We’re in the third week of preseason and most starting quarterback jobs have been secured. There was very little turnover at the most important position on the field this offseason. Arizona, Oakland, Buffalo, and possibly the Jets will have a new leader under center to start the season.
Thus it’s a little difficult to find a sleeper. Some second year players like Ryan Tannehill, and a make-or-break year from Jake Locker have been touched upon, but below are some established names that might be poised for solid years.
Depending on how deep your league is, many of these guys could be excellent fits on two-quarterback teams.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
A load of veterans on the offensive line should protect Bradford right from the start. Last year he was tied for eighth in the league with 35 sacks taken. Still he stayed healthy and tossed a career-high of 3,702 yards and 21 TDs. Couple better protection with a very hyped year for running back Daryl Richardson and rookie receiver Tavon Austin, and Bradford may finally have the exact arsenal he needs.
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Targets may be an issue, with rookie DeAndre Hopkins suffering a concussion, and leading receiver Andre Johnson another year older. But during his six years in Houston Schaub has completed 65.1 percent of his passes, and averaged nearly 3,500 yards, and 19 touchdowns. He shouldn’t be your No. 1 starter, but in a two-quarterback league he’d be an excellent second option.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Unfortunately for Smith he kind of became the poster boy for why players refuse to tell coaches if they’re really suffering from a head injury. He lost his spot to Colin Kaepernick, and was eventually traded to K.C. Arguably he has a far better supporting cast with the Chiefs, and a better offensive coach in Andy Reid. Smith was on pace to surpass his career-high in touchdown passes before he got hurt, and other than his second year in the league, he hasn’t been very prone to turnovers. Smith could be a reasonable plug-in when bye weeks start, considering K.C. doesn’t have theirs until Week 10.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
The dream of a talented quarterback "figuring it out" has never been more evident than in Cutler this year. This great piece details the plethora of QBs who had amazing years after the age of 30, especially with the Bears revamping their offensive line, and the addition of Martellus Bennett at tight end. We already touched on the number of quarterbacks with 600-plus pass attempts jumping last year, and the last time Cutler had that many attempts was 2008, when he tossed a career-high 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ok, he followed up his uneven 2009 rookie year of 10 TDs-to-18 INTs, with a 25-to-6 in 2010. Then Freeman had a 16-to-22 in 2011, only to blast a 27-to-17 ratio last season. Might be risky, but with defenses keying on rusher Doug Martin, and two of most consistent receivers in the league in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, Freeman is ranked far too low. According to FantasyPros he’s the 128th ranked player, way too low for a guy who posted 4,065 yards last season. Not to mention Tampa’s receivers will help him immensely, ranking third in the league last year in yards at the catch per reception, a new stat conjured up by Sporting Charts.