Quarterbacks drive the offensive machines in real life but in NFL fantasy leagues they can be a mixed bag. Who are some possible sleepers in 2014?
Eli Manning – New York Giants
Few quarterbacks have given NFL fantasy owners more headaches than Eli Manning over the past decade. The younger brother is a marvel of inconsistency. One year he’s going to a Pro Bowl and winning a championship, the next he’s careening to a season in which he throws more interceptions than touchdowns as he did in 2013. Hopes are high that improved protection, a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo and more weaponry such as Odell Beckham Jr. will return Eli to his borderline elite form.
Josh McCown – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
More than a small share of experts thought the Chicago Bears should stay with Josh McCown when he relieved an injured Jay Cutler last season. That is how well the 35-year old journeyman played, throwing for over 1,800 yards and 13 touchdowns to just one interception. Now he takes over a Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense in transition but boasting an intriguing array of talented and big targets such as Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. If he plays like he did in Chicago, he is a definite fantasy option.
Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams
If it’s not one thing, it’s another with Sam Bradford. First it was zero continuity with the coaching staff, then it was lacking weapons and most recently it has been injuries. The fact is the St. Louis Rams quarterback is running out of excuses. His team has done a marvelous job upgrading the roster. Both the offensive line and receiving corps have improved. Bradford is expect to finally live up to his hefty billing as a #1 overall pick. NFL fantasy owners can only hope.
E.J. Manuel – Buffalo Bills
Similar expectations surround second-year man E.J. Manuel. He showed flashes of his talent for the Buffalo Bills last season but was never able to find a rhythm most due to his being a rookie and also poorly protected. The Bills took steps to correct those problems. Manuel is healthy and also has a new toy in receiver Sammy Watkins. He is poised for big things in 2014 provided he can learn to protect himself.
Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans
Ken Whisenhunt has built a reputation for salvage projects over his career. He turned the Arizona Cardinals into a contender, revitalized the San Diego Chargers and now will try at it again with the Tennessee Titans. How did he do it? A huge part of the secret was being able to coach up the quarterback position. Whisenhunt has a feel for it as evidenced by the revivals of Kurt Warner and Philip Rivers. Could the same happen for Jake Locker? Thus far the 2011 first round pick hasn’t realized his potential, but with a good cast forming on offense, Whisenhunt could be the piece that was missing to push him over the top.