Top Quarterback Sleepers for 2021 Fantasy Football

By Anthony Haage in Fantasy Sports
| July 20, 2021 10:24 am PDT

Patrick Mahomes is the first quarterback going in most fantasy football drafts this season. As much as everyone would love to have him on their fantasy team, only one person will get him.

Mahomes can be going early in the second round of your draft of standard scoring leagues, but 2-QB leagues can have him going in the first round. If you’re unsure of his upside, just look at why Patrick Mahomes is the next GOAT of the NFL.

There is more to think about than just drafting (or not drafting) Mahomes, though. Let’s take a quick look at the top options after Mahomes, as well as the top fantasy football quarterback sleepers for 2021.

Best Fantasy Quarterbacks After Mahomes

After Mahomes, the quarterbacks going next fall a couple rounds. Here is a list of the next five quarterbacks being drafted after Mahomes and their current pick range.

Player Draft Range
Josh Allen – Bills 40-55
Lamar Jackson – Ravens 45-60
Kyler Murray – Cardinals 50-65
Dak Prescott – Cowboys 50-65
Russell Wilson – Seahawks 55-70

Now, these drafting prices aren’t too high.

You can consider it a good deal when you get a top 5 fantasy quarterback as late as the 7th round. That gives you a lot of time to fill out your other positions before grabbing your quarterback.

This year has many solid quarterbacks in the middle rounds, meaning you can grab a solid quarterback without having to pay the high draft price for him. This could be a good reason to fade Mahomes early because you can find someone with great production in the later rounds and use that high draft pick on another position like RB, WR, or TE.

Josh Allen might have the best chance to overtake Mahomes as QB1, as he was the highest-scoring fantasy player last season.

Allen put up an incredible year with 4,544 passing yards, 421 rushing yards, and 45 total touchdowns (37 passing, 8 rushing). He scored 405.2 fantasy points, which was 14.5 more than second-place Kyler Murray (390.7).

Allen’s impressive rushing numbers will give him a boost because, in some leagues, rushing touchdowns are 6 points, and passing touchdowns are 4 points. If that is the case in your league, Allen could be your guy if Mahomes is taken.

Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray would also do great in leagues that score passing touchdowns as 4 points and rushing touchdowns as 6. Of course, recent comments by Murray could be cause for pause.

“Honestly, the way I see it, my legs should be a luxury.”

Jackson ran for the most yards out of any other quarterback (1,005) and 7 touchdowns, but his passing totals dropped him to QB10 on the year.

Murray had a great season last year, scoring as QB2 on the year. He ran for 819 yards (second-most) and 11 touchdowns (second behind Cam Newton, 12). Murray could have better-passing totals than Lamar Jackson, and that’s what set him apart. Murray threw for 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns, bringing his total touchdowns on the year to 37.

These players right after Mahomes should have great years, but I’m not loving their draft price as much as the next two guys.

If I were to try and grab one of the next five quarterbacks after Mahomes, I would love to get either Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson. Both of these quarterbacks are coming off a weird offseason, which could have made some people wary about drafting them. That just means you get to grab them at a better price.

Russell Wilson – Seahawks

Passing Yards Passing TDs Rushing Yards Rushing TDs Turnovers
4,212 40 513 2 17
9th 2nd 4th 22nd (tied) 4th worst (tied)

Wilson had a very productive season last year and finished as fantasy’s QB6. He threw for more than 30 touchdowns for the 4th season in a row and 5 out of his last 6 seasons.

He should be able to surpass that total again this season, with basically the same receiving core. He has a very talented one-two punch in D.K Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. In fact, Wilson and Metcalf’s connection makes up one of the best QB-WR duos in the NFL in 2021.

They also have solid TEs in Will Dissly and new addition Gerald Everett.

Wilson comes at a great price at this point in the draft and should be a great pick in the middle rounds.

Dak Prescott – Cowboys

Prescott only played five games last season due to his ankle injury. Even though he only played those five games the entire season, he still finished as QB33.

