While most fantasy owners go after a quarterback in the earlier rounds of the draft, others like to stockpile on running backs and receivers and wait until the last few rounds to pick up their man. This is a risky move but it can pay off greatly, especially if you find the right quarterback. So it makes you wonder with most of the productive quarterbacks already scooped up who out there is worth the gamble and could possibly pay off considerably.
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
So far it seems that Jake Locker has broken mirrors and came across a black cat or two, as injuries have held him back throughout his three-year career. Since this is a contract year, Jake Locker has to stay healthy and be productive or it will be the end of the road for him in Tennessee. Because of the need for results, Locker might be worth a gamble this season. He did start 2013 strong having over 15 fantasy points in weeks three and four, until the injury bug hit him for the second straight year.
Another thing going for him is new head coach Ken Whisenhunt. As the offensive coordinator for San Diego, Whisenhunt helped revive quarterback Philip Rivers last season helping him rank sixth in quarterback fantasy points. Another thing that could go in Locker’s favor is emerging wide receiver Kendall Wright, who had 94 catches and 1,079 receiving yards in 2013. Locker might seem to be a risky draft pick in any round but if he can stay healthy and catch on quickly to Whisehunt’s offense, he could be in store for his best season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans
When Ryan Fitzpatrick played in Buffalo he was a solid backup to have on your bench. His knack for the occasional big game, where he could score 25 points, was an asset.” In the games he played last season for Titans, Fitzpatrick was nothing to gloat about, yet he did have a couple solid outings. Now with All-Pro Andre Johnson (assuming he stays) and DeAndre Hopkins, who should improve on his solid rookie year (52 receptions and 802 receiving yards), this might be the best set of receivers Fitzpatrick has ever had. Also, let us not forget running back Arian Foster who is good for taking a short dump pass and bringing in big yardage. With head coach Bill O’Brien already naming Fitzpatrick the starter, only Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage are competing against him. It’s a safe bet that the Harvard graduate stays the starter as long as the Texans keep in contention during season.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 34-year-old journeyman had his best season in 2013, throwing 13 touchdowns to his lone interception, which gave him an average of 17 fantasy points in the eight games he played in. Now in Tampa, McCown has been christened the starter over Mike Glennon and has big receivers on both sides with 6’5 230-pound rookie Mike Evans, who was Johnny Manizel’s go to guy with the Aggies, joining 6’5 230-pound veteran Vincent Jackson, who had his third straight year with over 1,000 receiving yards. This big receiver formula is what worked for McCown in Chicago with tall receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, so there is a good chance that McCown can bring the fantasy points yet again this season.
Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Although he might be without wide receiver Josh Gordon, pending how the league punishes him for his latest off field troubles, Manziel is an intriguing pick assuming he can knock off Brian Hoyer to start. He was very accurate in college, connecting on 68.9 percent of his throws while amassing 63 career touchdowns. The real reason he is a sleeper is due to his feet. He averaged 6.3 yards a carry and racked up 30 rushing touchdowns in his two years with the Aggies. Having All-Pros in left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack protecting him, he has a good chance to make magic happen with his feet in the NFL.
Eli Manning, New York Giants
Despite having an awful season last year, Eli Manning has shown he can be a capable fantasy starter throughout his career. Although Manning threw 27 interceptions last season, he also took on 39 sacks. So much of his awful season was due to having a porous offensive line who could not give Eli the time he needed to make his throws. This off-season New York went and drafted their center of the future in Weston Richburg, as well as signing veteran guard Geoff Schwartz, to help improve the offensive line. They also replaced longtime offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride with Ben McAdoo, who is young at 36 years old, but already has a ton of experience coaching for the Saints, 49ers, and Packers. Some better protection and a new offensive scheme could be just what Eli needs to become this year’s fantasy comeback player of the year.