2012 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterback

by Cory J. Bonini on August 27, 2012 @ 13:03:44 PDT

 

Pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | all

Each year fantasy football owners gain a leg up on their competition by finding sleepers in their drafts. KFFL.com has identified these candidates for the 2012 season and analyzed why you want them on your team.

Other players fall into the undervalued category: Their fantasy stock isn't as high as it should be, and you often can land them on the cheap to help bolster your lineup. Generally, undervalued players are veterans that are coming off a down year or returning from injury and have slipped below the radar of most fantasy owners. KFFL will help you take advantage of their oversights on your quest to building a championship roster!

Note: All Average Draft Position (ADP) figures are based on standard-scoring, 12-team leagues.

Sleepers

Josh Freeman | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | ADP: 13th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
48053027232237494149222614163646144174012227

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This Buc will rebound in a big way

The Bucs upgraded the talent around Freeman, who is coming off a miserable season. You could make the argument that he is undervalued, but sleeper seems more fitting considering how late he has been drafted, on average, this year. The fourth-year passer now has Vincent Jackson as a bona fide downfield threat, which should take pressure off Mike Williams. Tight end Dallas Clark enters the fray, and when he is healthy, few tight ends are more dynamic pass-catchers.

Tampa Bay improved the offensive line exponentially by signing Carl Nicks to start at left guard. He was the prized free agent of this year's OL class and perhaps second only to Peyton Manning among all coveted free agents. Doug Martin, a rookie rusher, looks to take over for LeGarrette Blount as the Week 1 starter. Count on somewhat of a tandem, but Martin's versatile style will be a welcomed change from the one-dimensional power-puncher.

Freeman's new head coach, Greg Schiano, is a no-nonsense personality and should do wonders for this youthful squad. Quarterbacks coach Ron Turner and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan have found success with the position in previous stops, too.

Freeman himself has lost weight in effort to become more mobile. This should help him keep plays alive longer and create gravy points on the ground, especially near the stripe. He is a midrange or low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback that you can land when QB2 options of the last tier come off the board.

Carson Palmer | Oakland Raiders | ADP: 10th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
531581322372392943292428131517272050022430

Palmer started to show signs of life late in 2011, topping 365 yards twice and completing 69.7 percent of his throws over the final three games. All of that may be for naught after a coaching change in the Bay Area, but Palmer has the luxury of learning with a full offseason of preparation following a season in which he didn't play until Week 7.

The Raiders brought in Greg Knapp for a second tour as offensive coordinator; he employs a West Coast system that isn't afraid to take shots downfield. Knapp most recently spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach of the Houston Texans, and he is well-known for his affinity for the zone-blocking scheme.

Darrius Heyward-Bey seems poised to break out in 2012, and second-year wideout Denarius Moore has the hallmarks of a special player in the making. Speedy deep threat Jacoby Ford should man the slot and has potential to be a dangerous weapon.

Oakland's O will benefit dramatically from the return of a healthy Darren McFadden, who is said to be 100 percent after a significant foot injury cost him the majority of the '11 season.

Palmer knows what this season means to his NFL career. He has been working harder than ever studying film and trying to master the West Coast offense before the season starts. Detractors point to Palmer's lack of mobility as a reason why he will fail in this scheme, but Matt Schaub is no more athletic than the soon-to-be 33-year-old and former Trojan.

Draft Palmer as a midrange backup and look to him as a matchup play early in the season. As the year progresses, he may force you into making tough decisions as to whom you should start.

NEW - Andrew Luck | Indianapolis Colts | ADP: 9th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
59164135840840154415242812144757161191242632

Robert Griffin III seems to be getting all of the fantasy football love this offseason, but Luck is the smarter choice for consistent production. RG3 very well could finish with better season-long statistics, mainly because of his legs, although his production likely will be erratic. Luck has a quality receiving targets and has displayed every intangible you look for in a No. 1 rookie quarterback selection thus far.

Indianapolis' defense is going to be worse than Washington's, too, which will lead to more passing to play catch-up. The Colts' schedule is ripe with excellent fantasy football matchups for the fledgling quarterback to take advantage of. A strong preseason has made some drafters a tad overzealous, given his ninth-round ADP; Luck should come off the board in the early stages of the late rounds as a strong QB2, especially if you have a bona fide No. 1.

John Skelton | Arizona Cardinals | ADP: N/A

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Expect a lot of yardage and nearly as many turnovers if Skelton wins the starting job from Kevin Kolb. He is a very deep sleeper and should only be drafted in cavernous leagues, but remember this name for your early-season waiver wire queue if Kolb struggles out of the gate.

