We’re approaching the 2024 season. Every year, a few players seize on the right opportunity and surprise for fantasy players. The value comes from trying to predict who it will end up being this time of year and stashing them. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at some 2024 sleeper candidates at each of the key fantasy positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Hopefully, these are players you can acquire at a value that will propel you to fantasy glory.

Today I’m looking at something of a longshot who is in the mix for the New York Giants. While I know you might be tempted to think I mean Daniel Jones, the quarterback I want to talk about is Drew Lock. You might be thinking, what gives? Well, I mentioned this could be a long shot. It could also end up being a big-time value at a position where it’s sometimes hard to find value and options.

The hope is with some better passing game weapons—namely Malik Nabers—that the Giants’ passing game can improve. If it does, it could well be Lock and not Jones that takes advantage. Let’s dive into the argument.

The Case for Drew Lock

It’s not hard to believe Jones is on the bubble in New York. There were persistent rumors throughout the draft process that the Giants would take a quarterback despite the poison pill if Jones was to be released. Ultimately, they took Nabers, and Jones will get a chance to prove he’s the guy. But the Giants aren’t without options. In fact, supposedly one of the reasons Lock chose the Giants over other suitors was the possibility he could earn the starting spot.

The Giants had three quarterbacks start at least five games in 2023. Of those three—Jones, Tyrod Taylor, and Tommy DeVito—Jones finished with the worst record (1-5) and the worst numbers. The Giants weren’t a good team, with Taylor going 2-3 in his starts and DeVito ending up 3-3 in his starts, but Jones was the weakest link. Taylor completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 1,341 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions, while DeVito completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,101 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. In six starts, though Jones completed more than 67 percent of his passes, he had just 909 yards, two touchdowns, and six interceptions.

It’s more than possible the Giants are hedging their bets. Should Jones return to his 2022 form, he could be the Giants’ starter. And he could be a viable fantasy option, having finished as QB9 in that season. But if he stumbles, it could be Lock’s chance to show he learned a lot in his time in Seattle.

Lock didn’t play much the past few seasons, but when called upon in 2023, he finished 1-1 in place of Geno Smith, even leading the Seahawks to a win over the Eagles and playing the eventual NFC Champion 49ers tough. We’ve seen Lock show his potential before, too. In five games as a rookie in 2019—a part of the same draft class as Jones—he finished as QB24 over those starts. With Brian Daboll in his corner and a bona fide No. 1 option in Nabers, Lock could do it again.

The Case Against Drew Lock

But it’s still a long shot. To say Lock’s time with the Broncos was uneven is a kindness. After showing flashes in five games to end his rookie season, Lock got a shot in 2020. It wasn’t good. He started 13 games, winning just four. He had 16 touchdowns but 15 interceptions and eight fumbles. His turnover struggles, in fact, are reminiscent of the struggles of Jones early in his career.

In Denver, Lock was benched for Teddy Bridgewater in 2021 then traded for Russell Wilson. He figured to get a do-over in Seattle but the chance to prove himself never came. So, aside from a couple of decent relief appearances in 2023, there’s little evidence he’s changed or that he can be a franchise player. In fact, Jones has shown more spark, improvement, and upside in his career, including a Top 10 season in 2022.

The presence of Jones is also a big knock against Lock. Jones was drafted by the Giants and signed a massive contract prior to last season. He will be given a chance to prove that 2022 wasn’t a fluke, and he has just as good a chance as Lock to earn the starting job—probably better. He could also return somewhat to form, or even to his 2021 form when he was QB19 through Week 12 prior to getting injured and missing time. That finish is still better than any finish Lock has posted. In fact, a fair number of folks think Jones could be the one poised for a sleeper season in 2024.

The Bottom Line

Taking a player who is currently listed as a backup to potentially spark your team is a gamble. But given that in Superflex leagues, most all quarterbacks are rostered, you could be looking for some lottery tickets to round things out. Lock is currently going as QB43 in PPR and is largely undrafted. This means he is likely a free add heading into the pre-season, where anything is possible.

Between his uneven play and missing time, Jones is far from a sure bet. If I’m hard up at the quarterback position, I’m grabbing players that could have a path to touches. Lock is free and worth a stash—at least until we see how this team comes together on the field in August.

Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.

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