Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Football Quarterback Sleepers!
Fantasy titles are won and lost in the draft. The goal in any draft is to get value out of your picks. Instead of going for the big-name players at any given position, it's often more shrewd— and productive— for fantasy owners to set their sights on sleepers. Sleepers are always a gamble but can turn the tide for a season.
If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck while being able to flex your superior intellect over league-mates through ghoulish insults, the first step is to set your sights on a cast of high-value sleeper picks.
Justin Herbert was the under-the-radar stud that helped many reach championships in 2020.
In the 2021 NFL Fantasy Quarterback Sleepers, we’re trying to find diamonds in the rough to propel your squad to fantasy immortality.
2021 Fantasy Football Quarterback Sleepers
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Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
Last season was possibly Carson Wentz’s worst in a football uniform. The former second-overall pick’s relationship with Doug Pederson soured. He went from an MVP candidate in 2017 (prior to his injury) to public enemy number one in Philadelphia. Ultimately, his inability to protect the football and his propensity to turn the ball over led to Wentz riding the pine.
After Wentz was benched, rookie Jalen Hurts jumped in with mixed results. Hurts’ dynamic play won the hearts of Philly faithful, not to mention the coaching staff.
Regardless of Hurts’ ability to electrify the crowd with athletic scrambles, Wentz was always stuck between a rock and a hard place. He lacked weapons at receiver, routinely throwing passes to practice squad members.
2017 was by far his best year, going 11-2 before being sidelined due to a season-ending knee injury. That year, Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles. Now the Colts’ head coach, there’s no better person to facilitate a bounce-back season for Wentz.
Upping the Arsenal
Wentz’s offensive weaponry in Philadelphia was about as intimidating as Canada’s navy. Now that he’s in Indianapolis, his receiving corps is significantly better.
T.Y. Hilton might not be the same receiver that registered 1,448 yards to lead the league in 2016. Nonetheless, Hilton still offers a Wentz a versatile option that can break coverages through crisp route running.
After Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr. seems to a prototypical big-bodied receiver Wentz can rely on, especially near the end zone. At six-foot-four and 224 pounds, he’s a Big Mac away from being a tight end. Wentz loves his tight ends, and Zach Ertz’s production with Wentz at the helm is a testament to this fact. As a rookie, Pittman Jr. caught 40 passes for 503 yards and a touchdown. Now that he’s got a year under his belt, fantasy owners can expect Pittman Jr.’s production to sharply increase.
Last year, Wentz was sacked 50 times in 12 games started. Now he’s got one of the league’s best offensive lines, led by Pro-Bowl guard, Quenton Nelson. In 2020 the Colts only allowed 21 sacks, which ranked second-best in the league.
Quenton Nelson career stats:
? 2,073 pass-blocking snaps
? 3 sacks allowed ?pic.twitter.com/vjR9rshhkl
— PFF (@PFF) June 18, 2021
Wentz also has a true bell-cow back in Jonathan Taylor at his disposal. Although he isn’t known for his pass-catching ability, Taylor is dangerous every time he has the ball in his hands. He’ll keep defenses honest while giving Wentz a boost in play-action situations.
Cam Newton, New England Patriots
It seems strange to be listing Cam Newton as a sleeper, but with the influx of young, versatile quarterbacks in the NFL, the 2015 MVP has largely flown under the radar.
While Tom Brady was at the helm in New England, Bill Belichick seemed unwilling to surround his quarterback with offensive weapons. A year later, with Tom Brady’s jewelry collection even larger, it seems Belichick’s ego has come back down to Earth.
2020 was Bourne’s best season to date, posting 667 yards on 49 catches in a crowded San Francisco 49ers receiving corps. Agholor also had his best season to date. Last season, as a Raider, Agholor established himself as a bonafide deep threat, averaging 18.7 yards per reception. He also had a career-best in receiving yards, registering 896 yards on 48 catches.
While neither Bourne nor Agholor are game-breakers, they’re a clear upgrade to their previous receiving group and should help Newton spread the field with capable players.
More important than New England’s additions to their receivers are the off-season moves to the tight end group. By signing both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, the Patriots are now in possession of the top TE duo in the NFL.
Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are tight ends with Pro-Bowl potential. They’re effective as both pass catchers and blockers.
Oh my... wow. What a catch by Jonnu Smith. #Titans take the early lead after Lamar’s INT.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 12, 2020
Hunter Henry has improved every season since entering the league, with his receptions increasing each year while seeing his yardage trend upwards. Last season, he made 60 catches for 613 yards. Meanwhile, Jonnu Smith broke out as a touchdown machine last season, hitting pay dirt nine times, ranking fourth in the NFL of all tight ends.
The combination of these young, talented tight ends will surely create mismatches and Newton should reap the benefits.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Once again, Danny Dots is at the helm in the Big Apple, but does he have what it takes to be the King of New York?
Probably not. But this doesn’t mean he can’t be productive for fantasy owners.
Despite being on a lackluster Giants squad, Jones was still able to put up over 3,000 passing yards. As a sophomore, his rushing prowess flew under the radar, running for 423 yards and a touchdown on 65 attempts.
Jones threw 10 interceptions and fumbled 11 times, but part of the problem was being under constant pressure from the opposing team’s pass rushers. The Giants used their first pick in the 2020 draft in an attempt to solve this problem.
Unfortunately, the Giants brass can’t exactly feel great about picking left tackle Andrew Thomas. He was the only offensive lineman credited for giving up 10 sacks last season and Jones was under pressure more than he had a clean pocket.
On the bright side, Thomas can only improve from last year’s follies.
If the Giants can keep the grass stains off of Jones’ jersey, there’s a talented receiving corps waiting in the wings. Jones has options at his disposal with Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard returning to the Big Apple. More importantly, Kenny Golladay and speedster John Ross were both acquired this past offseason, while Kendarius Toney was drafted in the first round. Not to mention Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley at the TE and RB positions respectively.
Golladay played in just five contests in 2020. Prior to the injury-riddled season, the former Detroit Lion posted back to back 1,000 seasons. In 2019, Golladay racked up 1,190 yards while scoring 11 touchdowns. He will easily become Jones’ best pure receiver that he’s ever played with.
KENNY GOLLADAY. #OnePride
— NFL (@NFL) October 25, 2020
When you add him into the mix with Slayton and Sterling —two dependable wideouts— Jones should inherit one of the best receiving corps in all of football.
2020 was tough for Barkley and the owners of his stock. He only totaled 72 yards before being sidelined the entire season due to injury. Although last year was a write-off for Barkley, 2021 looks to be much more promising.
Going into his fourth NFL season, the generational talent can do it all. In his rookie season he put up over 2,000 yards, 721 of those yards were through the air. Over the past two seasons, Barkley has reeled in 143 catches and will continue to be a go-to option for Jones, as any time he touches the ball, he has the ability to take it to the house.
Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!