Quarterback Sleepers, Values and Targets
If there's one theme that has been universally accepted by the fantasy football community over the past several 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 double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts. To put things into perspective, our No. 8 quarterback, Matt Ryan, is only projected to score 20 more points than our No. 18 quarterback, Kirk Cousins.
Over the past seven seasons, 34 of the 84 (or 40%) quarterbacks finishing the season in the top 12 were drafted outside the top 12 at their position. Moreover, 15 of the 42 (36%) quarterbacks who finished in the top six were drafted outside the top 12. In other words, there are always passers available deep into the draft who will go on to provide strong QB1-type numbers.
As a result, the nearly-unanimous recommendation for leagues with typical scoring systems is to wait as long as possible to draft a quarterback, either by targeting one of the last few fantasy starter-types off the board or by ignoring quarterback until the later rounds and either stream the position (plucking passers off the waiver wire with good matchups on a weekly basis) or play Quarterback By Committee (QBBC), the practice of drafting two or three QBs late in the draft with the idea you'll play the best matchup each week.
Which path you choose has more to do with the depth of the position on your league’s waiver wire than anything else. If you play in a league where only 12-16 quarterbacks are rostered at any given time, then streaming is a good option. If the waiver wire in your league is pretty bare on a weekly basis—due to league tendencies and/or roster size—a quarterback committee is a good idea.
Over the past few seasons, I’ve noticed that quarterbacks continue to be drafted later and later, and this can create its own market inefficiency if the whole league is playing “quarterback chicken,” as I like to call it. (This is especially true in industry drafts where no analyst wants to be the first one to draft a quarterback, lest they be viewed as a rube.)
I’ve had the opportunity to draft Lamar Jackson and/or Patrick Mahomes in the third and even the fourth round, and I certainly think there’s a case to be made of going “QB-early” in that scenario. I’ll discuss that more in my Draft Day Strategery article that will be out in a few weeks.
Last year’s iteration of this article included Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston and Jared Goff as targets, and they all finished QB13 or higher in 2019. Unfortunately, I only had Lamar Jackson listed as a value, but I did end up with him in a couple of leagues, including Scott Fish Bowl, where I...ahem...finished third out of 1,200 entries.
Anyway, below are my Sleepers, Values and Targets for 2020.
There’s a tier of quarterbacks going in the early-middle rounds (fifth-eighth) that do offer some weekly upside on the competition without being too costly. This group consists of Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Josh Allen. I’ll discuss my two favorite values from this tier below, though I’d be happy with any of these players as my QB1.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Prescott is coming off of a No. 2 finish in 2019 and his situation looks even better with the addition of CeeDee Lamb (as a replacement for Randall Cobb) and the loss of Jason Witten shouldn’t hurt much with the probable emergence of Blake Jarwin. Even though there was a change at head coach, Prescott’s offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, returns for another season, and Mike McCarthy tended to be a little pass-happy during his time in Green Bay. Jackson and Mahomes are clearly ahead of Prescott, but he’s the next best thing, fantasy-wise.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers
Continue reading for 4 more values, 4 sleepers and 4 QB's John is targeting in every draft!
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