His fantasy points per game were 27.7, which was the highest out of anyone in the league. Dak was on pace for an incredible season, but unfortunately, he didn’t get to show us what he was capable of in 2020.

Some of his fantasy points are credited to the Cowboys’ bad defense, as they found themselves in some of the largest scoring totals we saw in 2020.

Week & Opponent Score
@LAR 17-20 (L)
ATL 39-40 (W)
@SEA 31-38 (L)
CLE 49-38 (L)
NYG 34-37 (W)

The Cowboys’ defense was abysmal during this stretch, ranking as the 30th Defense in the NFL. After this terrible stretch, the Cowboys got better and finished as the 17th ranked defense from Weeks 6-17.

The Cowboys drafted seven defensive players out of their ten draft picks, highlighted by #12 overall pick Micah Parsons. So, the defense is due for some more improvement.

Although that is better for the Cowboys team overall, it is worse for Prescott’s fantasy output. A bad defense means high-scoring games and more passing for quarterbacks, so he probably won’t be able to repeat his insane success in the first five weeks.

With that being said, Prescott should still have a great year.

He has many talented players on his offense, including Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin. They also have a stellar offensive line behind Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins. This offensive group can be among the very best in the entire league, and Prescott is right in the middle of it.

My Favored Fantasy QB Sleepers for 2021

This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but Aaron Rodgers is currently being drafted as fantasy QB8. This will be an absolute steal of a price if Rodgers plays this season.

If you want to get risky, you can take Rodgers in the middle to late rounds and potentially win your league. I would highly recommend drafting a solid backup quarterback because if Rodgers retires, you will be screwed without a nice backup.

After the aforementioned group of passers, you get into the sleeper range. This is where you’re paying for a stud at a discount. With that, here are some of the best fantasy quarterback sleepers for 2021.

Justin Herbert – Chargers

Justin Herbert had an incredible rookie season and won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Everyone expected Joe Burrow to be the rookie taking over the league last year, but it was Herbert.

Herbert should continue his success this season and could be another Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen type of player. Herbert has a cannon for an arm and some nice weapons, as well.

He’s a fringe sleeper, as he offers QB1 upside but will go off the board in rounds five or six.

Austin Ekeler is one of the best receiving backs in the entire NFL. He provides a great short-range option for Herbert and helps pick up consistent chunks. Behind Ekeler, the Chargers also feature some solid WRs in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Jalen Guyton. Allen is one of the best receivers in the NFL, while Mike Williams is one of the best deep threats in the NFL.

In fact, the Bolts plan to open things up more in 2021, with Williams taking on a bigger role.

Getting the ball more to a guy who can do that is probably a good idea.

Guyton also had some big plays last season, and he could turn out to be a very solid slot receiver. The Chargers also added Jared Cook in free agency. The Chargers have a very solid quarterback in Herbert, and he could take it to the next level, starting this season.

Ryan Tannehill – Titans

Another nice option in the middle rounds at quarterback is Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has many weapons as well, including arguably the best receiver in the league, Julio Jones.

The Titans acquired Jones earlier this offseason as they prepare to make a run at the Super Bowl.

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Tannehill now has one of the best receivers in the league and one of the best young receivers in the league. A.J Brown is becoming one of the new stars from the WR position, and this year could be where he breaks out big time.

The Titans feature their offense around star running back Derrick Henry, but that doesn’t hurt Tannehill’s value. Tannehill looks to be the best version of himself in this style of offense because he’s putting up the best numbers of his career in Tennessee.

Take a quick look at his numbers and rankings from last season.

Passing Yards Passing TDs Rushing Yards Rushing TDs Turnovers
3,819 33 266 7 8
15th 7th (tied) 13th 5th (tied) Best in NFL

Tannehill’s stats reflect how the Titans’ offense is built on the heavy run. Tannehill doesn’t have an impressive yardage total, but his turnovers were the lowest in the league of players who played at least seven games at QB. His passing and rushing touchdowns were very impressive and efficient. He should be able to put together an even better year this year with the acquisition of Julio Jones. He is a great pick in the middle to late rounds of your fantasy draft (ADP of 9.04).

