If there is one intangible that repeats every season in fantasy football it is value. Successful fantasy players are usually those who generally got the best value out of their draft picks. That is what makes sleepers so key, especially at what has become the most important position in the game.
Just a few years ago fantasy football was about the running back. The strategy was to take an RB with your first, second, and maybe even your third pick. Thanks to committees and a shift in the passing game, those honors have gone to the quarterback. In just a few years the quarterback has become the most important position in my opinion in fantasy football.
Having a great QB in your lineup can be the difference in the 10 or 15 points that win or lose your games. It doesn’t take a genius to sit here and recommend Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees but you aren’t going to get them unless you draft in the top 8. That is why the late sleeper pick at QB could be the most important position you pick in your draft.
I have done a couple of real and mock drafts and one thing I have noticed is that there are a lot of fantastic options at QB available late in the draft. These sleepers are high risk players that most fantasy players prefer to avoid. To me, they are investments. I am investing in either insurance in case my early QB pick gets hurt or a stud to trade later on to fill a weak spot. Regardless of the reasoning here are five sleeper QBs that you can get very late in your draft that may could wind up in your starting lineup before the end of the season.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars – I never thought I’d write a blog recommending Blaine Gabbert but I am starting to become convinced. Gabbert has looked damned efficient in his first two preseason games and while it is only preseason, he diced up the New Orleans Saints starters. Gabbert has a new offensive-minded head coach this season that did pretty well with the Atlanta Falcons offense over the last few seasons. With Maurice Jones-Drew holding out and a new system, it would appear that the Jags are morphing into a throwing team. They didn’t draft Justin Blackmon and sign Laurent Robinson to give a running back the ball 400 times. Keep in mind that the Jags have an underrated defense who will give the offense good field positioning over the season. I wouldn’t build my team around him but I’d certainly take a flyer on him in the later rounds. You don’t want to be late on that train!
Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders – I am all in on the former fantasy football stud. Palmer lit it up down the stretch last season and is entering the season with some of the most dynamic weapons in the NFL. This former early round pick has an ADP of 134.3 which means you can take your starters and several backups before you even need to worry about targeting him. For a guy that has the potential to wind up as a top-five (Yes I said top-five) fantasy QB this season, that is pretty damned good!
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens – Two words will sum up my expectations for Flacco, “contract year!” Flacco is playing in the final year of his deal and if there is one thing a fantasy player loves, it is a quarterback in a contract year. The buzz coming out of Baltimore is that the Ravens will step up the passing game and may even incorporate a two-tight end system similar to the New England Patriots. For as much crap as Flacco gets, he really wasn’t that bad last season. Unfortunately as great as he could be on some weeks, he’d throw you enough stinkers to level the playing field. I think he is more consistent this season with a full offseason to work with Torrey Smith. Smith is another guy I love a lot this season. He reminded me of Mike Wallace in his rookie season and we all know how well the Rothelisberger-Wallace combination improved over time. I expect Flacco to finish as a top-10 QB which makes him a bargain at his current ADP.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings – I am surprised at the little amount of hype that Ponder is getting coming into this fantasy season. Fantasy experts seem to be more focused on Adrian Peterson than noticing the sleeper behind center. He was certainly up and down at the end of the last season, but he also had some brilliant games in there. I think with Peterson getting older and coming back off of an injury, you will see more of an emphasis placed on the passing game in Minnesota. I will say this. This passing game revolves around Percy Harvin. If Harvin can stay on the field, Ponder has the potential to do big things. Unfortunately Harvin hasn’t been able to do that for a full season which makes Ponder more high risk high reward than a bullish sleeper like the others on this list.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts – I believe in Luck! There is funny thing that happened this offseason. All of the pressure on the new rookie QB went to the third pick in the draft, leaving the first pick under the radar. Luck is also coming onto a team that has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, a running back with the potential to break out, and his former tight end in college. I expect the Colts defense to play their consistent lousy defense this season which plays well for the Colts QB. This is a team that will be throwing a lot to come from behind and while Luck will make his mistakes, I would be shocked to see anything but double digits every week from him. I am big on Luck and the lack of hype has kept his ADP at a phenomenal value. I am all in on Andrew Luck this season to the point where I may even consider taking RBs and WRs through the early rounds and taking him as my first QB much later in one of my drafts.
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