June 18, 2017 by coachcarter717
(Courtesy of Ian Halperin/UPI)
Written by Carter Cotrupi
32 teams. 32 quarterbacks. Out of all my fantasy football lists currently published on The Nosebleeds, this top five list of sleeper QBs is the hardest to assess.
For one, every rookie or sophomore quarterback last season showed great potential for their future as a starter, meaning the original cast of reliable fantasy playmakers is expanding.
New faces to the league like Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston both increased their fantasy value in their sophomore seasons and are challenging veterans like Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers for QB1 consideration on your team.
The most common mistake that I see looking around at different fantasy football drafts is drafting a QB for name value alone. A lot of fantasy owners panic after Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are off the board because they want to avoid choosing from the leaders of lower-tier teams.
Understandably, there are less than a handful of fantasy owners in each draft who would want to risk their QB1 pick on a rookie over a seasoned veteran, but sometimes lady luck hands you an awful draft position that keeps you from the cream of the crop.
Fear not, because the young QBs at the kid’s table are ready to eat with the grown-ups. Look past the shorter resumes and focus instead on the potential futures for these five quarterbacks.
(Courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
Pros: Mike Glennon knows that the Chicago Bears just drafted his future replacement in Mitchell Trubisky. Unlike the situation that erupted between Sam Bradford and the Eagles last season, Glennon has his mind set on taking control of the offense and making it his in 2017. His focus this offseason has been developing chemistry with his new team after spending the last two years shadowing Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay.
Cons: This is a tough pick to predict. Who knows if John Fox is going to be pressured by upper management to shove Mitch Trubisky into the spotlight after the team traded an arm and a leg to snag him at 2nd-overall. Trubisky is not the “focus” of the offseason and has not been given many reps at quarterback with the first team, but who knows what plans the coaching staff has for him and the veteran Glennon as the season draws closer.
Two Cents: If you believe in the “all-in” mentality, then Mike Glennon is your quarterback for 2017. He knows that nothing is guaranteed after this upcoming season and his performance could make-or-break his chances of being a starter for Chicago or another organization. Reports coming out of OTAs have been consistent with the theme of the Glennon being recognized as the primary leader of the offense.
- Brian Hoyer
(Courtesy of Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)
Pros: Brian Hoyer and Kyle Shanahan are reunited in San Francisco after their previous experience together in 2014, where Hoyer was the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. Hoyer is back with a coach who understands when to step back and let the players play.
One of the major reasons that Matt Ryan enjoyed a tremendous 2016 season was because Coach Shanahan handed the reigns over to the veteran playmaker and allowed Ryan to shape the offense in his vision. Hoyer is nowhere near the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks heading into this season, but he has the experience of a journeyman that is crucial when adapting to new offensive schemes.
Cons: The 49ers have been like poison to fantasy owners the past few seasons. The team is also in one of the most defense-heavy divisions in the NFL that includes the Seattle Seahawk’s Legion of Boom, the LA Rams and Bruce Arian’s Arizona Cardinals. The rest of the season is stamped with other top-ranked defenses like the New York Giants and Houston Texans.
The biggest obstacle to Hoyer and Coach Shanahan will be how fast they can rebuild an offensive line that can withstand the pressure that these defenses will apply.
Two Cents: In a recent interview, Hoyer spoke about having a leg up on the other QBs in the 49ers roster because of his previous experience in Cleveland under Shanahan. The complexity of Shanahan’s offense might hinder some of the new weapons in the offense, but Hoyer has shown confidence in knowing what to expect from his former offensive coordinator.
At 31, he is in his 9th season and playing for his 7th NFL team. Hoyer’s best season as a starter came from Shanahan’s coaching in Cleveland in 2014. He threw for 3,326 yards snd 12 TDs in the 13 games he started. With the right coach at his side and the opportunity to be QB1, 2017 could Brian Hoyer’s year.
- DeShone Kizer
(Courtesy of Bill Bender/Sporting News)
Pros: I’m calling it right now: the era of Cody Kessler at QB1 will not be a lengthy one. Many things have changed in the Cleveland Browns front office, but one consistent factor that always seems to come into play is the advantage of rookies over veterans on the roster.
