NFL Fantasy Week 2: Quarterback sleepers

How do you describe a sleeper? Is it simply someone who will do better than expected? Or do you prefer deep sleepers, players left for dead who resurrect their NFL Fantasy lives with a big play or a big day?

By either standard, NFL Fantasy quarterback sleepers are tough. Especially in a week when the guys who are supposed to be good, are. It’s great that Andy Dalton scored more points than expected, but he still ended up as only the 16th best NFL Fantasy quarterback last week.

But, if you’re looking for a second quarterback or a worthy handcuff in case Aaron Rodgers or Marcus Mariota sits out, here are some potential NFL Fantasy quarterback sleepers to consider:

Best bet: Alex Smith vs Indianapolis

For the life of me, I can’t imagine why so many NFL Fantasy owners are down on Alex Smith. He takes care of the ball, plays behind a decent offensive line with a running game to distract people, and his receiving options aren’t terrible. He’s a veteran coming off a QB-4 NFL Fantasy season.

Last week, he only threw for 255 yards in a run-dominant attack against a lesser offensive opponent. Because he doesn’t throw interceptions, Smith’s two touchdowns made him the 11th highest scorer in a week with a lot of stellar quarterback fantasy performances.

In Week 2, Andrew Luck will be throwing at the Redskins’ defense. I’d say there is a really good chance Alex Smith gets his wide receivers more involved. Smith is the most underrated NFL quarterback this season. This week, he gets to show more of why he should have been drafted higher than his ADP of QB-18.

Good bet: Nick Foles at Buccaneers

Atlanta might have one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL. Sure, Nick Foles looked pretty scattered last week, but a good part of that was the Falcons’ solid play.

Tampa Bay comes in this week with a lesser defense that just got worse with the loss of Vernon Hargreaves. Hargreaves did a lot of his work guarding slot receivers. His absence means a rookie will have the honor of guarding Nelson Agholor.

That alone makes Nick Foles better. We also don’t see Tampa rushing Foles into bad passes on the deep balls or controlling Darren Sproles like the Falcons. A full game from Jay Ajayi makes play action work better for Foles and a Philly-Philly or Philly Special could tack on some receiving yards for the Eagles Super Bowl MVP.

Not a terrible bet: Sam Darnold vs. Miami

Sam Darnold got off to the worst possible start to his career when he threw a lame pick-six on his first play from scrimmage. It could have pushed him into a panic. Instead, he said it pushed all his worst fears out of his mind.

He only threw 20 more passes from that point, with two touchdowns and no more miscues. A total meltdown by Detroit put the Jets into a running mode early. At home against Miami, even if another route develops, I think coach Todd Bowles lets Darnold show some more of his talent in Week 2.

Don’t bet on it: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Philadelphia

As much as I am secretly rooting for Ryan Fitzpatrick to go 3-0 in Jameis Winston’s absence, I don’t see the Buccaneers getting past this week. The Eagles will be ready and able to harass Fitzpatrick much more than New Orleans did. Philadelphia will run a bit and control the clock better, too.

It is possible Fitzpatrick finds himself playing catch-up and forcing the ball. I don’t think he will do so with the effect he did last week. He drops from 42 to 14 (standard) NFL Fantasy points this week.

Most of my sleepers didn’t wake up on time last week to have much of an impact. But this week, I can already see them fidgeting under the covers. I wouldn’t bench Tom Brady for any of them, but they’ll be ready if needed elsewhere.

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