Now that we’ve finished our 2021 Player Profiles, it’s time to take a look at the top sleepers at each position. Today, we cover sleeper quarterbacks. This is my favorite series to do every year, since hope springs eternal. In order to stave off people who say “hey that’s not a sleeper!” I have set criteria: the players have to go as “backend backups.”
To determine this, I multiplied the number of players taken in a standard 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE draft, and multiplied that number by 1.5. This means this series will cover players I believe have a chance to finish as weekly starters for you, who are currently ranked outside the top-18 at quarterback, top-36 at running back, top-54 at wide receiver, and top-12 at tight end. This way I am only looking at players going as backups. To find these numbers, I used FantasyPros.com’s half-PPR Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR).
Today, we start with the 2021 sleeper quarterbacks. Again, these are quarterbacks ranked outside the top-18 who I believe will return weekly fantasy football value.
Sleeper Quarterback #1: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
(ECR QB24, 169 overall)
The #11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft will likely have to wait a week or two before he gets a crack at the starting job if you believe Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy. But, once he gets his first crack at it, it’s likely he holds onto it for a long time in Chicago. Fields was my second-favorite quarterback in the 2021 class, and the difference between him and #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence isn’t as close as many think.
Fields is a multidimensional quarterback out of Ohio State. There’s the Ohio State curse to deal with, but there’s also the fact that every single person who deals with Fields comes away impressed with how smart he is. He’s also a gamer, throwing for 6 touchdowns and 6 incompletions while limping around the field against Clemson in the playoffs. He’s also an adept runner, rushing for 72 yards a game in the three contests prior to his hip injury against Clemson.
If you want to get ahold of Justin Fields, know that you’re going to have to draft-and-hold him. He’s a must-stash in all 2QB leagues and is worth a roster spot in the draft in deeper 1QB leagues. But, know that you’re in for the slightly medium-haul, as Andy Dalton will start the year under center for Chi-Town.
Sleeper Quarterback #2: Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
(ECR QB27, 201 overall)
Trey Lance went eight picks before Justin Fields, isn’t quite as good, and has more of an uphill battle to reach the starting quarterback gig for his team. The 49ers, unlike the Bears, have a Super Bowl-caliber roster. They also have a starting quarterback who has been with the team for some or all of four seasons so far, who will get the nod to start off (or at least, that’s what Kyle Shanahan tells us… he’s let us all screw ourselves into the ground with his silence before).
Lance has a lot of Josh Allen in his game and was my third-favorite quarterback in the draft (behind Lawrence and Fields). He’s incredibly raw, having just one full season under his belt in college, and he’s likely rusty; NDSU played one game last season, which was a COVID-19 induced showcase game for those who wanted to declare for the NFL. He’s smart, big, athletic, and has an arm that makes everyone else in this class jealous. Just like Allen, he’s an adept runner. In college, according to PFF.com, Trey Lance ran for a touchdown on 18 of his 154 college carries, and averaged 9 yards per carry. Once he gets ahold of the starting gig, (Good) Colin Kaepernick is his floor.
Sleeper Quarterback #3: Taysom Hill, New Orleans
(ECR QB32, 265 overall)
This is me putting my foot down; I believe Taysom Hill will start the season as the quarterback in New Orleans. I also believe that we’ll see an annoying amount of Jameis Winston. The Michael Thomas injury leads me to lean toward Taysom Hill, thanks to Football Absurdity Twitch Guest Joe Gruen. His theory is that the Saints likely convert to a run-first offense thanks to the dearth of wide receiver talent in New Orleans without Thomas.
That means lots of opportunities for fantasy points for Taysom Hill in 2021. In 2020, he started four games, averaging one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown in each. He didn’t do it in a traditional way, but Taysom Hill averaged 22.3 fantasy points per game in his four starts last year. Tom Brady, QB11 last season, averaged 21.9.
Do you want more 2021 fantasy football discussion? Then check out these links!
[Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Justin_Fields_(cropped).jpg under CC BY SA 2.0]