Skelton has a bigger arm than Kolb and seems to have more chemistry with Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals are undergoing some changes on defense that could result in the need for more passing. Additionally first-round wideout Michael Floyd wasn't drafted just to stand around. He should eventually see meaningful playing time, which would lead to plenty of single coverage as opposing secondaries try to defend Fitz .

Skelton may not be draftable just yet, but you will want to keep an eye on this competition throughout the offseason. Should he outright take the job before Week 1, consider the lanky passer as a low-end QB2 behind a proven stud.

That would allow you to take a flier earlier on a skilled position player of your choice, since you may not be relying on your backup more than one time all year, barring injury. Let's face it, if you lose an A-Rod or Drew Brees for a lengthy period of time, chances are your season is in big trouble regardless of your backup situation.

Undervalued

Philip Rivers | San Diego Chargers | ADP: 5th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
530580333383402144212529121422322959012530

Rivers tossed an uncharacteristically high 20 interceptions last year. What should be noted is that only three of them came after Week 11 once the Chargers' offensive line started to gel and regain some health. Also, the receiving corps wasn't a chess game full of medically afflicted pawns.

The Bolts lost Vincent Jackson but gained a similar deep threat in Robert Meachem. The once (or twice) fantasy-relevant Eddie Royal has been drawing rave reviews from the coaching staff this offseason, and Antonio Gates is as healthy has he has been in years. The injury to Ryan Mathews (clavicle) could mean more passing, too.

Rivers is still a strong No. 1 fantasy quarterback and deserves to be drafted like one. Experienced fantasy owners tend to follow this by evaluating draft trends, but novice owners appear to be consumed by the 20 interceptions thrown from a year ago and the loss of V-Jax. Don't find yourself in that latter category.

Targeting Rivers should provide you with the opportunity to load up on early running backs and receivers while holding off a few rounds to land a high-end quarterback.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Look deeper than the surface numbers

Matt Ryan | Atlanta Falcons | ADP: 7th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
6176674074574471487131351113324285115023137

Remember how boring Mike Mularkey's offense in Atlanta was the past several seasons? It showed signs of life last year, but Dirk Koetter was brought in this offseason to spice things up a bit. The high-flying duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones should open up things for underneath receivers, primarily the ageless Tony Gonzalez in the middle.

Ryan will throw a lot this year, even with an improved defense. The division around him has become better, which promotes the idea of more aerial play. Ryan has entered the prime of his career and quietly put together a fantastic fantasy season that in any other year would have been glorified. He has to become a little more efficient to creep into the conversation of the league's elite, however.

Draft him as a No. 1 fantasy passer if you choose to wait on the position. He is coming off the board as a value, which allows you to build a super strong team around him if you don't have to draft a quarterback too early. After the best of the best are selected, this year's quarterback class offers a lot of similar players, production-wise.

Matt Schaub | Houston Texans | ADP: 11th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
50755731336339794379212510121727-1020012126

If all the reports about his foot rehab being far ahead of schedule are to be believed, Schaub will be a steal this year. He has thrown for at least 4,300 yards and 24 touchdowns in each of his healthy seasons with the Texans. That is not to mention how well he was playing last year before the injury.

The Texans have strong weapons in the passing game and a tremendous rushing attack that prevents defenses from loading up on stopping either facet of the offense. Schaub has full command of the offense, as well as chemistry with his targets - all of whom should be fully healthy by Week 1.

Schaub is a sly choice if you want to wait on the position why your leaguemates are busy gobbling up the early-round passers and leaving you with a bountiful stable of productive skill position players on your roster.

Jay Cutler | Chicago Bears | ADP: 10th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Pass Att Pass Com Pass Yds Pass TDs Int Run Att Run Yds Run TDs Tot TDs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
46051026731732693669192312143040147177021925

The addition of Brandon Marshall is what may draw many owners to Cutler, but my interest has been piqued with the hiring of positional coach Jeremy Bates and promotion of Mike Tice to OC.

Bates and Cutler will be reunited, while Tice's in-the-trenches approach will go a long way toward improving the O-line and offensive direction - both items that were largely lost on Mike Martz.

Cutler has two new toys in Marshall, with whom he is quite familiar, and rookie Alshon Jeffery, whose imposing frame could allow him to dominate one-on-one coverage as a rookie. The running game is no longer in flux with Matt Forte receiving a new contract.

Green Bay and Detroit know how to whip the rock from coast to coast, so Chicago may be playing from behind or in a shootout with these divisional foes. The Bears have one of the most quarterback-friendly schedules in the league this year, as well.

Cutler may look a lot more like his prolific 2008 season in Denver than his three anemic efforts in the Windy City. While late-season weather is always a concern, he now has the weapons to help carry this offense into a position for late-season success.

Facebook Twitter Google +

Pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | all

 

Fantasy football sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT

 

About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

Don't miss these great reports....

What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases