Yesterday we looked at potential quarterback busts for 2023 fantasy football. Today, we’ll look on the bright side and try to identify the top quarterback sleepers for the coming season.
League structure often dictates whether or not you wait on quarterbacks or attack the position early. Regardless of your strategy though, finding quarterback sleepers is very important, so it is time to dig into who some of those options may be.
3 Quarterback Sleepers for 2023
In going through this process of identifying quarterback sleepers, the logic is to target quarterbacks who I have currently ranked higher than the consensus wisdom, as this is ultimately where I expect to find value during my 2023 fantasy football drafts. In the instances where there is not a notable difference on the positive side of my rankings, the thought process is to mine the lower part of my rankings as we will inevitably be searching for waiver wire help during the season.
Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
For the first time in his career, Carr will wear a uniform that does not belong to the Raiders after he signed with the Saints this off-season. Carr is coming off a down season in which he passed for just 3.522 yards and 24 touchdowns, along with 14 interceptions in 15 games. The acquisition of Devontae Adams did not have much of an impact on Carr although the latter did have a successful first season with the Raiders. An issue for Carr and the Raiders though was the lack of other options in the passing game and the hope is that it won’t be the case with New Orleans.
In 2021, Carr set a career-high with 4,804 passing yards after throwing for a career-high 32 touchdowns in 2015, so even though he has not been consistent throughout his career, he has had success in the past. A change of scenery could serve Carr well, and the Saints will let him air the ball out down the field which should certainly benefit his production.
In Alvin Kamara, Carr does have one of the best running backs in the game from a receiving standpoint. Kamara is looking to bounce back from two subpar seasons after four straight seasons of at least 81 receptions. Additionally, Chris Olave kept getting better in his rookie season and ended up catching 72 passes on 119 targets for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns. Entering his second season, Olave should only improve, plus he will hopefully not have to worry about the hamstring injuries that he had to deal with last year. And when you factor in the expected return of Michael Thomas, there should be plenty to work with for Carr.
The expectation here is that Carr is a suitable option for those teams who wait to select their first quarterback as he will not require much of an investment but you can feel comfortable plugging him into your starting lineup most weeks.
Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
What have you done for me lately? This is a results business as we are here to bring home fantasy championships, and Wilson was a downright obstacle to that last year. I know the last thing anyone wants to hear about is someone else’s fantasy team and their woes, but I had a lot of Wilson in my quarterback portfolio in 2022. Ultimately, I was able to overcome it in a lot of situations, but it was not ideal.
Based on that, you would think that I would be staying as far away as possible from Wilson in 2023, but it appears that I am higher than the Fantrax consensus on the Denver quarterback.
Nathanial Hackett seemed lost last year with the Broncos and Wilson did not look much better. I am not sure how much health truly impacted Wilson in 2022, but he did have knee surgery in the off-season and the buzz surrounding him for 2023 appears to be positive.
Russell admitted he’s “leaner and meaner”. He’s dropped weight as I talked about after talking with him at airport a few weeks ago. He’s in a good place mentally and physically #Denver7 #Broncos https://t.co/Ip4iZJPVf4
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) May 25, 2023
I know this is the season for coach speak and positive comments such as the above, but in the case of Wilson, we have a long track record to base things on and the thought process is that he will be motivated to bounce back. Getting a healthy Javonte Williams back will certainly boost the running game and the offensive line will be improved after the addition of Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers along with a return to health from Garret Bolles.
We might have buried the lede with Sean Payton taking over the coaching reigns as Wilson looks to get back to the 4,000 passing-yard club after falling short the last two seasons. While expecting a true bounceback from a quarterback who is turning 34 might be a little crazy, the weapons and supporting cast are there and the price could be right as people remain stuck in 2022.
Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
This could be classified as a deep cut as Ridder is essentially free in drafts but we are still looking at him as more of a streaming option in deep leagues or two-QB leagues. Ridder appeared in four games in his rookie season with Atlanta and threw 708 yards and two touchdown passes while picking up another 64 yards on the ground.
Ridder has already been named the starter for Atlanta with Taylor Heinicke imported to serve as a backup. The fact that the Falcons did not draft another quarterback and the only competition they imported was Heinicke also bears well for the second-year player.
The difficulty of adjusting to the NFL from the college game cannot be overstated. In the second year, things should slow down for Ridder after he was victorious in the last two games of the season. In fact, the Falcons added Bijan Robinson in the first round of the draft and that gives Atlanta a dynamic offensive weapon to help take some of the load off and focus off the passing game. Now, we just need a bounce-back season from Kyle Pitts.
Acquiring Ridder will not cost anything, and he stands out from others in his tier as there is a clear path to a starting role and we are really dealing with upside.
Got a few quarterback sleepers of your own? Drop some knowledge in the comments below! For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
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— Lisa Ann (@thereallisaann) May 6, 2023