Using average draft position, there are three great values for fantasy backup QB's this season
One of the things that help make a successful fantasy draft isn't always about who you select to start for your fantasy team, but rather who you put on your bench. Generally, I prefer to populate my bench with guys who have high upsides as opposed to being steady producers. Typically in most fantasy leagues the free agent wire is littered with the proven steady guys who produce mediocre fantasy points on a consistent basis. The boom or bust types are harder to get on the free agent wire as everyone waits until the player booms and then there's the waivers process to go thru. If you're not first in line, you usually lose out.
One position in particular I like to have a high upside guy is at my backup fantasy quarterback position. Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub are nice "safe" choices as they will rarely have that stinker game. Conversely they also rarely have big games. I prefer someone who stands a reasonable chance of being an every week fantasy points producer. There are two reasons:
1) Guys who have boom factor that hit become valuable trade commodities.
2) If my starter gets injured, I have a quality option to plug into my starting lineup for however long it takes for my regular starter to return.
Now, of course, not every "high upside guy" is going to pan out. You do run the risk of being stuck with a dud. But that's part of fantasy football. As much as we try to make sure we have you covered with the preparation side of the equation, there is a luck (good and bad) factor that will trump it.
With that in mind, I have been keeping track of the quarterback position in a few Average Draft Position providers with an eye towards standard scoring and 12 team leagues. In my research I have identified 3 quarterbacks as being great values as fantasy backup quarterbacks. I plan on targeting one of these 3 to be my backup in fantasy leagues. I feel that for where they are being drafted, their upsides have them squarely in fantasy football sleepers territory in 2013.
1) Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
ADP: 133rd player selected; 1st pick of round 12
Cutler hasn't had much fantasy football value since he was a Bronco. In his 4 years in Chicago, Cutler has yet to reach 3,700 passing yards or 28 passing TD's. He had a passing guru in Mike Martz as offensive coordinator for 2 seasons, but without great talent at WR or an offensive line capable of protecting him, Cutler fizzled in what had been a proven offensive system when those other pieces were in place. 2012 saw the Bears try to return to more of a rushing attack despite Cutler finally having a big time WR in Brandon Marshall. The lack of success led to a new coaching staff being brought in. New coach Marc Trestman runs a shorter controlled passing style of offense and has been praised for his work with quarterbacks. Cutler will be one of the most naturally talented passers Trestman has worked with. The Bears added a solid pass catching TE in free agent Martellus Bennett, and also have a developing good young WR in Alshon Jeffery. Former starter Earl Bennett was regularly miscast in the past as a starting WR and will move into the #3 role, where he fits best. The fact that 2013 is a contract year for Cutler is just icing on the cake.
2) Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
ADP: 151st player selected; 7th pick in round 13
Palmer managed to throw for 4,018 yards and 22 TD's in Oakland last season. With his top two receptions leaders being a blocking TE and a FB. In Arizona, Palmer will have an elite NFL WR in Larry Fitzgerald; an underrated pass catching TE in Rob Housler; and two other WR's (Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts) who have high upsides. He's also in an aggressive vertical passing attack brought in by new coach Bruce Arians. The only thing Palmer could want would be a proven offensive line. While the QB's were subpar in Arizona last season, they certainly weren't helped out much by the protection they received. While I have my questions about Palmer's arm strength being anywhere near what it used to be, Arians thinks it's still plenty strong enough for his offensive style. Palmer has his share of issues to overcome, but if he does, he'll put up borderline starting fantasy numbers more weeks than not. Considering how late he's lasting on average, he's well worth the selection.
3) Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ADP: 153rd player selected; 9th pick of round 13
Freeman being available this late is nigh criminal. I believe there are two reasons for it. First is a head coach who drafted a rookie in Mike Glennon and then all spring lumped praise all over the rookie while challenging Freeman to cut down on his turnovers. Second is Freeman's awful last 3 games of the 2012 season where he threw only 2 TD passes compared to 9 interceptions. Lost in here is a 6 game stretch in the middle of the season where Freeman threw 17 TD passes and only 2 interceptions. Lost in here is a young, emerging QB who threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 TD's in 2012. Finally, what is lost is that Freeman is in a contract year. The Bucs have him on a "prove it" 2013 season. This will be his second season in head coach Greg Schiano's system. He's got two excellent WR's in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. He has a great running game to take pressure off of him with Doug Martin (an excellent pass catching RB, too). Whereas fantasy drafters so far are taking Freeman as a low end backup fantasy QB, I am completely on the other side of the fence and think of him as being a high end backup fantasy QB. In round 12, I will have no problem selecting him and making sure I have him as my backup before his ADP catches up to him.