It’s week one of the 2020 NFL season, which hopefully means that you drafted a quarterback that you liked to start this week. If you didn’t, don’t worry, we have you covered with our weekly quarterback sleepers piece. A player must have availability in at least 50% of Yahoo! leagues to qualify for this article. For those in deeper leagues, we include one player available in at least 90% of leagues. Again, you shouldn’t need this article, but if you do, go ahead and snag one of these quarterback sleepers.
Quarterback Sleepers Option #1: Jimmy Garoppolo vs Arizona (50% owned)
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers set out to defend their NFC title by hosting the Arizona Cardinals to kick off the season. The same Arizona Cardinals that Jimmy G absolutely torched for 8 touchdowns and 700+ yards passing in two meetings last season. Handsome James might have Brandon Aiyuk back for this week one matchup, and even if he doesn’t, he still has George Kittle and Jordan Reed to throw to.
That would work out exceptionally well for Garoppolo, actually. The Cardinals added super-LB Isaiah Simmons in the draft, and that should help cover one of the tight ends, but Jordan Reed (while he’s healthy) makes things nightmares for opposing defenses. This is a situation the 49ers can exploit because only Isaiah Simmons was brought in to help guard tight ends, and they were literally the worst in the league at that last year, by a wide margin. That should only help Garoppolo, as will the 49ers debut of pass-catching back extraordinaire Jerick McKinnon.
Quarterback Sleepers Option #2: Gardner Minshew versus Indianapolis (27% owned)
I beg of you: if you do this, do not watch Gardner Minshew play on Sunday. He plays playground ball, and it can be extremely difficult to watch, at times. The Colts are going to be a good team with a good defense, so Gardner will be a hard watch if you start him. I promise you that. Interspersed among all that pain will be several deep shots to DJ Chark (Minshew had the #1 QB rating on passes over 20 yards last season), a bunch of scrambles for fantasy points (second-most scramble yards last year), and probably a touch pass or two where Laviska Shenault does the hard part. It won’t be pretty, but it will be effective.
Last year, when he didn’t have to look over his shoulder at Nick Foles, Minshew was a top-ten QB. Foles is a Bear now, which means its all systems go for Minshew in year two (until they replace him with Trevor Lawrence in the draft).
The Colts beefed up their defensive line with the addition of DeForest Buckner, but the Colts allowed the thirteenth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last year, so they have a long way to go before they’re a negative matchup.
Quarterback Sleepers Option #3: Ryan Fitzpatrick at New England (4% owned)
Much like Gardner Minshew, this one won’t be fun. But, like Gardner Minshew, Ryan Fitzpatrick spent about half the season as a plug-and-play weekly streaming candidate. This year, things shouldn’t change too much. In fact, things might end up better for Fitzmagic this year with his targets concentrated to Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, and Preston Williams (no Albert Wilson or Allen Hurns to fool around with). Things could be a lot worse than going after the funslinger: in the last six games of the season, he played on a 4,900 yard, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions pace (he also paced out for 451 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns). This includes a 335-yard, two-touchdown game against these very Patriots in week seventeen.
The Patriots boasted one of the best defenses in the league for much of last year, but I’m throwing all Patriots statistics out the window. Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower both opted out for 2019 because of COVID-19, meaning that things will play differently in New England this season.
Honorable Mentions: Derek Carr at Carolina (17% owned) and Tyrod Taylor at Cincinnati (8% owned)
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