The term fantasy “sleeper” can be defined in many ways. To some, it can be a relatively unknown player who emerges into a useful fantasy player. It can also be a player who makes an impact because of an increase in opportunities due to injuries. To most, sleeper means a player who outperforms his draft spot or average draft position.
However you define it, the art of picking out sleepers can be the difference between a good fantasy team and one that becomes a championship contender in your league. With that in mind, here’s a look at five quarterbacks who could break out or be sleepers.
Trey Lance, 49ers: The 49ers moved up in last year’s NFL draft to get Lance, and he’s now in a position to make good on his big-time potential. A versatile quarterback who rushed for 1,100 yards in his final full season at North Dakota State, Lance could be this year’s version of Jalen Hurts but with more upside as a passer. He’ll be on the board in the double-digit rounds in most traditional leagues and could break out this season.
Derek Carr, Raiders: Fantasy fans who like to wait on drafting a quarterback should be targeting Carr in 2022 drafts. He has never been a top-10 fantasy player at the position, but he’s been close (QB14 last season). I like him to hit that mark in 2022, though, as the Raiders added Davante Adams to an offense that holds Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow and hired an offensive-minded head coach in Josh McDaniels this offseason.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins: Tua has admittedly not shown much in terms of stats in his short time in the league, but he’ll have no excuses in 2022. The Dolphins traded for star wideout Tyreek Hill, who will be paired with Jaylen Waddle to form a lightning-fast duo, not to mention Cedrick Wilson and a trio of running backs. The schedule might not be too kind overall, but Tagovailoa should post career best as a double-digit draft pick.
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Justin Fields, Bears: Mobile quarterbacks can be valuable assets for fantasy fans, even if he doesn’t post huge totals as a passer (see Tim Tebow). Fields, who is far better than Tebow as a passer but has questions at receiver heading into the season, could easily rush for 600-plus yards and three to five touchdowns. If he can pop as a passer under new OC Luke Getsy, Fields could be a steal late in traditional drafts.
Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars: Lawrence had a very forgettable rookie season, but we’ll give him a pass because of the Urban Meyer mess. The Jags added Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram to the passing attack in the offseason, and they’ll also get breakout candidate Travis Etienne back from injury. Lawrence is basically free in most drafts due to the depth at quarterback, so he’s a worthwhile late-round selection.
Other notables: Daniel Jones, Giants; Mac Jones, Patriots; Zach Wilson, Jets
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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!