2012 Fantasy Football: Top 5 Quarterback Sleepers
Matthew Stafford went from a dude who couldn’t stay on the field to a straight-up baller last year. Not just anyone tosses for 5,000 passing yards and 40+ touchdowns. Sure, he has the game’s best receiver in Calvin Johnson, but the guy showed us all in 2011 that he’s arrived.
Now, where can fantasy owners get themselves another Stafford-like quarterback on the cheap going into 2012? Sorry, but he may not exist. Not 5,000 and 40, anyways.
Still, there are some pretty interesting options you may want to consider later in drafts, or even in the middle rounds. Here’s a look at some talented passers you shouldn’t be sleeping on this year:
Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)
RG3 was a boss at Baylor in his junior year, displaying elite athleticism, a strong arm, and deadly accuracy. Playing in a Mike Shanahan offense, a lot of good (and possibly greatness) can and will come of RG3.
The offense thrives on it’s quarterback keeping pressure on the defense, while RG3′s athleticism and accuracy could potentially take the league by storm in a fashion similar to what Cam Newton did as a rookie in 2011. I don’t think his impact will be quite as elite, but he’s a very underrated option going into most drafts.
According to Fantasy Football Calculator’s ADP recently, RG3 is being selected primarily in the eight round. With bonafide QB1 upside as a rook, you can grab RG3 after getting your core players, and then go grab his backup. He has the down side of a rookie, obviously, but I don’t think his fantasy owners will notice much of that.
Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)
Anyone who tells you Locker is another Tim Tebow is dead wrong, and simply don’t really know their stuff. The fact is, Locker is a much better passer in just about every way possible, while Tebow is the more clutch performer. But that doesn’t mean Locker doesn’t have the goods. In fact, on two different occassions he nearly brought the Titans back late in games after taking over for an injured Matt Hasselbeck.
Locker didn’t play a ton as a rookie, but when he did he flashed a big arm with a natural tendency to look down the field for the big play. He has work to do when it comes to reads and accuracy, but he already has adequate pocket presence and has learned a lot from playing the majority of his brief career behind Hasselbeck. I like him to beat out Hass this summer and shock some people as a dual threat.
He’s not being drafted at all in most standard leagues, so you know you have an excellent shot at nabbing him in rounds 14-15. If he wins the battle before your draft, be sure to update your cheat sheet with him bumped up in your rankings.
Kevin Kolb (Arizona Cardinals)
Kolb is a major sleeper for the third year in a row. The difference is, this time I think he stays healthy and starts getting the job done. I know he’s waist-deep in a quarterback battle with John Skelton, but Kolb is the more talented passer and he’s the guy getting paid the big bucks right now – not Skelton.
If this race is even remotely close, AZ is rolling with Kolb – end of story. When (not if) that happens, Kolb won’t have any excuses left, and will have to make good use of Larry Fitzgerald and rookie wideout Michael Floyd. With explosive guys like Andre Roberts and Early Doucet in more suitable secondary roles, this passing offense could be off the charts.
And you could own Kolb, as he’s currently not even being drafted in standard leagues.
Matt Flynn (Seattle Seahawks)
There’s no getting around Flynn’s involvement in a three-headed quarterback race in Seattle. But are you truly concerned that Tarvaris Jackson and rookie small fry Russell Wilson are going to keep this guy from the starting gig?
I actually like Wilson’s talent a lot, but Flynn knows the West Coast Offense and he has the natural tools and leadership to man this offense very well. I think he wins the job and if Sidney Rice and Zach Miller can get/stay healthy, he could really be a guy to watch in 2012.
Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams)
Bradford was a big sleeper last year, and that was supposed to be where he took the next step after being a very solid rookie option. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, as a new offense and injuries to himself and his receivers bogged him down all year.
I think Bradford is in for a bounce-back year. That certainly doesn’t mean elite numbers, but he could be a much more viable QB2. He’s getting Danny Amendola back (who missed 15 games last year with a dislocated elbow), while he also has new shiny weapons in rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens.
The Rams should run more than before under Jeff Fisher, but they’re still a young team that should have to fight back in a lot of games – which could mean solid attempts and yardage out of Bradford. We know he has the talent, but if he can develop good chemistry with his new weapons, he could pick up where he left off at the end of 2010.
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
If you know me, you know I like to give you six sleepers when I say five, and I think Luck has enough value to put on this list. He may not be quite the cerebral guy Peyton Manning was/is, but he’s got all the tools and brain power to be every bit of the gem draft gurus say he’ll be.
If you look back at Manning’s rookie year, he passed for nearly 4,000 yards while throwing 26 touchdowns. Yeah, he tossed 28 picks and lost 13 games, but those were times of learning. I think Luck’s learning curve won’t be quite so dramatic, and I also believe people under estimate his solid cast of weapons. Reggie Wayne can still play at a decent level and Austin Collie is a vastly underrated receiver, himself. Toss in a familiar weapon in tight end Coby Fleener, and I think Luck hitting on Manning’s first-year numbers (save for the picks) is a real possibility.