2021 Fantasy QB Sleepers: 10 Late-Round Quarterbacks To Target In Your Next Draft
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: 49ers quarterback Trey Lance.
- Can't spend an early-round pick on a quarterback in your next fantasy football draft?
- Our trio of analysts -- including Sean Koerner, the No. 1 draft ranker of 2019 -- share their top fantasy QB sleepers.
We all get tempted to spend big early on a show-stopping QB1 (looking at you, Patrick Mahomes), but knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em is always a valuable skill in fantasy drafts.
You might not get the QB1 of your dreams in every league, but our trio of fantasy analysts have you covered on the QB2 sleepers and deep sleepers who can bring major upside to your squad this season. Whether you’re in a one- or two-QB league, here are the signal-callers you won’t want to miss out on when it comes to their value and potential this year. Players are listed below with their ADP as of Aug. 25, according to Bestball 10s.
QB2 Sleepers Who Can Finish With Top-12 Seasons
Chris Raybon: Joe Burrow QB13 (Bengals)
One way to think about a sleeper is considering which player going higher they can get close to value-wise. Burrow is a discount version of Justin Herbert: A high-volume QB with non-zero rushing upside (Burrow averaged 14.2 rushing yards and 0.3 TDs last year) primes for a Year 2 leap (albeit without the same caliber of offensive line as the Chargers).
Burrow averaged 40.4 pass attempts per game last season, and even though Ja’Marr Chase has had a rough camp, he doesn’t have to be great right away, he just has to not be A.J. Green.
- Burrow to Green: 34-of-75 (45.3%), 352 yards (4.7 YPA), one TD.
- Burrow to everyone else: 230-of-316 (72.8%), 2,336 yards (7.4 YPA), 12 TD.
Samantha Previte: Matt Ryan QB14 (Falcons)
Of the quarterbacks currently consensus-ranked on FantasyPros outside of the top 12, Ryan easily has the clearest path to finish in the top 12 this season. Ryan was QB13 in 2020 through 16 weeks. He lost Julio Jones this offseason but gained Kyle Pitts who I’m convinced Atlanta will utilize as a receiver and will be an awesome red-zone target for Ryan. I also predict that the team will be in a number of negative game scripts again (they gave up the most passing yards per game in the NFL last year), which will lend itself to a lot of passing attempts.
Previte: Justin Fields QB21 (Bears)
Fields still isn’t the favorite to take the Bears’ first snap in Week 1 after the team has declared Andy Dalton as the starter, but it’s really just a matter of time. He has already had a strong preseason and his rushing gives him a very safe floor. Once Fields takes over (possibly in Week 2), he easily vaults into the QB1 conversation and could finish as a top-12 fantasy QB this year.
Raybon: Justin Fields QB21 (Bears)
Fields doesn’t get the same attention as Trey Lance, but he has a clearer path to starting. He offers a huge rushing ceiling: He averaged 8.2 yards per carry in his final season at Ohio State and scored 19 rushing TDs on 129 career carries.
Sean Koerner: Trey Lance QB26 (49ers)
After making some noise this preseason, Lance isn’t really a sleeper anymore. But when it comes to a league-winning draft strategy, sleeper is still a good way to describe the No. 3 overall pick. His ADP is held back by the very real threat that he may not start this year, but that likely wouldn’t last long. If you’re in a single-QB league, there is almost no risk to stash Lance away until he starts. He’s a bit more of a risk in a two-QB league, but the 49ers have a dream fantasy playoff schedule with the Falcons, Titans and Texans.
Deep QB Sleepers With High Upside
Raybon: Daniel Jones QB22 (Giants)
Jones averaged 30.2 rushing yards per game last season. He had three games with four-plus TDs and five 300-yard games as a rookie. The offensive line is a huge concern, but there’s no risk at his ADP and the upside is there.
Previte: Jameis Winston QB28 (Saints)
Winston is currently the betting favorite over Taysom Hill to take the Saints’ first snap. We’ve seen what he can do from a fantasy perspective: Winston finished as QB4 in 2019 in his last season as a starter in Tampa Bay and has decent weapons in New Orleans — even without Michael Thomas to start the season.
Raybon: Zach Wilson QB29 (Jets)
Wilson has massive arm talent, offers a bit of rushing upside, and has what’s shaping up as a deep wide receiver corps with Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and Keelan Cole. He can be the discount version of Trevor Lawrence (and just like Lawrence, Wilson has next to nothing to work with when it comes to tight ends).
Previte: Jared Goff QB30 (Lions)
Goff looked absolutely horrendous toward the end of last season, which has definitely left a sour taste in a lot of fantasy managers’ mouths. That said, he finished as QB14 through 16 weeks. He’s a guy I think a lot of us have written off, especially since he’s now in a significantly worse system in Detroit, but I think he can still post QB2 production.
Koerner: Taysom Hill QB32 (Saints)
Hill’s ADP correctly factors in the chance that Jameis Winston will be New Orlean’s starter, but it’s a volatile situation. If Winston were to get hurt or — even more likely — struggle with turnovers, Hill could take over. He has the rushing upside to provide low-end QB1 value when starting as we saw last season when he was QB5 in his five starts. Things might be shaky for Winston at the start of the season without Michael Thomas and it might not take long for the Saints to realize that with a lack of pass catchers, Hill starting might be ideal.
Previte: Teddy Bridgewater QB36 (Broncos)
Bridgewater’s 2020 season didn’t go super well in Carolina, but he still managed to finish as QB17 for fantasy and has been named Denver’s Week 1 starter. The veteran QB could find a path into being fantasy-relevant in two-QB leagues and superflex leagues, especially with the significant upgrade in offensive weapons in Denver.