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2012 QB Sleepers / Breakout

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With perhaps the deepest class of quarterbacks heading into the draft, you would think there wouldn’t be much room for possible sleepers and breakout options, but there are some quarterbacks we need to keep in mind as backups or even names to remember for help off the waiver wire.

The first tier of quarterbacks (The Contenders) below are those I feel are sleepers or undervalued players we need to keep an eye before draft day. In the second tier of quarterbacks (Fringe Prospects) are those options I feel aren’t quite a full-on sleepers but they could be as the season moves along

Please Note: ADP numbers below are from Fantasy Football Calculator as of July 26th.

Sleepers – QB | RB | WR |Busts

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The Contenders

Jay Cutler (14th, 10.04) –

Offensive line concerns are all that stand in the way of Cutler moving into the top ten fantasy quarterbacks. By mid-season, the Bears finally figured out that they were best off going to three and five-step drops and the passing game improved.

Finally, Chicago has given Cutler the kind of weapons he needs for success as they landed Brandon Marshall via trade and selected Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez in the draft.

Let us not forget about potential breakout inline tight end Kellen Davis, who will see regular playing time now that Mike Martz is gone.

If you can land Cutler as a back in the ninth or tenth round, jump on it. In previous seasons it would be a good idea to use the waiver wire, but in today’s game you need a quarterback to produce, and Cutler is a great insurance policy that could start for you if needed.

For those of you in twelve team leagues or deeper, Cutler is a solid starter to pick up if you should decide to wait.

Jake Locker (not listed) –

Perhaps Matt Hasselbeck will win the job to begin the year as the Titans have a difficult early part of the schedule. Still, Locker will put heat on him in the preseason and will takeover this job by some point in October.

I like Locker’s odds to be a weekly fantasy starter but November, especially if Kenny Britt can heal up and start to flash the talent we saw at the beginning of last year.

Don’t expect Britt or Locker to give you much early on. With Britt, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Jared Cook and Chris Johnson as compliments, have talent in place for consistent production out of the passing game.


Fringe Prospects

John Skelton (not listed) –

Recent reports suggest that the Cardinals locker room is trending towards Skelton as the leader of the offense. No surprise to me, just look at the tape of Kevin Kolb, does he look inspiring to you?

Not to me, and his cowardice when the pocket collapses on him is something that will cause his teammates to distance themselves from him more in the future. Skelton may have some rough points and his offensive line is poor, but as the season moves along, he could post a solid second half.

Alex Smith (22nd, 14.03) –

As a 49ers fan, maybe this one is a little optimistic but believe me, I certainly never thought this guy would still be the my teams starter by 2012, as soon as last summer. With a full off-season with coach Harbaugh is going to help Smith be a more decisive quarterback.

Smith should also benefit from a motivated Randy Moss, an overall upgrade at the receiver position and a schedule that suggest the 49ers will have to throw the football more to win.

Tim Tebow (not listed) –

It’s hard to call Tebow a sleeper after the success he had in Denver but it appears the former Broncos will begin the season as a backup to Mark Sanchez. Don’t look for Sanchez to hold the starting job long, as the Jets offense is set for a heavy run game, best suited to Tebow’s strengths.

Tebow may not crack the top ten this year, but he’s a worthy backup for your team, when he takes over.

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