Everybody knows the names at the top of the fantasy football quarterback food chart. Rodgers, Brees and Brady have been the gold standard of quarterback play for what seems like an eternity. Every year, though, a quarterback or two rises from the heap below to challenge the standard models of excellence. Those quarterbacks can be hard to find if you don’t know what to look for.
Here are five quarterbacks we suggest gambling on late that may help you win it all.
1. Matt Stafford – Detroit Lions
In 2016, Stafford transformed his game. Calvin Johnson’s retirement will do that to even the biggest gun-slinger. One of the biggest gamblers in the game stopped throwing the deep ball and worked the underneath game. The Lions also transformed to accommodate an offense with no deep threat but a slew of undersized receivers and one of the best backfield pass-catchers, Theo Riddick. While Stafford still employs one of the best arms in the business, there will be pressure on him to do more than just sling it. This off-season Detroit gave Stafford the biggest contract in the NFL. He will back up Detroit’s financial investment. He’ll also support your late round investment in him.
2. Carson Wentz – Philadephia Eagles
After the first three games, NFL analysts started to compare Wentz to Peyton Manning. By the end of the season, the comparison’s vanished like Johnny Manziel’s career. In the off-season, the Eagles bet big on the former second round pick of the draft, signing Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount in free agency. Darren Sproles is still there to offer third down security. The o-line is one of the best in the league. It all points to Wentz taking the next step in his progression. This is a pass happy offense. Pick Wentz late and he’ll make you happy as well.
3. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has never been a fantasy standout. While he has one Super Bowl victory, I doubt you’ll find any past fantasy football champions that had Flacco on his roster. His game just doesn’t translate…until now. Baltimore threw the most out of any NFL team last year. This year the Ravens brought in every quarterback’s best friend, Danny Woodhead to provide a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. They also signed Pro-Bowler, Jeremy Maclin. Include hold-overs Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace to run down Flacco’s ever-dangerous deep ball, and that is a great supporting cast for Flacco to make noise this fantasy season. Take him late, and your team will be making some noise late into the year.
4. Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
Many fantasy football experts have been throwing Taylor’s name around for a couple of years now. Despite love from the experts, fantasy players have not expressed the same adoration. In the fantasy game, all yards matter. Over the last two years, only Taylor has amassed 3,000 passing yards and 550 rushing yards. Taylor also has one of the best running backs in the game, LeSean McCoy. In the pre-season, the front office dealt oft-injured Sammy Watkins to the Rams and got Jordan Matthews from the Eagles. Zay Jones was also drafted to bring some firepower to the passing offense. Last year at East Carolina, Jones caught 158 passes for 1,746 yards and 8 touchdowns. He dropped only four passes. Don’t drop the ball on Taylor, he might be the difference if he’s still waiting there in the late rounds.
5. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
While Tom Savage beat Watson out to start the regular season. There’s no doubt, Watson will end the year as the starting quarterback. If Brock Osweiler can have a decent first half of the season in Houston, Watson can be a difference maker. With his athleticism, arm strength and DeAndre Hopkins, there’s no reason not to believe Watson finishes the last half of the season as a top 10 quarterback. This might be a bold prediction. But if you want to win your league championship, you have to take some chances. Watson’s a gamble, but to win big, you have to bet big.