By Brian Kalchik @RantsportsBrian on July 18, 2014
Outside of waiting for NFL training camps to begin, there's only one thing left to do before the start of the 2014 NFL season: scrutinize every player who could possibly have fantasy football implications this year. Fantasy football season generally begins with rankings, but it's usually the players towards the bottom of the list who prove to be the most valuable. Here now are five quarterback sleepers to keep an eye on.
Heading into his second season, EJ Manuel is poised for a big year. Manuel got a huge upgrade at wide receiver in rookie Sammy Watkins and veteran Mike Williams. A healthy C.J. Spiller will also get extra yardage for Manuel, and Manuel's knee is finally healthy for the first time since he was drafted. He was also a very underrated runner last year, rushing for 186 yards and scoring two touchdowns on just 53 carries.
This is a make-or-break season for Locker, and aside from changing schemes, the Titans have given him everything he needs with two first-round offensive linemen as well as multiple free-agent signings and several No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers. At times last year, he looked efficient and had a breakout week 7 with 21 points. Remember how Whisenhunt turned around another struggling QB last year in Philip Rivers.
In brief work last year, Josh McCown tossed 13 touchdowns and just one interception with the Bears. He averaged 350 passing yards in one three-game stretch, only to lose the job to a healthy Jay Cutler. Now the presumed starter in Tampa Bay and with Vincent Jackson/Mike Evans playing the roles Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery did in Chicago, he can just throw it up and let his tall receivers go get it.
Right now, Geno Smith is the starter and the future of the New York Jets, and despite some struggles last year, he actually had a good year. Considering that his best receiver was Jeremy Kerley, Smith threw for just under 2,000 yards in Rex Ryan's conservative offense. Now that the Jets upgraded their personnel with Jace Amaro, Eric Decker and Chris Johnson, Smith will actually have some viable weapons to throw to, opening up the passing game.
Considering all of the circumstances that surrounded Ryan Tannehill last year, he had a good 2013 season, throwing for just under 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns. This came despite offensive line struggles all season, which led to him being the most sacked QB in the league and a nonexistent running game. With new OC Bill Lazor replacing the conservative Mike Sherman, expect Tannehill to have a Nick Foles-like season in an up-tempo offense.
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