Finding the Most Undervalued QBs for 2023 (Fantasy Football)

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Over the past few years, the average draft position (ADP) for quarterbacks has been rising. We have reached a point where it’s not rare to see up to three QBs going in the second round of a one-QB league draft. Even some in the late-round QB crowd have been willing to take QBs around the fifth or sixth round.

In this crazy QB economy, it’s more important than ever to find those with double-digit ADPs that have the potential to exceed everyone’s expectations. I’m not just talking about sleepers or undervalued players that are going one or two rounds later than they should. The goal here is to find that ONE quarterback that will outperform his ADP more than any other QB.

I’m going to make the case for three candidates with very different ADPs surrounded by very different situations, but all of them with enough potential to finish way above their ADP if things go their way. Let’s dive deep into the QB ADP abyss!

Geno SmithSeattle Seahawks (Current ADP: QB15)

Many analysts consider Geno Smith this year’s Kirk Cousins – the late quarterback target you’re OK to leave your draft with if you didn’t get the other QB you wanted. But he might be much better than just “OK.” 

A Surprising 2022 Season

Geno Smith is being drafted as the QB15, which is crazy after what he did last year. I don’t see his QB5 finish as an anomaly. He simply did what Pete Carroll asked of him and he delivered. The Seahawks nailed their 2022 draft picks and improved their offensive line considerably, which helped Geno exceed expectations in many key quarterback metrics:

Metric Finish
Passing Yards 8th
Passing TDs 4th
Deep Ball Accuracy 3rd
Money Throws 3rd

For those questioning his age, “money throws” is a metric Player Profiler defines as “a completed pass requiring exceptional skill or athleticism as well as critical completions in clutch moments during the game.” In other words, it means Geno still has the juice to execute athletic plays.

He accomplished all of this in part due to his skills and his offensive line, but he also had a great set of weapons in big names such as DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and rookie RB Kenneth Walker III. Those playmakers are still there for him and guess what? The Seahawks just got him two more weapons with elite potential: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB Zach Charbonnet

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There isn’t much reason to doubt him or to rank him as low as QB15. I’m not saying he will repeat his QB5 finish this season. But that’s definitely within his range of outcomes. The Seahawks have been doing a good job, and have made the most out of the trade in which they got rid of Russell Wilson. Of course, Geno Smith won’t be their QB of the future, but I genuinely think he could be one of the QBs to finish farthest up from his current ADP.

Matthew StaffordLos Angeles Rams (Current ADP: QB21)

A 2022 Season to Forget

After winning the Super Bowl, Matthew Stafford felt like a viable late-round QB in 2022. Nevertheless, the Rams had a disastrous season right from the NFL kickoff game. He played only nine games due to a spinal cord contusion and things simply didn’t work out for the Rams’ offense as a whole in those games that he played. He appeared to have a clear decline from 2021 to 2022. But let’s compare his general stats from those two seasons prior.

Where Did the Super Bowl Magic Go?

2021 was a special year for Matthew Stafford. He had his best QB rating ever, finishing as the QB3 in passing yards and scoring 41 TDs, tying his personal record from his most glorious year with Calvin Johnson back in 2011. 

The only negative stat from his Super Bowl-winning season would be that he led the league with 17 interceptions. But despite that, he still managed to finish as the QB5. It’s worth mentioning that Josh Allen and Justin Herbert (that season’s QB1 and QB2) had 15 interceptions each. Gunslingers with a lot of passing yards are more likely to get intercepted. It’s been a constant in Stafford’s career so we shouldn’t expect him to improve in that department.

Year Games Played Avg Pass Yds Total Pass Yds Pass Att. Comp. Comp. % TDs INTs QB Rating
2021 17 287.4 4,886 601 404 67.2% 41 17 102.9
2022 9 231.9 2,087 303 206 68.0% 10 8 87.4

When we look at both seasons together, his 2022 stats might not look great at first glance, but if we extrapolate his pass attempts and completions to 17 games, he’s actually not that far from his 2021 numbers. His fantasy production was mainly affected by the touchdowns. He was on pace to score less than half the TDs he scored in 2021. This is great news because it means that his skill and athleticism in general haven’t declined. He can still reach the high passing volume we need from pocket passers to score a lot of fantasy points. His amount of TDs should regress positively.


Right now there’s a huge discrepancy between Matthew Stafford’s ADP and what the fantasy football community expects from Cooper Kupp in 2023. If we think Kupp will have a 2021-level season, we should be expecting the same from Stafford. If these two players can stay healthy during the majority of the season and Sean McVay can fix at least some of the issues that made last season one to forget, Matthew Stafford should finish considerably higher than his current QB21 ADP and maybe even inside the top 12.

Sam HowellWashington Commanders (Current ADP: QB30)

This is a very different case from the other two quarterbacks highlighted in this article. And it’s obviously a long shot to bet on the QB30. But let’s keep in mind that the goal here is to determine which QBs have enough potential to finish the farthest up from their current ADP. 

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A Nonexistent 2022 Season

There are not enough stats from Sam Howell’s rookie season on which to build his case on. He was only allowed to play one game in Week 18, once the Commanders were out of the playoff picture, and it wasn’t terrible. He completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, which was enough to beat the Cowboys and earn him 19.3 fantasy points. Since that sample is all we’ve got from his NFL production, we have to look at his college profile and how it fits into his current situation.

College Production

Entering his junior campaign in 2021, he was projected to be the top quarterback in the 2022 draft class, which wasn’t a particularly brilliant one. That last college season didn’t turn out to be as spectacular as everyone expected, especially in the passing department. Arm talent is not Sam Howell‘s forte, but let’s take a peek at what could balance his fantasy production scales: his rushing stats.

Year Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Rushing TDs
2019 94 35 1
2020 92 146 5
2021 183 828 11

Sam Howell’s career was a story of improvement in rushing efficiency. To put things into perspective, Justin Fields never ran for more than 500 yards or scored more than 10 rushing TDs in any of his college seasons, and we were all pretty happy with what he did in his sophomore NFL campaign with far less exciting weapons.

An Arsenal Waiting to be Used

Remember last year, when everyone was saying Tua Tagovailoa just had to do a decent, average job to be fantasy-relevant thanks to the elite talent around him? Well, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson might not be as elite as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but they’re definitely among the most talented WR duos in the NFL. Antonio Gibson is also an interesting weapon at Howell’s disposal, now that Head Coach Ron Rivera seems to have finally discovered his passing chops. Sam Howell just needs to be competent enough to put the ball in these guys’ hands to boost his own fantasy production.

New Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s arrival is also good news for Sam Howell. Ron Rivera seems to be retirement-bound so things might be done the Bieniemy way from now on. He has already told the media how competitive and smart he thinks Howell is and they both seem to get along pretty well. Howell has been learning the Bieniemy system and beat reporters seem to be confident that he will be the starter. I’m not going to start comparing Sam Howell to Patrick Mahomes, but if Bieniemy starts working with this offense in a similar way to what he did with the Chiefs, the Washington Commanders will surprise a lot of people this season.


Sam Howell is a mobile, non-rookie quarterback, who has a cast of phenomenal weapons at his disposal, an elite offensive coordinator, and a shot to be the starter. Will he finish as a QB1? Almost certainly not. But all these reasons might be enough for him to finish farthest up from his ADP than any other QB. Mike has him ranked as QB18. That’s 12 spots above his ADP and the highest among the Fantasy Footballers QB Rankings. Whatever happens, I’m sure we will at least be talking about him as a QB streamer in several weeks.

What do you think about these three quarterbacks? Is there another one you think should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments!

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