Quarterback Sleepers and Busts for 2021 Fantasy Football
Knowing when to pick a quarterback in your draft can either make or break your team. Most fantasy owners will stream quarterbacks, but you can still snag a 20 fantasy point-per-game quarterback late. The question is which ones? In this piece, I’ll be hooking you up with some quarterback sleepers, along with my busts and my hot-take bust for the season. If you did not get a chance to read my sleepers and busts for running backs, here is the link.
You can take Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen in the first few rounds if you want a secure quarterback. But why waste a pick that early on a quarterback when you can still snag a 20 point-per-game quarterback in the 10th.
Here are three quarterback sleepers and one deep sleeper that will still end up in the top 10 followed by my top busts for the season.
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Out of the three sleepers I have, Joe Burrow is a borderline sleeper. Meaning he is being selected in the round he should go. But what makes him a sleeper is he is still going around the eighth round.
Players in Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and Dak Prescott are all going in the fifth to sixth rounds. Yet, at the end of the year, I have Burrow finishing around the same in fantasy points as these three.
Why? Before the injury, Burrow had 13 touchdowns on only five interceptions. And that was with Joe Mixon out of the lineup and A.J. Green not looking like prime Green. Now Burrow has his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase and a promising young receiver in Tee Higgins along with Joe Mixon back.
So being able to grab Burrow in the eighth or ninth is a steal. You can use those earlier rounds to stack up on running backs and receivers or even snag a top tight end.
In terms of schedule, the Bengals do have one of the tougher schedules based on combined records from last season. But, they will play some of the worst secondaries this year against the Raiders, Vikings, Browns (twice), Jaguars, Jets, and Detroit, who all finished in the bottom 10 in pass yards per game last year.
Burrow is going to have a field day in 2021.
Matthew Stafford has always been underrated in fantasy. Going to the Rams boosts his value simply because he is in Los Angeles.
Even with Kenny Golladay out most of the year last season, Stafford still put up over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Now he has a great receiving core in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee, and even a deep threat with DeSean Jackson. Also, Cam Akers just went down for the season. That boosts the passing game for Stafford, with no run game.
Stafford will also have a top-tier defense for the first time in forever. Stafford is the missing piece to the Rams offense. He is also another quarterback going around the 10th round. Stafford drops in value since he doesn’t have the run game like other quarterbacks, but he has a cannon on him.
Mix that in with this Rams receiving core, and Stafford will have a solid year. Also, remember Stafford might finish right at the top 10 in quarterbacks, but to snag him in the 10th round can send your team to a deep playoff run. It’s all about not wasting a high pick on a quarterback when you can get the same production out of one of these quarterback sleepers in the 10th round.
Ryan Tannehill has done nothing but improve every season, yet he doesn’t get drafted where he should. Tannehill is another of my quarterback sleepers going late in the seventh or eighth, even after the addition of Julio Jones.
Prescott is going way before Tannehill. Why? Because Prescott can run? Last season Tannehill had seven rushing touchdowns and the year before he had four. He also threw for 33 touchdowns last season against just seven interceptions.
This man needs his credit. He doesn’t look athletic, but Tannehill is a solid all-around player who isn’t scared to take a hit at the goal line.
Last season Tannehill finished seventh in fantasy points for quarterbacks. He finished ahead of Jackson, Stafford, Baker Mayfield, and Matt Ryan. Who all went before Tannehill in the draft, except for Stafford.
Tannehill is only going to get better with the addition of Jones, and if you can snag a possible top-five quarterback in Tannehill in the seventh or eighth, then you have a championship team.
In most leagues, Derek Carr wasn’t even drafted or was used as a streamer. But, last year Carr was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. He had a quarterback rating of 101.4 on 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Carr isn’t the most flashy quarterback, but he has a high completion percentage each year and does not throw many interceptions.
Right now, Carr will most likely go undrafted unless you are in a 12- or 14-person league. So, if you don’t want to take a chance on a rookie, Carr will be a solid option to take with the last pick in your draft.
Last season Carr finished 13th in fantasy points for quarterbacks. He also averaged around 17 fantasy points per game. So if you want to be strategic and focus more on getting depth to your roster, you can take Carr well past the 10th round.
Jackson is going around the fifth round and last season averaged around 22 fantasy points per game. That is only an average of five more points than Carr and, you can get Carr with your last pick.
Remember finding true quarterback sleepers is not about how flashy they are, it’s all about the numbers.
A lot of people are high on Jalen Hurts this season, and I see why. He showed off his athleticism last year and, every fantasy player loves a rushing quarterback right now.
However, the Eagles receiving core is extremely young with DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Travis Fulgham. Fulgham came out of nowhere at the beginning of the season, but as soon as Hurts took over, his production went down. Reagor barely played and Smith is a rookie, though he does look promising as he is teamed up with Hurts again.
Hurts is projected to go around the seventh round. Which has him over players in Tannehill and Stafford. who both have better-receiving cores.
The Eagles’ offense is hard to trust this year, and I would not take the risk on Hurts this season when there are way more valuable options later in the draft.
This hurts to say since I loved watching Tua Tagovailoa play in college, but I don’t see him having a breakout season anytime soon.
I know I’m just judging off one season, but there was no reason Tagovailoa should have even played last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick had to come in multiple times to try and save the game for the Dolphins.
Now Tagovailoa is the starter, but I don’t like the weapons he has around him. Jaylen Waddle is interesting now that he is teamed up with Tagovailoa again. They also picked up Will Fuller V, who is currently suspended. And we all know his history with injuries, so we’ll see how much he even plays for the Dolphins.
And then they have DeVante Parker who is decent. He has only broken over 1,000 yards once in his career and has a career-high of nine touchdowns. So if that is your number one receiver, you better hope Tagovailoa starts running with the ball for production.
Tagovailoa is going around the 13th round this season. This can be one of your last picks in the draft. But, I would much rather take a more consistent quarterback in Carr in the 13th or Tannehill in the seventh or eighth than Tagovailoa in the 13th.
Hot Take Bust
Prescott was on pace to finish in the top three of quarterbacks last season before his injury. And that injury alone is why I have him as my hot take bust for 2021.
Prescott is going around the fourth round, just around when Lamar Jackson is being selected. Prescott does have a top offensive line to go along with a top-tier running back and a top receiving core.
On paper, the Cowboys look like a top-five team. But that isn’t the case. We don’t know how healthy Prescott truly is. This is also Prescott’s first major injury he has had in his career. Mentally those injuries stick with you.
We all saw it when Carr broke his leg in 2016 and the next two seasons, he wasn’t back to himself. I don’t see Prescott running the ball as much this season. And I see him throwing a high number of interceptions when the pocket starts to collapse on him.
Not saying this is the end of Prescott’s career, but I don’t like taking the shot on a quarterback coming off the serious ankle injury that Prescott had last season. I would much rather take the risk of drafting Justin Herbert over Prescott this season. As I see Herbert finishing close to the top five and I see Prescott just making the top 10 this season.
Are you buying into these quarterback sleepers? For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
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