Fantasy football drafts are in full swing, and you need a plan when it comes to drafting a QB. Due to draft position, you’ll probably miss out on top signal-callers like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Kyler Murray. There’s a chance those guys are going too early in your drafts anyway. At least that’s the case in my home fantasy league, which is flooded with Kansas City Chiefs fans. Mahomes in the first round?!? Some guys would draft his wife-to-be in the second round if they could. His hair in the third. You get it.
In some leagues, it’s possible to wait until rounds five to eight to pick a quality QB. This is when you’ll find some of your best sleeper picks among underrated signal-callers for fantasy football drafts. Pinpointing these guys is an essential exercise in two-QB or superflex leagues along with best-ball formats. Waiting on a QB can also be a viable strategy in standard 12-team leagues. We’ll provide details on what that looks like in the following write-ups.
Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
Hurts is the definition of a post-hype sleeper. Looking back to July and early August, people were falling over themselves to draft the Philly QB. However, rookies like Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Trevor Lawrence have shifted the limelight of fantasy QBs ranked after Tom Brady.
Hurts has fallen to the back burner, but he hasn’t done anything wrong. The rushing upside remains, and that’s what made fantasy drafters so excited earlier this summer. Please don’t forget: he has the playing style of Lamar Jackson, which could easily translate to top-five QB production if things like his team not stinking fall his way.
I have Hurts ranked as QB8 this season, but he’s usually drafted around the QB12 mark. That hints towards significant value in the later rounds. If you missed out on other rushing QBs like Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson, then waiting for Hurts makes for a great backup plan. You could even make this your primary strategy heading into draft day. Hurts represents that level of value.
Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
Andy Dalton will start over Justin Fields to begin the season. Cue the sad trombone sound bite and half a million dudes at Chicago area sports bars lamenting Da’ Bears decision making. We can pretend Chicago fans were excited when they picked up Andy Dalton from the redheaded stepchild scrap heap. But we know for a fact they were elated when Justin Fields came to town via The Draft.
Starting Dalton is absolutely criminal, especially when comparing the two Chicago QBs this preseason. Is it possible that Fields needs more time to develop? Yes. Does he give the Bears a better chance to win on any given week? Also, yes.
Fields has noticed a dip in the drafting boards due to this news. I am buying that dip in two-QB leagues or best ball drafts. Fields will be a legitimate fantasy QB1 once he’s given the starting job. I have a feeling that will happen sooner than later, as there’s already pressure from the Chicago faithful. That will continue to build unless Dalton all of a sudden turns into Peyton Manning. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to happen.
Fields is the future of the Chicago Bears, and he could be the future of your fantasy football squad down the road as well.
Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints
Jameis Winston is a walking, talking blooper reel. However, don’t hold that against him while assessing his fantasy potential.
He’s the starting QB in New Orleans, earning that job by way of a fantastic preseason. His draft stock is rightfully trending up after that news broke, but Winston is still getting drafted too late.
Winston was incredibly shaky in his tenure with Tampa Bay, and that’s what most people remember. However, he has a chance to clean that up under the tutelage of Sean Payton. Winston also has one of the best schedules for a QB, according to Pro Football Focus. The cream inevitably rises to the top, especially after all potential criminal charges are in that cream’s rearview mirror. New chance to lead for Winston on a perennial contender where he doesn’t need to be a hero.
Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders
I’m not sure why Derek Carr is ranked as low as QB26 on most draft boards. Did we forget that he was actually pretty good (from a fantasy standpoint) last season? In 2020, Carr threw for over 4,000 yards while finishing as QB13.
It’s not completely out of the question to have him replicate those numbers in 2021. The Raiders are going to be bad defensively, leading to a negative game script with plenty of passing situations in the second half. This propelled Carr to respectable fantasy output last year, and it could happen this time around.
He has question marks at wide receiver, and that’s pretty scary. However, his most reliable target, TE Darren Waller, is back on the team. Veteran WR John Brown joined the receiving corps while Las Vegas is hoping for a breakout from Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III.
Put it all together, and Carr makes for a nice QB2 in leagues with expanded rosters and best ball drafts. I especially love pairing the Raiders’ QB with Waller in best-ball leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Washington Football Team
All of the previously listed QBs have upside relative to their current draft position. That doesn’t really apply to Fitzpatrick. You get what you see with the veteran QB.
Having said that, I believe Fitzpatrick is a solid filler in two-QB leagues or best-ball formats. Pairing him with Terry McLaurin or Logan Thomas seems like a viable strategy, especially considering the cheap acquisition cost of the latter stack.
Fitzpatrick isn’t going to win you fantasy matchups on his own, but he should put forth a steady stream of production on his new team. Throwing to those aforementioned weapons doesn’t hurt, and we can put Curtis Samuel in the mix as well.
Perhaps you could draft Fitzpatrick along with Fields on the same team. “Fitzy” would be your guy in the first few weeks while Fields will take over your QB1 spot once he’s given the starting job. I don’t mind this strategy at all.
Trey Lance – San Francisco
Lance is essentially in the same position as Fields. Once he takes over as the starting QB, which seems inevitable either by promotion or Jimmy G’s annual injury, he has league-winning upside. That’s why you are willing to take a chance on him as a QB10.
Tom Brady – Tampa Bay
Putting Brady in a sleeper article seems too ironic. He finished in the top five for fantasy points among QBs five times in 2020. Brady has arguably better options surrounding him in 2021. Look past the age and towards productivity. The GOAT always scores.