Eli Manning January 2013

The quarterback class is looking very deep for 2013, so deep that players who used to be starting fantasy quarterbacks are being pushed out of the top-12 by the promising young quarterbacks that lit up the league in 2012. Some of the players that are being pushed down out of the starter-tier this year are some big names like Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Michael Vick.

With this is being written before free agency, the draft and training camp, things could change. But as of Jan. 4, 2013, this is my quarterback sleepers list. I am going to assume that things are as they are today. Also note that when I say "sleeper," I mean undervalued players (according to the "experts"). That means that these quarterbacks don't necessarily have to be picked in the late rounds although, most of them still are.

I will be waiting on quarterback again this year as it has proven to be a solid strategy for me in the past few years (these values based draft charts emphasize why I believe that). If I am in a 10-team league, I have no problem taking a quarterback in the mid-late rounds without taking a back up quarterback.

This strategy works fine if you are an active owner, if your wrong about your QB pick you can't take too long to cut him loose for the hottest free agent quarterback you can fine. I don't draft a back-up quarterback (except in 14-plus team leagues where good back-ups have trade value, two QB leagues and maybe in six-point passing touchdown leagues), because I believe they provide little value and that the more teams without back-up quarterbacks, the better the strategy is (less people owning backups yields better free agent quarterbacks available).

The other reason not having a back-up quarterback works well is because quarterbacks are easy to claim off of the waiver wire as they are rising in value (as opposed to RB's where as soon as one has a big game, he is claimed in every league). Anyway, lets get to the list of sleepers.

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick January 2013

The recent wave of young quarterbacks with legs has shown that scrambling quarterbacks have a very high floor in fantasy football. Consistent scoring from the quarterback position is key to success in fantasy football. It is the one position where a 0 causes your fantasy team to lose about 80% of the time.

Colin Kaepernick has a strong arm that he's not afraid to use, which is shown by his 8.32 yards per attempt average. He is also a good decision-maker, which is shown by the fact that he has 10 touchdowns to only three interceptions this season. His accuracy is impressive with a 62.6% completion percentage, a very high number for a first-year starter.

In the final eight games (the games he started), CK7 accumulated 304 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. In ESPN standard scoring, he averaged 17.75 fantasy points in these 8 games. That fantasy point average would rank Kaepernick as the seventh quarterback this season if he had done it over 16 games.

Hopefully next year, the San Francisco 49ers change the offense to more suit CK7 and increase his fantasy production for us owners. A full off-season as the starter can only benefit him as last year was his first year as a starter.

I have seen him ranked outside of the top-13 for the most part in the early 2013 fantasy rankings, and I would be very comfortable with him as my starter in a 12-team league (maybe even a 10-team league).

Michael Vick

Michael Vick January 2013

This pick is mostly banking on Michael Vick landing on a team that has a better offensive line and that he ends up with a coach who understands that Vick is best when he is throwing quick passes or scrambling. Most of Vick's struggles have come on five-step drop passes, where he is asked to read the field and make decisions facing pressure.

Vick was bad this year, but he still averaged 15.375 points per game (ESPN standard) in the eight games he started at the beginning of the season. He only managed one touchdown this season, which is the same as last year, but the fact that he had nine in 2010 makes me believe that he is more likely to end up with three-to-five rushing touchdowns.

Vick's upside and name recognition are his greatest value. If he starts to tear it up out there, you can bet that ESPN will be hyping him up again like crazy, which will cause his trade value to shoot right through the roof.

Vick is one of the few quarterbacks I would consider drafting as a back-up, assuming he lands in a decent location for that reason. The price tag is going to be cheap this coming year, as I have seen him ranked by most in the 14-20 range of quarterbacks. The small investment allows fantasy owners to worry less about Vick's injury-prone label.

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers January 2013

The San Diego Chargers are aging and Philip Rivers is coming off of a season where he averaged a mere 6.84 yards per attempt. The biggest positive statistic about Rivers last year was that he still managed to maintain a solid completion percentage at 64.1-percent. His problems mainly has stemmed from too many interceptions and a lack of yardage.

Rivers eclipsed 4,600 yards in both 2010 and 2011, but in 2012 he regressed to 3,606 yards. That's a big step down. I think he will be closer to 2010-2011 form here in 2013.

Hopefully the Charger's pick up another solid receiver, as I'm not sure Danario Alexander can be counted on to stay healthy while Malcolm Floyd is better off as a No. 2 receiver. An offensive-minded coach would be helpful to Rivers as well.

The bottom line with Rivers is that he has been a top fantasy-option before (top 5 in 2010) and this year I've seen him ranked as a 12th-round pick (around 20th-ranked QB) on quite a few sites. I think at that price, he could provide good value.


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