2015 Fantasy Football: Quarterback Sleepers


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With the 2015 NFL season less than 3 months away, it’s time to start doing prep work for your fantasy football draft. Over the next few weeks I will be breaking down every position with a primer, rankings, sleepers, busts, and rookies.

ALSO FEATURED ON BGO: Ranking the Top 20 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks

I’ll discuss some QB draft strategies in more detail in the primer, but finding a cheap QB sleeper in the mid-to-late rounds allows you to stock up on RBs and WRs before addressing the position. With such little variation outside of the top few QBs, it makes sense to wait but you still need to pick the right player. I’ve outlined a few sleepers below who are going far below where they should based on rankings and average auction cost.

*I’ll be using the Yahoo standard auction league data for any reference to rankings, projections, etc. If you don’t like auctions, then you are missing out on a far superior format.

QB Sleepers:

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (Position rank=13, Average cost=$2.6) – In his 3rd NFL season Ryan Tannehill finished 8th among QBs and 13th overall in fantasy points. The Dolphins added burner Kenny Stills, reliable vet Greg Jennings, TE Jordan Cameron, and 1st round rookie DeVante Parker to go with last year’s break out rookie Jarvis Landry.  The Dolphins suddenly have one of the most talented receiver groups in the league and in the 2nd year of OC Greg Lazor’s Eagles-esque offense, there should be plenty of pass plays and a top ten stat line for Tannehill.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Bradford, Eagles (15, $1.7) – Last year was an ugly one for Eagles QBs but in 2013 unknown QB Nick Foles threw for 27 TDs & just 2 INTs, finishing 13th among fantasy QBs despite missing 3 games. Bradford has infinitely more talent than Foles and if he can stay healthy (questionable) could put up a monster season in Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense. At his current price of a dollar or two, Bradford is a no risk QB2, who could turn into your starter or at least a valuable trade chip during the season. If he gets hurt again, you only wasted a couple dollars.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings (24, $1.4) – I’ve been high on Bridgewater since before the 2014 draft and was impressed with how he finished the season. Depsite playing with a beat up O-line and without a running game, Bridgewater was a top ten fantasy QB over the last three weeks of the season. He showed steady progression throughout his rookie year and with the additions of All-World RB Adrian Peterson, WR Mike Wallace, a healthy O-line, and a healthy Kyle Rudolph… Bridgewater has more than enough weapons to be a top-10 fantasy QB over the course of a full season.

My QB rankings will come out in the next week and Bridgewater is going to be in the top 12-15. You may think that’s crazy, but Bridgewater finished last year with the 3rd best competition percentage (64.4%) and 7th best passer rating (85.2) ever for a rookie. His situation is much more promising this season and this is the last year fantasy owners will be able to get Bridgewater on the cheap.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler, Bears (26, $1.4) – As a Bears fan I’m obligated to include Cutler, but I actually do think this will be a bounce back fantasy year for the much maligned QB. Cutler led all NFL QBs in turnovers last season, but still finished as the 14th ranked fantasy QB on the back of 3,812 yards and 28 TD passes. Injuries to the receiving & O-line cores, a dysfunctional offensive scheme, and an overconfidence in his right arm all contributed to possibly the worst season of Cutler’s career.

With a new coaching staff in Chicago, an offense that should rely more on short passes than the deep throws that consistently get Cutler in trouble, and a focus on the running game should all contribute to significantly cutting down Cutler’s turnovers. He will most likely have less pass attempts as well, but should still be a threat in the red zone where the Bears have four 6’3+ options. I’m not going into any leagues with Cutler as my starting QB, but he is one of my primary targets for a high-upside backup.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Palmer, Cardinals (27, $1.2) – In the six games that Palmer started last season he had an 11/3 TD/INT ratio and averaged 271 passing yards per game. Cardinals HC Bruce Arians loves to air it out, Palmer has the arm to do it, and the Cards have dangerous deep threats like Michael Floyd and John Brown. Reports from Cards OTAs have Palmer looking sharp and 2nd year player John Brown all but un-coverable.  The Cards still lack a respectable running game which could lead to 30+ passes per game from Palmer and plenty of deep balls. With a suspect O-line, it’s a legitimate risk that Palmer gets hurt again, but for $1 he is a high upside back-up QB.

Next: Ranking the Top 50 Fantasy Wide Receivers

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