has not been able to fully unlock, and with the kind of upside Lance has, do not be surprised to see Shanahan make a change towards the middle part of this season, giving Lance his first shot.
What do you get when you combine a second-year former first overall selection with a trio of top-35 WR options? You get Joe Burrow and a putrid offensive line, a problem that the Cincinnati Bengals openly committed to.
While passing on OL help for Ja’Marr Chase early on in this year’s NFL Draft will be scrutinized for a while, the fact remains that Burrow has Chase, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins to target in the passing game, one of the league’s best trios of targets.
The issue remains that Burrow will be behind one of the league’s worst OL units again this year, the reason why his season ended prematurely in 2020, but Burrow was on pace to set all kinds of rookie records last year, and with even more weapons at his disposal (plus a healthy, three-down Joe Mixon), Burrow’s ADP as the 13th-drafted QB allows for him to have a top-10 ceiling, especially with the increased likelihood that the Bengals will be passing more.
For the last 11 seasons, Matt Ryan has averaged 14 or more fantasy points per game, including a career-high 22.1 PPG in 2018, the third time he had amassed 300 or more fantasy points in one season. The Atlanta Falcons are projected to bring up the tail end of the NFC South division this year, meaning that Ryan will yet again be asked to shoulder a heavy workload this year, great news for fantasy teams looking for a high-end QB sleeper with a low price.
Even after the trade of Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans (more on him later), Ryan still has Calvin Ridley and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts as his main weapons this season. The lack of an established rushing attack will also benefit Ryan, as Mike Davis, who is heading into his first season on the Falcons and as a lead back, likely will not be able to hold down the starting role for the entire season.
Just like Burrow and the Bengals, Ryan and the Falcons are going to be hard-pressed to be competitive this season, especially in a tough division, so the value that Ryan’s QB17 draft stock averages out to presents solid value, even if seen more as a streaming option or the second QB in a 2-QB league format.
Having finished as the QB12 last season, it remains to be seen what kind of impact the trade of Jones will have on Ryan, but one thing is known for sure – Ryan is yet again set up to be a smash play in all formats and for cheap.
Maybe not so much of a QB sleeper option as he is criminally underrated on a yearly basis, but Ryan Tannehill presents himself again as a sure-fire upside option for all teams to target in this year’s draft cycle. As previously mentioned for Ryan, Tannehill was able to add Jones to his stable of pass-catchers, and he will combine with A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry to form a nasty trio of weapons to once again run the AFC South division.
While Tannehill was never going to be the fit for the Miami Dolphins, he certainly has found his role in Tennessee, filling the desired role while not being asked to do too much. Finishing as the QB8 in ‘20, Tannehill’s 34 passing touchdowns to 14 interceptions produced a much-improved QB option for the Titans to rely on.
This year, Tannehill may not be asked to replicate his rushing stats again (43/266/7), ultimately cutting off some added value, but being able to throw to the duo of Brown and Jones certainly improves his ceiling. Both Tannehill and our number one option on this list are proven veterans that have somewhat recently entered a chance of scenery, and all they have continued to do is be solid fantasy options – but as sleepers, they consistently can break through their ceilings and present great values to whatever teams draft them.
Los Angeles Rams
The biggest benefactor of the Matthew Stafford trade was the WR core for the Los Angeles Rams, specifically Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. But Stafford finally has his chance to play in a winning atmosphere, something he very rarely experienced while in Detroit, which can boost his production in his first year out west.
With Jared Goff out of the picture, the lead role that Stafford holds in the fantasy football quarterback sleepers group is one that he has regularly been a member of in his career – yet he continues to be doubted each and every year. With the unfortunate season-ending injury to Cam Akers, the rushing attack may prove to be just unstable enough to boost Stafford up into the top-8 QB landing area, an absolute victory for any team investing in a QB that is experiencing a change in team for the first time in his career.
While a QB16 finish is nothing necessarily special, Stafford was able to orchestrate that finish last year without having Kenny Golladay as his main target for most of the season. As both Kupp and Woods grow more accustomed to having Stafford as their QB, they will only improve and get better, helping set up Stafford for a later-career breakout that can help keep him and the Rams relevant.