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August 17, 2019

Fantasy football sleepers 2019: Underrated quarterbacks to keep an eye on

It's time to get to work. 

Fantasy drafts are slated to start taking place over the next few weeks leading up to the start of the 2019 NFL season and we've got you covered.

After going through every team's starting (and back up) running back, wide receivers and tight ends, giving you our full player rankings and breaking down how experts across the fantasy landscape see players' values, we are now going to dive into some sleeper picks.

By our definition, a sleeper is a player who we expect to overplay his value (average draft position, or ADP) in most fantasy leagues. This doesn't mean you should over draft the players we discuss below in the first round — only that getting them with a good value position (somewhere around their ADP) could wind up paying dividends.

Here's a look at four QBs who we think have the best chance to be sleepers this year:

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

2018 stats: 4,298 yards, 20 TD, 10 INT, 70.1 completion %

Top weapons: Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Dalvin Cook

2019 ADP proj: QB19

Cousins is the kind of quarterback who seems to always be thought of as "overrated." He was overpaid by the Vikings and probably isn't a QB1 this year. However, he should be strongly considered as a streaming option. Why? Thielen and Diggs.

Minnesota had the No. 6 and No. 13 fantasy wide receivers last year, and Thielen and Diggs are each being projected inside the top 15 among wideouts again for 2019. If they're going to put up those stats, someone has to be giving them the football.

The veteran quarterback is projected to throw 27 touchdowns for a team that could find itself behind quite a bit this season — meaning they'll be throwing. As the 19th quarterback on the board, Cousins has very high value and is someone to keep an eye on.

Josh Allen, Bills

2018 stats: 2.074 yards, 10 TD, 12 INT, 52.8 completion %

Top weapons: LeSean McCoy, John Brown, Zay Jones

2019 ADP proj: QB23

Allen's rookie numbers don't exactly leap off the page. Neither do the Bills' skill players. But Allen may be a steal as a late round flier or as a pick up off of waivers during the season.

Allen was surprisingly productive fantasy-wise over the last few weeks of the 2018 season, using his legs to help him eclipse 26 points in one third of his games last year. In all, Allen ran for 631 yards and eight touchdowns, the second most in yards, most in yards per carry and most TDs among quarterbacks. 

If you expect Allen to improve in Year 2, you also should expect his duel threat ability to make him rosterable, as he can throw 20+ points on the board at any time. He won't be consistent, but he could win you a game or two all by himself.

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

2018 stats: 2,992, 19 TD, 14 INT, 64.4 completion %

Top weapons: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard

2019 ADP proj: QB15

Like Cousins, Winston has two top 20 receivers on his roster, including Evans who has an ADP of 8th. He also has the fourth tight end in ADP in Howard. There is already opportunity.

Last season was an oddity for Winston, as he was suspended and benched and did not get a chance to piece together a full season. This year, under new head coach Bruce Arians, Winston is the de facto No. 1 quarterback and will have the full confidence of the offense. His team also has the 7th easiest schedule for a fantasy quarterback.

Though not a high powered running threat like Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield, Winston is still a threat to take off and compile some rushing stats every year. The Bucs are expected to absolutely sling the ball — and whoever gets Winston, if he is in fsct the 15th QB off the board in your draft — is getting a total steal. 

Derek Carr, Raiders

2018 stats: 4,049 yards, 19 TD, 10 INT, 68.9 completion %

Top weapons: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs

2019 ADP proj: QB24

Carr is coming off of career highs in yardage, yards per attempt and completion percentage in 2018 with nearly nothing to work with. Those numbers will probably improve once again with AB in his arsenal. 

He's not worth taking as a QB1 in any league but he is probably as good a QB2 as you'll find this year, as he has almost no chance of being benched and he has a floor of solid production expected in Year 2 of Jon Gruden's offense. While 24 quarterbacks may not even get drafted in a 10 or 12-team league, Carr is probably going to wind up being one of the best possible waiver pick ups and someone you should pick up quickly should an injury hinder your QB1 situation. 

In 2018 Carr matched or eclipsed his fantasy projection in eight of 18 games, with his production tailing off at the end of the season with Oakland's playoff hopes out of reach. If you are in on Antonio Brown, you have to be in on Carr.

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