One important detail that needs to be made perfectly clear in any feature on fantasy sleeper quarterbacks is that there is no such thing as a sleeper quarterback. We're not going to hit you with any previously undiscovered QBs today. Instead, we're simply discussing a group of players being drafted as afterthoughts (or not at all) who can massively outperform their ADPs and contribute meaningfully to successful fantasy seasons.
We aren't pretending they aren't well known. Let's simply call them undervalued, loaded with potential and available outside the top-100 picks in a typical draft.
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers, Yahoo ADP 110.2
At the risk of infringing on Dalton Del Don's territorial right to control the hype on Niners quarterbacks, I wish to simply note that Lance's setup is tremendous and his rushing upside is well established. In Lance's two starts last season, he ran the ball 24 times for 120 yards. His receiving corps is outstanding and arm strength certainly isn't a concern for him. Kyle Shanahan finally gave him the unambiguous endorsement that many of us expected last season.
I can't really see a good reason he shouldn't be ranked and drafted alongside (or above) various other dual-threat QBs inside the position's top-10, yet he's buried in a lower tier. Lance should really be the priority target for those who wait on quarterbacks; he plainly has top-three upside.
The camp highlights from Lance and friends have been absurd so far, for what it's worth:
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 2, 2022
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders, ADP 109.9
I've got this crazy theory that replacing Bryan Edwards with Davante Adams is going to be a good thing for the Raiders, so let's just see how it plays out.
Carr averaged a career best 282.6 passing yards per game last season while completing 68.4 percent of his throws, during a year in which a thousand things went wrong for his team. An upgraded receiving corps and coaching staff should help in a massive way. Darren Waller's return to health seems notable, too. Carr has a clear shot at a 5,000-yard season. He hasn't topped 30 touchdown passes since 2015, but the addition of Adams should help him reach that mark again.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins, ADP 127.4
No team in the NFL enhanced the support system for its quarterback this offseason quite like Miami. The offensive line was a mess last year, so they added Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead and veteran Connor Williams. The receiving room seemed unfinished, so the team landed three-time All-Pro Tyreek Hill, coming off a 111-catch season. Chase Edmonds and Cedrick Wilson are now in the mix as well. If Tagovailoa can't find success with this group ... well, yikes.
So far in camp, the Tua-Tyreek connection seems pretty solid. If you aren't convinced the deep ball is gonna be there for these two, here's a clip you need to see:
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears, ADP 131.9
Whereas the Dolphins decided to surround their young quarterback with elite talent at various positions of need, the Bears have patched together their offense with other team's castoffs. It's hard to say which approach will work best. Time will tell. *Extreme eye roll*
I'll simply remind you that Fields was responsible for the top play made last season by any member of the 2021 rookie quarterback class:
Justin Fields! How?!? 😱pic.twitter.com/KNe2mxyNU1
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) October 31, 2021
He certainly made his share of mistakes along the way, too, while operating behind a lousy O-line and in a system that wasn't designed to suit him. But we definitely saw traits in Fields that should eventually lead to fantasy (and reality) success. If he can simply remain healthy this season, he's a good bet to exceed 600 rushing yards while passing for 3,600 or more. It's not unreasonable to forecast a year from Fields that looks an awful lot like the season Jalen Hurts just produced for Philly.