You cannot, in my opinion, call anyone drafted to be a starter as a “sleeper”. To me a sleeper is a player taken as a backup who ends up worthy of being a starter or at least far outplays the draft slot where you selected him. Below are players ranked by the current Average Draft Position (ADP) as found on MyFantasyLeague.com considering all scoring systems as a general basis. I’m assuming a league of 12 teams where most would take two quarterbacks and start one.
Green Players are the values/sleepers I like while Red Players are the ones I do not value high enough to ever draft. If not red or green, the player is slotted similar to where I see him.
Average Draft Positions taken from MyFantasyLeague.com using only real drafts conducted after August 15th.
Starters – Value Plays
|1||Cam Newton||CAR||He’s not as likely to repeat 2015 with a brutal schedule looming but thanks to Kelvin Benjamin returning and his rushing points there just is no QB with a higher floor.|
|2||Aaron Rodgers||GB||Even his horrible 2015 was still 8th best of any QB. The band is back together in GB this year.|
|3||Andrew Luck||IND||Despite a bad year thanks to injury, still threw for at least 2 TDs in 6 of 7 games.|
|4||Russell Wilson||SEA||Okay. So maybe he can throw. And still run. I would not take him this early but it is easily defendable.|
|5||Drew Brees||NO||This is a tad high for the gently declining Brees but he’s always going to throw even if he’s losing the deep toss from his bag of tricks. His track record makes this okay though he’ll not likely do any better than this.|
|6||Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||He’s probably a top ten passer but he never runs, won’t have Martavis Bryant or three weeks of Le’Veon Bell. Granted every pass may end up with Antonio Brown.|
|7||Tom Brady||NE||Why? Really? Even playing 16 games he isn’t usually this good and he’s only got 12 this time. I prefer to see my starters play in September.|
|8||Blake Bortles||JAC||Bortles was #4 last year and has same offense, same players. Love him here because Jags will still have trouble with run with bad O-line and bad schedule.|
|9||Carson Palmer||ARI||Comes off a career best season with same players and offense and at least one more big year left in him.|
|10||Eli Manning||NYG||Same tepid rushing offense, Odell Beckham, hot rookie Sterling Shepard and a good schedule. Plus now he can just be called “Manning”. Definitely Top 10 and could surprise.|
|11||Derek Carr||OAK||Love Carr this year in this spot with the second year of offense and Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree. Better schedule than 2015. More evolved offense. More fantasy points.|
|12||Philip Rivers||SD||Rock solid pick for a QB that at least won’t hurt you and could surprise. Everyone is back healthy again… at least for now…|
After the Starters are taken, look for sleepers and avoid bad values for your backup
|13||Jameis Winston||TB||The worst passing schedule in the league is not going to help Winston avoid a sophomore slump. Schedule vastly improves the second half of the year but your fantasy team not going to get there using Winston.|
|14||Kirk Cousins||WAS||The second season of HC Jay Gruden was a success for passing after opting to keep RG3 sulking on the sidelines. Cousins passed for 4166 yards and 29 TDs plus five more as a rusher. WAS rushing game won’t be any better and the schedule is about the same. Makes a very solid backup with a smidgen of upside later in the year with Josh Doctson potentially contributing.|
|15||Matthew Stafford||DET||Yeah, no Megatron but lots of other weapons he has to use now. DET schedule is much better and the Lions brought in six veteran WRs to help the passing. His schedule and unveiling a new set of receivers gives him some upside.|
|16||Marcus Mariota||TEN||He is slated to run more but that offensive line has been a problem. TEN is going to run much more than last year and Mariota won’t have the consistent stats to merit such a high pick. At best inconsistent, at worst he hands off most of the time.|
|17||Tyrod Taylor||BUF||Good to see everyone giving Taylor some respect. He’ll pass better in the second year of Greg Roman’s offense and he already ran for 568 yards and four TDs last year. Should do no worse than this.|
|18||Tony Romo||DAL||There could be upside here – Romo passed for 3705 yards and 34 TDs in 2014 when they also had a rushing game. But he’s been injured in each of the last three years and at 36 years of age his injury risk – and recovery length – makes me leery. This is backup level and I want him around whenever my starter needs to take their bye.|
|19||Andy Dalton||CIN||He remains in a run-first offense but still passed for 25 TDs last year over his 13 games. Solid backup.|
|20||Matt Ryan||ATL||Ryan had a good yardage year but fell to only 21 TDs during the first year with OC Kyle Shanahan. ATL still needs a receiver not named Julio to matter but this deep Ryan is a great pick.|
|21||Ryan Tannehill||MIA||HC Adam Gase coming over will help and the second year of DeVante Parker should open up the passing game more. Throw in Arian Foster catching balls and would love Tannehill even earlier than this.|
|22||Ryan Fitzpatrick||NYJ||Whew. He signed. Still a great fantasy backup.|
|23||Jared Goff||LA||Not wanting to rely on a rookie QB with sub-standard receivers playing in an offense that would run every down if possible.|
|24||Teddy Bridgewater||MIN||So you waited too long to get a backup QB and what do you get? Probably the same 3231 pass yards with 14 TDs. Has some upside but as a bye week cover chances are good you catch him on a down week.|
Undrafted – Best Value
Jay Cutler (CHI) – Granted it is another new OC but at least Dowell Loggins was his QB coach last year when he threw for 3659 yards and 21 TDs with just 11 INT. Plus Kevin White gets to scuff up a helmet finally.
Brock Osweiler (HOU) – Second year of the offense that sports DeAndre Hopkins who apparently can excel no matter who throws the ball. Great offensive line. Brock could surprise here.