Matthew Stafford – Rams

I wrote about Matthew Stafford’s impact on the Rams recently, and it’s safe to say there is a lot of optimism with his arrival in Los Angeles.

Stafford has always been an underrated quarterback. He’s put together a great career in Detroit, but now he is in a better situation in LA. The Rams have one of the most creative offensive coaches in Sean McVay, a good receiving core, and a good rushing attack.

His current 7th round ADP is a bit rich for some, but the upside here is unreal.

Jared Goff isn’t the caliber of quarterback Stafford is, yet he was still QB18 last year, QB13 in 2019, and QB7 in 2018.

Stafford should improve the Rams offense more than Jared Goff did, which helps players like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Those receivers should be in for a great year and are sleepers themselves in fantasy drafts.

It’s hard to compare his stat lines in Detroit to what they will look like in LA, but he should get better protection and have better talent around him. Stafford will be a very valuable pick at this point in the draft.

Joe Burrow – Bengals

Joe Burrow is coming off a major ACL surgery, but he should be healthy when Week 1 comes around. Burrow has a ton of talent in his receiving core with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and first-round pick Ja’Marr Chase.

He also has a strong running back in Joe Mixon. He did lose his receiving back in Giovanni Bernard, but his wide receivers should be more than good enough.

Burrow flashed fantasy brilliance as a rookie, putting up 172 fantasy points through 10 games before getting hurt. Extrapolate that out to a full 16-game season, and he could have potentially finished with about 284 fantasy points.

That’d place Burrow as QB13 as a rookie.

Burrow does need some more help on the offensive line, as the Bengals opted to draft Chase instead of Penei Sewell. Burrow should be able to take the next step this year and could be a sneaky option in the late rounds.

Tom Brady – Buccaneers

Brady and the Bucs will have almost all their starters back from their Super Bowl victory year last year.

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are some of the best-receiving duos in the entire league. The Bucs also added Giovanni Bernard, so Brady has a new running back he can dink and dunk down the field with.

Brady loved throwing to James White in New England, so Bernard can slide right into that role this season.

He’s not getting any younger, but Brady’s supporting cast is stacked, and he put up huge numbers a year ago.

Passing Yards Passing Touchdowns Turnovers
4,633 40 13
3rd 3rd 12th best

All of that was good enough to earn Brady the QB8 slot in most fantasy football leagues.

Now, Brady is by no means a running quarterback, but being third in yardage and touchdowns from the QB position is top tier. He was QB8 last year, and other QBs will beat him out in the rushing categories, but Brady is as steady as they come.

Antonio Brown has yet to figure out if he can play this season or not, which would be bad for Brady’s fantasy value if he is out. Scott Miller would replace Brown as a decent option, but Brown showed up big time towards the end of the year.

Brady should be in for another big season for the Bucs and fantasy owners as everyone wants another championship. Despite his clear upside, Brady can be had in round 7 or later in most drafts.

Other 2021 Fantasy Quarterback Sleepers

  • Matt Ryan – Falcons (Round 11)
  • Deshaun Watson – Texans (Round 11)
  • Carson Wentz – Colts (Round 13)
  • Jameis Winston – Saints (Round 14)

Want to dig even deeper with your 2021 fantasy football quarterback sleepers? Consider the guys above. They all carry major risks due to age, injury, or an isolated situation, but they also offer crazy upside if they pan out.

All these quarterbacks have some serious fantasy league-winning potential at these prices in the draft; Whether mid-range or in the late rounds, all these fantasy QB sleepers have appeal.

Everyone is looking for an edge when it comes to drafting; this is your edge. You need to know exactly who and when you can grab which quarterback and win you a championship.

Depending on your league scoring, you can grab multiple of these quarterbacks if you wish. Make sure to do plenty of mock drafts before your actual draft as well!

On top of that, be sure to prepare for the new season by reading some more 2021 fantasy football content below.

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