2023 Fantasy QB Sleepers
There might not be a position debated more often across fantasy sports than the quarterback in football. Seven of the top ten fantasy scorers in 2022 were quarterbacks in half-PPR leagues, and QBs also made up four of the top five in full PPR scoring.
Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts finished as the top three players in all formats, with Joe Burrow finishing as QB4 and QB5 in half and full-PPR leagues, respectively. All four players had an ADP of 60 or better, meaning in 12-team leagues, they were gone before the sixth round.
Quarterbacks five through eight in last season’s final point standings were considered a less illustrious group when the season began but likely supported a lot of Cinderella runs for well-researched, or simply lucky, fantasy managers.
Geno Smith went largely undrafted before posting a QB5 season, Justin Fields went from an ADP of 149 to QB6 thanks to more than 1,000 rushing yards, the unsinkable Kirk Cousins was QB7 after being drafted 125th, and Trevor Lawrence was the eighth-best fantasy quarterback after going 155th overall in full-PPR leagues.
Just ahead, we call out our best sleeper candidates at the quarterback position for the upcoming season among a crop of players who will look to duplicate what the latter group of four accomplished in 2022.
Jared Goff, DET (ADP 106, QB15)
Goff disproved many doubters in 2022 with a top-ten season at the position for a Lions team that nearly clinched their first playoff berth in seven years. Detroit is now favored to win the NFC North heading into this season. It’ll represent their first division crown in 30 years if they accomplish that feat.
Goff led the Lions to top-five marks in scoring and total offense last season while ranking in the top six among all QBs in passing yards, touchdowns, and QBR. Detroit lost Jamaal Williams in free agency but signed David Montgomery in the offseason and returns almost their entire starting offense in 2023.
Goff is being underrated yet again and can produce starter numbers for a discounted price if you’re willing to wait on a signal caller in the draft.
CJ Stroud, HOU (ADP 174, QB24)
According to ESPN, Stroud is expected to compete with Davis Mills for the Texans’ starting quarterback job in training camp after being selected second overall by Houston at this year’s NFL Draft.
Among the rookie quarterbacks with a chance to start most of their team’s games, Stroud is well-positioned to succeed as a fantasy sleeper. He’s not going nearly as high as Indianapolis’ Anthony Richardson (ADP 109, QB17) and doesn’t face two of the best defenses in the league twice as Bryce Young will in the NFC South.
The DeMeco Ryans’ regime has taken over in Houston, and there is little incentive for the team to tank in 2023 when Arizona owns their first-round pick rights, thanks to the Will Anderson Jr. trade.
Stroud will make mistakes, turn the ball over, and learn some lessons the hard way at the pro level, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to a fantasy team in a bye week spot start or fill in for an injured starter at some point if he gets a foothold on the starting job.
Brock Purdy, SF (ADP 185, QB27)
Purdy’s situation in SF feels similar to Tua Tagovailoa’s in Miami. The second-year player from Iowa State is coming off a late-season injury that has raised lingering concerns about his possible effectiveness when the season begins in September. The looming fear would be that Trey Lance gets a chance to take his job in training camp.
If Purdy is healthy, and it’s worth a shot at this draft position, there are plenty of reasons to take him. He’s surrounded by All-Pro talent at each skill position and on the offensive line and showed impressive potential in the late stages of the 2022 season.
Purdy was QB9 from weeks 13-18 last year and seemed poised to make a legitimate run to the Super Bowl if not for the injury he suffered in the NFC Championship Game. Defenses will be better prepared to face him this season, but we trust coach Kyle Shanahan to make the necessary adjustments to help his QB avoid the sophomore slump.