Late Round QB Sleepers with Top-10 Upside
Everybody is waiting on quarterbacks. Gary Davenport tells you when to stop waiting and pounce on one of a handful of QB sleepers who could pay off big in the 2019 fantasy football season.
If you’re a savvy fantasy drafter, then you know that where the quarterback position is concerned, patience is a virtue in fantasy football. Sure, drafting a signal-caller like Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs or Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts might be tempting, but thanks in large part to the depth of the options available, the real value under center lies in waiting.
As a matter of fact, there are numerous options available outside QB1 territory in 12-team fantasy football leagues per the average draft position data at Fantrax who have the potential to not only outperform their draft slot but emerge as viable every-week starters. Those quarterbacks run the gamut from grizzled veterans to the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. From pure pocket passers to scramblers. But while their ages and skill sets might be different, each of these quarterbacks share one thing in common.
It’s always fantasy time at Fantrax.com! You can start a Fantasy Football League 364 days a year! Looking for a place to host your league? Check out the Fantrax Fantasy Football Commissioner. Or if you’re looking to win real cash prizes you might want to enter one of their Classic Draft Contests. And when you’re getting ready for your league head on over to the Fantrax Mock Draft Lobby to get your draft on!
2019 QB Sleepers with Big Upside
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (ADP: QB13, 11th Round)
It’s Murray who was the first overall pick in 2019—drafted by the Arizona Cardinals to serve as the conductor of Kliff Kingsbury’s up-tempo offense. Brad Evans of Yahoo Sports wrote that Murray’s familiarity with a similar scheme should pay big dividends early on.
“In Arizona’s revamped offense, Murray is a virtuoso who’s already imparted his deep knowledge of the Air Raid scheme on his teammates,” Evans said. “His comfort level with the playbook combined with a brilliant skill set is a match made in fantasy heaven. He’s stunningly accurate (No. 1 or No. 2 in all completion percentage categories last year in college), poised and jackrabbit-fast as a runner. Kliff Kingsbury wants to throw some 60-65 percent of the time. Given Murray’s talents, excellent arsenal and Arizona’s presumed bottom-third defense, he could deliver a line similar to RG3 in his rookie season. A final tally around 3,800 passing yards, 700 rushing yards, and 25 total touchdowns isn’t a margarita-influenced take. Don’t fear the unknown.”
Murray posted ridiculous numbers en route to winning the Heisman trophy last year at Oklahoma, passing for over 4,300 yards and gaining over 1,000 yards on the ground. Murray’s not going to rack up stats that gaudy in Arizona, but his ability to gain yardage with his legs can only help his fantasy value.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP: QB14, 12th Round)
The 2018 season was a tumultuous one for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who opened the year with Le’Veon Bell holding out and ended it with Antonio Brown grousing and the team missing the postseason. Both Bell and Brown moved on in the offseason, but as Bryan DeArdo wrote for CBS Sports Roethlisberger said he enters his 16th NFL season more excited than he’s been in years.
“I feel like I love football again,” said Roethlisberger. “I told my wife when I was home the other day, she was asking how it was going. I said I feel like I love football again. She got a big smile on her face and said it made her happy to hear that.”
Losing both Bell and Brown is a blow, to be sure. But it’s not like the Steelers are bereft of passing-game talent without them after JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes and topped 1,400 yards in 2018. All Roethlisberger did a year ago was lead the NFL in passing yards with 5,129 and finish as a top-three fantasy option in many scoring systems. He could literally fall half a dozen spots at the position and still be a bargain at his current ADP. Rarely do players we label as QB sleepers have such a proven track record.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (ADP: QB15, 12th Round)
Mention Prescott to a room full of fantasy drafters and you’ll likely be greeted by a mixture of disinterest and boredom. However, Prescott has quietly finished in QB1 territory in all three seasons he’s been in the NFL, leading Pete Rogers of SB Nation to single the contract-year quarterback out as an undervalued fantasy asset.
“Here’s a surprising fact for all you at home reading this: Dak Prescott has never finished below QB11 in fantasy football (at least according to Pro Football Reference’s data),” Rogers wrote. “I kind of understand the Dak hesitation, but that being said, I also don’t. Here’s a guy who’s thrown at least 20 touchdowns and rushed for six in every season he’s played and you can get him in basically the 12th round. Add to that, he’s now had a full offseason to continue working with the best wide receiver he’s ever played with in Amari Cooper (sorry tail-end-of-the-career Dez Bryant). Who would you rather have: Dak or Ben Roethlisberger? That’s an easy choice for me. I never thought of myself as a Dak truther but I guess here I am. When are the meetings? I hope they aren’t on Mondays because those are my busiest days.”
From Week 9 (Cooper’s first game with the Cowboys) on last year, Prescott was eighth in fantasy points among quarterbacks. That’s not a finish that will single-handedly win you a league, but it could send you well on your way to doing so given how late on draft day Prescott’s available.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (ADP: QB16, 13th Round)
After winning six of seven starts and guiding the Ravens to the AFC North title as a rookie, expectations are high for Jackson in 2019. Dylan Tice of FanSided thinks that Jackson can more than meet those expectations given the new scheme in Baltimore and reports of his offseason improvement as a passer.
“New OC Greg Roman has changed this entire offense to benefit Lamar and schemes are essential in the NFL when it comes to success,” Tice said. The fact that the new OC knows that this offense should feature Lamar Jackson as the team’s focus goes to show how much faith he has in the 2nd year QB. All offseason reports have been pro-Lamar in terms of his improvement as a passer. We all know Jackson is a terrific runner and his “cons” was the industry labeling him as an inaccurate passer. If Jackson can make improvements in year two as a pure passer, the sky is the limit for him in this offense.”
Jackson isn’t going to suddenly morph into Patrick Mahomes as a passer—but he doesn’t have to in order to be fantasy relevant. Jackson’s mobility is going to be a big part of Roman’s offense, and the former Louisville star has already shown the ability to be a weekly fantasy starter under center. From Week 11 on last year, Jackson slotted ninth among fantasy quarterbacks. It’s not hard to imagine him at least backing those numbers up in Year 2—if not exceeding them.
Who are the QB sleepers you’re taking a shot on in 2019? For more great analysis check out the 2019 Fantrax Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary Davenport has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications, including the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization’s Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. He knows football. Or so he’s heard.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2018 and we’re not slowing down in 2019. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.