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.

When you play in a Superflex league, getting good value out of the quarterback position is key. Finding someone at value at quarterback that can help your team win is the quickest way to contention. Usually when looking at quarterback sleepers, I tend toward the quarterbacks on low-end squads that could end up being a surprise—especially if there’s a competition that splits people’s focus. That’s the case with today’s candidate, Gardner Minshew.

Minshew—sometimes dubbed Captain Jorts for his unique sense of fashion—burst onto the scene with the Jaguars. He ended up getting displaced with the team, which took Trevor Lawrence. After that, he spent 2021 and 2022 backing up Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, then came to back up Anthony Richardson in Indianapolis last season. When Richardson was injured and missed the bulk of the season, Minshew stepped in.

Now, he’s signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Could there be value in acquiring him? Let’s dive in.

The Case for Gardner Minshew

Minshew is probably an underrated quarterback. For his career, he’s thrown for 9,937 yards, with 59 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He’s completed 62.6 percent of his passes, starting 37 games in his career. His record as a starter isn’t great, owing to being on a poor team early in his career, but he’s a respectable 15-22.

Last season, with the Colts, Minshew was called on early and stayed in the starting position. The team finished 9-8, nearly making the playoffs. Minshew was 7-6 in his 11 starts, throwing for 3,305 yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. That was good enough to finish as QB21 on the season. He wasn’t flashy, but he was efficient and finished as a solid QB2 for fantasy. Currently, Minshew is going as QB33. If he gets the starting job and continues his efficiency from 2023, then he could end up being a value, especially if you get him as a third or fourth QB option.

So, why is his ADP lower? It has to do with his competition.

The Case Against Gardner Minshew

Minshew isn’t the only quarterback on the Raiders’ roster with a chance to start. He was signed to add veteran competition to second-year quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who started 10 games for the Raiders in 2023. So, isn’t O’Connell the incumbent starter? Well, that’s where it gets tricky, but the answer could be yes.

O’Connell was a Fourth-Round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was taken by former coach Josh McDaniels and ended up ascending to the starting position in place of Jimmy Garoppolo. When Antonio Pierce took over as Head Coach, O’Connell got the gig for the rest of the season. The Raiders finished 8-9, second in the AFC West, with O’Connell going 5-5 in his 10 starts, including a December win over the Kansas City Chiefs. While he held up reasonably well, his stats don’t blow you away. He completed 62.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,218 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But he played more like a game manager, even in wins. In the win against the Chiefs, O’Connell didn’t even complete a pass in the second half.

Still, the Raiders played well enough under Pierce for him to earn the full-time job. That seemed to be a vote of confidence toward O’Connell. The question now is if Minshew can unseat him.

The Bottom Line

Minshew’s best season came in his rookie year in 2019 with the Jaguars. He started 12 games and went 6-6, finishing as QB20. That suggests his ceiling might well be a solid but lower-end QB2. That’s good enough for fantasy, depending on the cost. But will it be good enough for the Raiders?

It would appear the Raiders have two options with relatively stable floors but potentially lower ceilings. Minshew has more experience, having played for six seasons and three other teams. He presents a reliable option and one that could well keep the team in the playoff hunt with the right mix of offense and defense. O’Connell is more of a Wild Card. He looked good enough during his rookie sample. With a new Offensive Coordinator, both players are on somewhat of an even footing.

While some believe O’Connell is the guy, I’m not so sure. A $25 million deal is a fair amount for a player you consider just a backup. I think Minshew will get a shot, and right now, I think he’s more likely to end up as the Raiders’ starter. If I can scoop him up cheap, I’m doing just that.

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.

Get Our Newsletter

Get notified periodic notifications about our content and future subscription deals.

You May Also Like

2024 Sleeper Candidates: Devin Singletary

Will the Giants’ new running back be effective in fantasy in 2024?

2024 Sleeper Candidates: Gus Edwards

Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh together means we REALLY want a piece of the rushing attack. @Knighthawk7734 lays out the case for Gus Edwards – could he be a SLEEPER in 2024?