The depth of the quarterback position in fantasy is such that you really do not have to acquire a sleeper unless:
You are in a 2 QB league or SuperFlex league.
You stream quarterbacks.
In-season circumstance compels.
Something else requiring an extra QB.
Sleepers are deep prospects. Apart from the above, it is of course not unusual for those in regular redrafts to hold an extra quarterback on the bench. However, the quarterback depth holds enough quality to accommodate those pursuing a backup without resorting to speculative choices. But sometimes we just like taking pure metals out of the earth to see if they are worth anything.
So, what is a quarterback sleeper? I guess the best way to answer that is to remember how we viewed Deshaun Watson in 2017 before he took over the offense in Houston.
Watson certainly fit the idea. The opportunity with some unknown quantities. For a time, until his untimely practice injury, Watson became a hot quarterback property off the waiver wire. And now is the high draft pick quarterback we see in 2018.
In sum, the main traits of quarterback sleepers are... they are young, with an inconclusive track record and opportunity. Test a quarterback who meets all three criteria and you have a sleeper. Patrick Mahomes is; Brandon Weeden is not.
2018 Fantasy Football Quarterback Sleepers
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Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
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Mahomes had one start last season when the Chiefs rested some regular starters for the playoffs. He won his first game 27-24 against a depressed and defanged Denver Broncos team in the season finale.
We cannot base much on the results of this game because of the circumstances, but at least we know Mahomes can play and play well with unsung second teamers. Again, it's only one game.
Mahomes has all the upside you could want in a second year quarterback. We knew well in advance that Mahomes would take this job in 2018. The smooth and careful preparation for Mahomes to take over on the Chiefs certainly looks out of the ordinary. You get a sense of good fruit bearing management with how they handled the transition.
So often, we see a new quarterback play in the shadow of the phased out veteran, as a rookie thrown into a sink or swim scenario, or other situations where some kind of immediacy determines his installment as a debutant.
There are hints we have about Mahomes. We have to start looking at Sammy Watkins and the Chiefs receivers differently now. We might even have to look at Travis Kelce differently too and perhaps in not the good way. We need to prepare for a whole new scheme on the Chiefs. Time to shake out those old Alex Smith notions of what the Chiefs are.
Mahomes will make errors, to be sure, but as a sleeper you can get him basically for free in redraft. If you take Watkins or Tyreek Hill in your league drafting travels, it might even make more sense to take Mahomes along too.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
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Growth. That is what we saw in 2017 with Mitch Trubisky.
The Chicago Bears had few weapons for Trubisky in his rookie season. With Kendall Wright as the leading receiver on the team, that should be enough to illustrate the point. Lack of talent and, as a result, a rudderless scheme of hodge podge running and passing.
Yes, Trubisky put together a string of five consecutive losses, but I believe he learned much more from that period of losses than his wins against the weaker teams. So through this throwaway season for the Bears, school was in session.
2018 is here. Exit John Fox. Enter Matt Nagy.
Enter Allen Robinson, a proven playmaker that the Jaguars lost to free agency, comes in as one of the hot topics in fantasy between the poles of projection extremes of boom and bust conversations.
Enter Taylor Gabriel, a speedster of good repute and a potential breakout sleeper in his own right. Gabriel left such a big hole in Atlanta, that the Falcons would settle for nothing less than a big upgrade for their third wide receiving spot through the draft with Calvin Ridley.
So, with head coach Matt Nagy, a quarterback in his own time, the ability and fortunes for Trubisky adds up to better possibilities. That's possibilities, not guarantees. Then again, what is football?
Trubisky is a good sleeper choice. If the same old Fox system was in effect, then I would be less inclined to run with the idea. Think of Trubisky in 2017 as a batter swinging on deck with a heavy donut. With the weapons upgrade and all the other things, the donut comes off.
Sam Darnold, NY Jets
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I thought a deep sleeper would be appropriate in consideration for those in deep or double quarterback leagues. It's only fair.
Darnold has an opportunity in New York to be the starter. There is competition. A clear path depends on Darnold gaining enough confidence. Remember too that Teddy Bridgewater is in the mix. As of writing, Josh McCown will start in 2018.
The Jets drafted Darnold with their 3rd pick, but whether they want to do the "sink or swim" method depends on everything lining up just right.
Unfortunately, the Jets are not rich in talent. Darnold could end up just like Trubisky was last year. He may not start at all. The positives are that the Jets aren't quite as bad in weaponry as the Bears were. Still, the playmakers on the team are of mediocre calibre. Robby Anderson cannot stay out of off-field trouble, but Jermaine Kearse is a fine workhorse and a staple of late round fantasy pickups.
Darnold is a sleeper in waiting only. We need some preseason eye tests to get a picture of his transition to pro game and whether or not the Jets will play it slow with him. Darnold did not participate in the combine, so we only have his USC numbers and performances to look at. The combine helps us more because we can compare him better with his pro level peers in an equal arena.
Darnold is on the lower end of sleepers, but as one of the higher draftees, we have to at least avoid pushing him completely off our long range radar.
Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Draft Kit Page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2018 season.
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