Best ball season is all-encompassing now and the rate of drafts per day is only going to increase as we edge towards training camp. With the wider public currently drafting year-round more than ever before we don’t always get the types of sleepers we used to, but specifically talking about quarterbacks, last year alone we saw Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones, Justin Fields, and Jared Goff breakout in the double-digit rounds. Geno Smith perhaps become the best sleeper of the 2022 season with his QB8 performance with an ADP of 225, which meant he wasn’t even drafted in every draft. Spinning forward to 2023 these are some of the late-round quarterbacks you should be keeping an eye on.
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Quarterback Sleepers (2023 Fantasy Football)
Here are quarterbacks that present value entering 2023 fantasy football drafts.
Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR) – ADP 159.8
2022 didn’t come anywhere close to how the Rams imagined they would defend their Super Bowl title, but the circumstances were tricky after all with the Rams wafer thin roster finally succumbing to injuries along with the ‘F them picks’ strategy coming home to roost. Matthew Stafford struggled through injuries to his throwing arm, along with concussions, and never really looked like the quarterback who took the Rams to the Superbowl in 2021 when he was QB10 in points per game. All reports suggest Stafford is healthy and raring to go this year and his job should be made easier with the Rams’ offensive line rebuilt. The revamped unit should be able to keep Stafford cleaner than in 2022 when he was sacked at a career-high rate of 27% on plays where pressure was generated by the defense. When Stafford was kept safe by his linemen his clean pocket completion rate was 72.4%, identical to 2021, and even when pressured Stafford’s completion rate jumped to a career-high 54.7%. So much of the argument for Stafford ultimately rests with his connection with Cooper Kupp, who despite his own injury issues was the PPR WR2 in points per game last year. At this cost, Stafford is a perfect late-round pick with a high ceiling.
Matthew Stafford's no-look pass to Cooper Kupp in the Super Bowl was a beauty. The timing and precision of the pass was on point, and it resulted in a touchdown. Stafford showed his elite throwing ability by pulling off this tricky maneuver in record time. pic.twitter.com/PZv4areHY4
— G_Bullock (@GBullock882522) June 12, 2023
Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) – ADP 164.1
Almost 100 picks later than at this time last year, Murray’s ADP has possibly slid to an area where we should be viewing him as a good draft pick. Murray tore his ACL and meniscus in mid-December which certainly means he could miss time this year, particularly with his surgery not having taken place until January, pushing his recovery window further toward the NFL season. It wouldn’t be outrageous for Murray to be out there early though with the recovery of Joe Burrow the most recent quarterback to undergo a similar injury and not miss time the following year. If Murray is out there he most likely isn’t as effective in the running game straight away, and that could be a big hit to his fantasy value with Murray having averaged 6.8 rush attempts per game throughout his four-year career in the NFL, along with 0.41 rushing touchdowns per game. This averages out to over six fantasy points per week before we get into Murray’s passing work. Murray has averaged 20.0 fantasy points per game over the last two years, but if we are forced to reduce that workload by 50% we’re looking at 17 points per game, or worse if Murray is unable to hit even 50% of his previous averages. What’s important to remember though is that we can carry an injured Murray for a portion of the season in best ball and build around it, with the hope that, come the best ball playoffs, Murray is fully-recovered and having to do it all to make up for a terrible defense. In three quarterback builds, Murray has plenty of upsides.
2022: 18.2 fantasy points per game (QB7)
2021: 21.5 (QB4)
2020: 23.7 (QB4)
2019: 17.8 (QB11)
Understand potential for Cardinals to be meh on him returning if they are 0-8 or whatever to start the season. Then again, paying the man a LOT of $ to not play if healthy
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) June 18, 2023
Brock Purdy (QB – SF) – ADP 191.8
The Niners have made it abundantly clear that they plan to move forward with Brock Purdy as their quarterback, for 2023 at least, and unless we hear negative reports about his recovery from surgery, we too should assume Purdy is going to play a vast majority of the games this year. The betting markets have the Niners as the second favorite to win the NFC, despite this lingering question over the quarterback and when you take a step back to consider the roster as a whole it’s easy to see why. Jimmy Garoppolo was a system quarterback who rarely went off-script and let it rip with the elite weapons at his disposal, while Purdy displayed a little more gung-ho attitude as the starter and had 16 or more points in four of his five starts. Getting a starting quarterback this late in the draft with such elite weapons is a no-brainer and when Purdy is declared healthy we’ll see a huge jump in his ADP.
I still refuse to buy the "Brock Purdy has a noodle arm" narrative that's been clouding the TL.
Noodle arm QBs can't pump fake, rapidly reset their entire throwing motion, and then throw a ROPE to the back pylon after scrambling east/west for 40+ yards pic.twitter.com/48EfV3nFJ2
— Nick Newman (@NinerNick_22) June 14, 2023
Desmond Ridder (QB – ATL) – ADP 205.3
In 2022, as a market, the best ball community was high on DK Metcalf, high on Tyler Lockett, but not high on Geno Smith, which turned out to be a mistake. Particularly given we had seen Smith be a good quarterback for those two receivers briefly in 2021 when filling in for Russell Wilson. Desmond Ridder was kept on the bench until Week 15, despite cries from the fans who wanted to see what the third-round draft pick had to offer. When Ridder did eventually make his debut Kyle Pitts had already been declared out for the year, depriving us of a glimpse of what those two could look like together, but after Marcus Mariota routinely missed Pitts it’s hard to imagine it being much worse. As a market, the best ball public has decided to be high on Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts in 2023, so it makes sense that we want to sprinkle in some exposure to Desmond Ridder as well, particularly with his cost being almost entirely free.
Did you know …
Arthur Smith's Falcons actually ranked 14th in situation-neutral pass rate in 2021.
They also climbed from 32nd with Marcus Mariota to 24th after Desmond Ridder took over last year.
— Matt Schauf (@SchaufDS) June 13, 2023