In the first of seven positional lists of fantasy football sleepers, we bring you five quarterbacks who could be selected as bargains in your draft that could pay good dividends for you in 2011. A lot of these names are going to be ones you know (especially at QB).
So remember, these guys are sleepers to us because they will come at a good draft value and very likely outplay their 2011 draft value throughout the season.
Also, as we look at their Mock Draft Central Average Draft Position (ADP) and make general statements about their statistical projections, we assume full health for all players (even players with a history of high injury risk).
Of course, if you want to see our full rankings Top 30 rankings for the quarterback position, click it.
AFTER the jump, you’re going to find our top 5 fantasy football QB sleepers for 2011…
- Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering his rankings coming into draft season, Freeman is very likely to be the lead signal caller of many a fantasy team in 2011. Now that this will be his second full season with Kellen Winslow, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and LeGarrette Blount, the expectation is for Freeman to take a giant leap forward in production. According to Mock Draft Central ADP data, you can get Freeman at right around pick 100 in your draft. That puts him at a similar draft value as Ryan… while Romo, Roethlisberger, and Schaub are going as much as 25 picks ahead of him. Romo aside, it’s not much of stretch to believe Freeman could match or outproduce all of those QBs. If you can get Freeman that deep in your draft, you have to love the value.
- Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams. Bradford is a sexy QB sleeper selection for 2011 because, similar to Freeman, he is expected to take a giant leap forward in his development this season. Last season, he showed a strong comfort level with Danny Amendola (especially in the end zone) and this season he adds Mike Sims-Walker to his arsenal along with a deeply talented backfield headlined by Stephen Jackson. Bradford is the 15th QB off the board according to MD Central with an ADP of 122. We have already advised Peyton Manning drafters to take Bradford as insurance. If you end up with another elite QB who is injury-prone (Vick, Romo, or Schaub), you might want to do the same.
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions. With Stafford, it’s all about the glass shoulder. If it doesn’t break, there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish as one of the biggest draft day values at the end of the 2011 campaign. If it shatters – as it did twice last season – this dude will let you down. Preseason performance doesn’t really count, but you have to like his performance so far, albeit against Cincinnati and Cleveland. 4000 yards may be a stretch, but the 20+ TD projection made by CBS Sportsline seems easily doable if he can stay on the field. While he is averaging around the same draft value as Freeman, his projection for 16-game production puts him in the top six among fantasy QBs. The value of the year is there if he stays on the field.
- Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs. He’s got arguably the no. 1 fantasy back lining up behind him, two 1000-yard receivers, a versatile playmaker on the wings, a 6’4″ rookie wideout with a 40″ vert, and a tight end with good hands (especially in the end zone). And yet, his ADP is 132. If Matt Cassel was playing for a team in a big market, he’d be “Mark Sanchez-overhyped.” You’re going to be able to get Cassel as a no. 2 QB in your draft, no doubt. But does anyone else think Matt Ryan-esque numbers are outside of Cassel’s reach? I don’t. The loss of Charlie Weis as his coordinator will hurt, but the guy’s still got weapons and Todd Haley will figure out how to use them. If you’re willing to take Matt Ryan as your QB, you should at least be willing to restructure your draft strategy in order to get Matt Cassel.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills. The biggest reason Fitzpatrick makes this list is because he can probably be selected for your team as Mr. Irrelevant. His ADP is 158, and even though the Bills aren’t exactly eyeing the Super Bowl this season, Fitzpatrick has playmakers around him on the field. If Steve Johnson continues to develop into a next-gen Ochocinco and speedsters like Roscoe Parrish and C.J. Spiller can take advantage of the mismatches they create on the field, Fitzpatrick could lead some fantasy owners into a decision making turn each week. While even we have Fitzpatrick ranked no. 23 overall, it’s not unthinkable that he finishes in the top 15 quarterbacks if things go well offensively for the Bills.