Fantasy Football Sleepers & Values: Quarterbacks
If there's one theme that has been (almost) universally accepted by the fantasy football community over the past few seasons, it's that the quarterback position is extremely deep. More and more, the NFL has become a passing league and there is no shortage of quality throwers even when we get into the #15-#20 range in the rankings.
As a result, the nearly-unanimous recommendation for leagues with typical scoring systems is to wait as long as possible to draft a QB, either by targeting one of the last few fantasy starters off the board or by ignoring the position until the later rounds and either stream the position (plucking QBs with good matchups on a weekly basis) or play 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, adding another decision they have to make every week.
However, owners who don’t mind the work (or are only in 1-2 leagues) will find that streaming quarterbacks or playing QBBC can result in solid QB1-type output without having to spend an early- or middle-round pick on the position on draft day. This means that owners can draft another mid-round RB/WR/TE who just might be the difference between winning a championship. For example, T.Y. Hilton, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Golden Tate, Fred Jackson, Kelvin Benjamin, Eric Decker, Mike Wallace, Lamar Miller, Greg Olsen, Jeremy Hill, Mike Evans, Mark Ingram and DeAndre Hopkins were all drafted in the 5th to 9th rounds last year and they were all difference-makers at their respective positions.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson (QB3), Philip Rivers (QB12), Ben Roethlisberger (QB5), Ryan Tannehill (QB9), Joe Flacco (QB13) and Eli Manning (QB10) were all drafted in the 9th round or later and they all offered up starting-caliber fantasy numbers. Personally, Mr. Wilson carried me to a couple of championships as he was my primary target at the position.
Owners who draft a QB in the early or middle rounds may miss out on the next Hilton, Hill, Evans or Hopkins. With this in mind, here are several Values (being drafted in the 9th-10th) and Sleepers (11th round or later) who should be useful-to-good in 2015.
Eli Manning, Giants
Manning finished the season as the #10 fantasy quarterback, but was #2 over the final six weeks, when OC Ben McAdoo said that the team finally played the way it wanted to play. In Odell Beckham, Manning finally has a stud receiver. The free agent signing of receiving specialist Shane Vereen and the return of a (hopefully) healthy Victor Cruz give Manning two more weapons to utilize in the passing game. He looks like a great value for those who want to wait on the position until the 9th or 10th round.