Fantasy football season is here! In the midst of mock drafts, rankings, projections, and more, one of the most enjoyable aspects of playing fantasy football is identifying a handful of players that you feel will outperform their preseason expectations. The summer is sleeper season and we here at The Draft Network will go through each and every position ahead of your fantasy drafts to help you identify key players to put a star next to that your leaguemates may be overlooking.
Let’s start off with the quarterback position. This is one of the tougher positions to find sleepers for because many leagues are still playing just one passer—although Superflex leagues are gaining popularity. However, injuries, bye weeks, etc. will all play a role and you’ll need to have a backup plan in place. This list includes a pair of QB2s that could earn a lineup role for your team this season and a star passer who is being severely underdrafted.
Full Half-PPR Fantasy Rankings can be found here.
Fantasy Football QB Sleepers
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Sam Howell (QB – WAS)
My Rank: QB18
Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell fits the true definition of a fantasy football sleeper. He’s currently going undrafted in single-QB leagues and is just bench fodder in most Superflex ones. While there is reason to be wary of a second-year passer who was only a fifth-round pick in a poor QB class, opportunity is everything in fantasy—and Howell is getting his. Whether he’s the long-term answer in Washington or not is of no concern to fantasy managers; 2023 is all that matters. Howell is expected to be the Commanders’ starter this season, even with recently-signed backup Jacoby Brissett pushing him for snaps.
Why is Howell a sleeper? He checks plenty of boxes fantasy managers look for when trying to unearth an undervalued passer. First, he’s surrounded by a solid corps of weapons. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, and Antonio Gibson all figure to be major contributors to the Commanders’ passing attack this season. Second, he’s got a brand-new offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy who has helped orchestrate more than a few highly-productive offenses. Third, Howell has the necessary rushing upside to be in contention as a possible low-end weekly starter in the right matchup. Let’s dive a little more into that final point.
In his final season with the North Carolina Tar Heels in 2021, Howell was forced to take matters into his own hands after offensive stars like Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown, and Dazz Newsome all left for the NFL. While he displayed some rushing upside in 2020, it was that 2021 season where Howell showed he can put the team on his back as a scrambler, finishing with 828 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games.
For Howell to reach his true potential—however high his ceiling is—he’ll need to use his legs as a weapon. I expect that element of his game to carry over into his first season as a starter, giving him enough fantasy production to be a solid Superflex QB2 or a matchup-based starter during bye weeks.
Projection (16.67 FPPG): 3,984.72 pass yards | 21.72 pass TDs | 13.43 INTs | 400 rush yards | 4.0 rush TDs
Aaron Rodgers (QB – NYJ)
My Rank: QB7
This feels… weird. Aaron Rodgers: Sleeper??
No player has been in the news or talked about more this offseason than Rodgers. His very public exit from Green Bay and journey to New York dominated headlines and think pieces for weeks. One of the major talking points was how he was joining a team with better weapons than the one he left, as the Jets boasted players like Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and Breece Hall while also recently signing Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, Randall Cobb, and just about everyone that ever said “hi” to Rodgers at some point in his career. Heck, they even flirted with Odell Beckham Jr. for a minute. Yet, despite all that, no one wants to take him in fantasy drafts.
Yes, Rodgers is 39 years old and is coming off his weakest season in recent memory. However, the upgrade in weapons (and attitude) should be just what he needs to get back on track.
Let’s start there, as the group of wide receivers and tight ends Rodgers gets to throw to in New York far outpaces his unit from 2022. Here are the players who earned targets from Rodgers in Week 1 last season: A.J. Dillion (RB), Aaron Jones (RB), Romeo Doubs (a fourth-round rookie), Robert Tonyan, Christian Watson (a second-round rookie who missed most pre-season activities), Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Josiah Deguara, Juwann Winfree, and Tyler Davis. Compare that to the group he’ll be throwing to this year and it’s a night-and-day difference. Plus, he brought over his most productive receiver from last season in Lazard.
Now, I’m not saying Rodgers is going to put up his MVP numbers from 2020 and 2021, but splitting the difference between the last two years (a la his 2018/2019 seasons) is well within the realm of possibility. If so, fantasy managers are getting a steal.
Projection (19.18 FPPG): 4,373.60 pass yards | 37.19 pass TDs | 6.79 INTs | 100 rush yards | 1.0 rush TDs
Brock Purdy (QB – SF)
My Rank: QB24
It was difficult finding a third sleeper at the position because fantasy football players are pretty familiar with any NFL starting QB, but a player I’m a bit higher on than ADP and ECR is Brock Purdy. His elbow injury has muddied the waters when it comes to not just projecting his fantasy football value, but simply the number of games he’ll actually play this season. What Purdy does have going for him is the lack of injury setbacks so far and the unwavering support of key players and decision-makers within the San Francisco 49ers’ organization.
If Purdy is healthy, he’s San Francisco’s starter—and he was pretty good last season in that role. From Week 13 on, Purdy ranked as the QB11 in average fantasy points per game (18.1). That was in the same tier as players like Dak Prescott, Justin Fields, and Tom Brady during that stretch. While the 49ers will remain a run-heavy offense, when they do throw, Purdy has elite weapons like Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey to distribute to.
My projections bake in about four missed games due to the elbow injury, but he should put up solid QB2 numbers whenever he hits the field. Grab him late and stash him on your bench in September and you’ll have yourself a true QB2 in due time.
Projection (16.90 FPPG): 3,293.12 pass yards | 19.65 pass TDs | 7.33 INTs | 150 rush yards | 1.5 rush TDs
- Sep 30, 2023
- Sep 25, 2023