Sleepers & Values: QBs
If there's one theme that has been (almost) universally accepted by the fantasy football community heading into the 2013 season, it's that the quarterback position is extremely deep. The stellar return of Peyton Manning, along with the emergence of four young fantasy QB1s -- Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck -- has filled the top 12 with talent.
As a result, the prevailing recommendation is to wait as long as possible to draft a QB, either by targeting one of the last few passers off the board or by ignoring the position until the later rounds and either play Quarterback By Waiver Wire (i.e. streaming QBs with nice matchups off of waivers) or Quarterback By Committee (i.e. drafting 2-3 QBs late in the draft with the idea that you'll play the best matchup each week).
Those owners in multiple leagues may want to consider drafting one of the top 12 in the middle rounds in order to minimize their weekly waiver wire work. I typically fall into this category due to the sheer number of leagues I'm in (along with my weekly duties here at 4for4). Going QBBC will also work, but owners will still have to decide which quarterback to start, giving the owner yet another decision they have to make every week.
If in-season workload is not a consideration, going QBBWW or QBBC can result in solid QB1 output without having to spend a middle round pick on the position on draft day. This means that owners can draft another mid-round RB or WR who could be the difference between winning and losing as the season wears on. For example, C.J. Spiller was going in the 8th/9th round last season and finished in the top 10 at his position. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Reggie Bush, Stevan Ridley and Shonn Greene all went in the 5th/6th round and finished as fantasy RB2s. At WR, Demaryius Thomas (5th), Vincent Jackson (6th), Reggie Wayne (7th), Lance Moore (8th) and Michael Crabtree (10th) all finished as WR1/WR2 types in PPR formats last season.
Owners who draft a QB in the middle rounds risk missing out on the next C.J. Spiller or Demaryius Thomas, so with that in mind, here are several late-round (i.e. ADP in the 13th later) QBs who can get owners started if they elect to take a QBBC or QBBWW approach.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (W5 bye)
I issued a Sleeper Alert for Freeman not too long ago, so you can read more about him there. Suffice to say, Freeman got off to a great start in 2012, and was the #11 QB heading into Week 15. He was brutal in the final three weeks (tossing nine INTs and only two TDs) and that's what fantasy owners remember heading into 2013. His head coach, Greg Schiano, finally seems to be on board and recently said that Freeman was going to have "a big year." He's a good QBBC or QBBBW player due to a nice starting schedule that includes the Saints and Patriots in the first three games.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals (W9)
In his last 23 starts, Palmer has averaged 288 yards, 1.5 TDs and 1.2 INTs. Throwing in his modest rushing totals, those numbers equate to #14 QB numbers in our rankings this season. (We currently have him at #18.) Palmer's change of scenery should improve his overall outlook. Instead of throwing to Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Rod Streater and Brandon Myers, he gets to throw to Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and Rob Housler. That looks like an upgrade at every spot except TE (but I do like Housler's upside this season). The Arizona O-line is a concern, but given the improvement in the receiving corps and the arrival of Bruce Arians as head coach, Palmer's arrow is pointing up. He also has a favorable opening schedule with games against the Lions and Saints in the first three weeks, though owners should avoid starting him against the 49ers and Seahawks (twice each).
Michael Vick, Eagles (W12)
Vick was finally named the starter after a couple of solid preseason outings where he looked sharp and comfortable in Chip Kelly's offense. Vick has QB1 upside if he can stay healthy, though the Eagles will be run-heavy this season, especially after losing Jeremy Maclin (ACL) for the season. Vick is a good player to use as part of a committte. Be sure to check out The QBBC Matrix to find which other QBs you should target with Vick.
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