Drafted in the second round, DeShone Kizer looks to be the future of the Browns and if he can put together a decent training camp performance in the offseason, then he will benefit from Kessler’s participation in last year’s humiliating quarterback circus.
Cons: Barring a miraculous showing from Kessler or Osweiler, there is no question that Kizer will get the starting nod from head coach Hue Jackson sometime during this season. The only downside to that guarantee is the absence of a timeframe.
How many chances will the Browns give their veteran QBs before turning to the more athletically gifted youngster? Coming out of OTAs, reports have shown that Kizer is a “raw” talent which usually translates to a good overall player, but not the type of leader that Coach Jackson wants for his offense.
Two Cents: Recent news coming out of Cleveland’s OTAs is that Kizer has already shown his physical superiority over the rest of the group. Cody Kessler is the most likely candidate to start the season for the Browns given his previous experience spearheading the offense.
Brock Osweiler has been a “pleasant surprise” to Coach Jackson and Kevin Hogan has been splitting reps with Kizer on the third-team offense. However, no one has impressed upper management quite like Kizer and Cleveland’s history shows that they put a lot of faith in starting their youngest players. Draft him late to avoid waiver-wire strategists from plucking him during the season.
- Ryan Tannehill
(Courtesy of Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports)
Pros: The Miami Dolphins became the first AFC East team other than the New England Patriots to earn a playoff bid since Rex Ryan led the New York Jets to the AFC Championship in 2010. Such tremendous progress for the organization came at the cost of losing the guy who got them there, Ryan Tannehill.
As easy as it is to make fun of him, Tannehill has been steadily improving his play calling and downfield vision. Under the tutelage of the young head coach Adam Gase, the Miami offense has seen a resurgence that led them to a 10-6 season and a wildcard spot.
Cons: A partially torn ACL is not something to take lightly. According to Tannehill, the veteran entering his sixth NFL season did not have surgery in the offseason, but opted instead for stem cell treatment which helps, but is not a permanent solution. He will have to wear a knee brace heading into the season. I hope Coach Gase is confident with his O-line because any number of big hits against his starting QB could spell the end of his season once again.
Two Cents: It wouldn’t be a sleeper list without including someone with a “will-they/won’t they” injury risk. There is nothing more worrisome for an NFL player than getting back on the field having one more strike towards a career-ending injury.
With talented receivers in Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills complemented by Jay Ajayi leading the backfield, Tannehill has all the weapons he needs to build on the progress his team made last season. If his blockers can stay healthy, then RT should make an impact in the AFC East large enough for another playoff run.
- Carson Wentz
(Courtesy of Yong Kim/Philly.com)
Pros: There are not many rookie quarterbacks that have the readiness and mental fortitude to start all 16 games of the NFL regular season. Last season, we saw two rookie quarterbacks supersede the veterans above them and the world was introduced to Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz.
Draft analysts drooled over the prospect of Carson Wentz. At 6’5” and 237lbs, this rookie was built to be a starting quarterback. After Sam Bradford was shipped off to the desperate Minnesota Vikings right before the start of the regular season, the rookie Wentz was thrust into the role with high expectations. Not only did he perform well with that kind of pressure, he earned the respect of his veteran teammates both on and off the field.
Cons: The sophomore quarterback is not exempt from facing a difficult schedule this season. Wentz has already proven that he can hang with the big dogs around the league, but he will be tested again against stout defenses such as the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
As great as his rookie season was, there were times when his inexperienced showed and his current ceiling is limited to the weapons he has around him. Second only to Dak Prescott in rookie QB hype last year, Wentz already has the future of the Eagles resting on his shoulders. Will he fly or plummet in his second year?
Two Cents: The coaching staff has already stated how their moves in free agency were done with the concept of building around the young quarterback. It is abundantly clear that Doug Pederson has immense faith in his young QB and the rest of the roster is already seeing Wentz as a leader of the offense.
In 2016, the Eagles had the 8th-ranked offensive line unit despite star RT Lane Johnson’s 10-game suspension and a mixed bag of injuries across the board. Now that the foundation has settled, Wentz will be able to utilize the new additions to his offensive arsenal, including Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount. The only fault in Wentz’ fantasy production was his lack of consistency. The word of the day is ‘optimism’. With a year of leading the offense under his belt, expect more frequent QB1-level performances.