Each week during the NFL season FST brings you our Fantasy Football Sleepers of the Week column, which takes a look at lesser-known players that could deserve a start due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. Let’s take a look at some sneaky plays for Week 1. If you have any fantasy football roster questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
New coach, new offense, new season and new challenges posed by Michael Vick’s dual threat in the pocket. As long as Vick stays healthy there is reason for optimism in the city of brotherly love. The Redskins have given up big games to Vick before and he’ll be certainly up to the challenge of playing on the Monday night football stage. The new Chip Kelly up-tempo approach should favor Vick’s game and play-making abilities for max performance starting in week 1.
A Cardinals quarterback with a noticeable name is one of the reasons Palmer makes the list. Carson is not the same QB that put up big time numbers with Cincinnati, but he’s definitely a huge upgrade in a new offense that expects to throw it around much more this season. Expect a return to relevance for Palmer and Fitzgerald as a result in the desert.
With Blaine Gabbert announced as the starter for week 1 and the absence of Blackmon for the first 4 weeks, Cecil Shorts is the #1 receiving option that Jaguars have going now. Shorts has made steady improvement in his first couple seasons and he’s got lightening quick burst. Shorts might not blow the shorts off any stat sheet, but he’ll put up solid numbers going against the Chiefs to kick off the season.
This rookie is expected to start opposite of Andre Johnson. According to pre-season reports he’s a sizable upgrade at the #2 wideout spot and should be counted on to contribute immediately. San Diego leaves much to be desired as a football unit at this time so there is great potential for a stellar debut for the youngster.
The pride of the University of North Carolina, Bernard is a sturdy, small and low-to-the ground runner, which makes him dynamic and elusive. As part of a dual running back system led by the veteran, Green-Ellis, Bernard will continue seeing more action as the season progresses. I expect the Bengals to use him in the passing game and is a far superior threat at taking it the distance. Giovani could have over 100 total purpose yards on Sunday and a TD wouldn’t surprise me.
The Giants have great expectations of Wilson to improve the running game. Bradshaw has gone to the Colts and back up Andre Brown is sidelined the first 4 to 6 weeks. The confidence lies in Wilson to grind out the yards between the tackles for the New York football Giants. Dallas is a division foe and I expect there will be some fireworks in this game on the scoreboard. Wilson is a top notch RB2 option for week 1.
Cook has taken his talents from Nashville to St. Louis where he’s been reunited with Coach Fisher. There appears to be a connection with him and Bradford and he’s a great red zone target with freakish athleticism. Expect more involvement in the offense this season for Cook and for more TD catches as a result. The matchup against the Cardinals should not scare Cook owners either.
Many Redskins fans forget how the wide receiving corps was decimated by injury last season to Garcon and Davis. With these two back to full strength, the options will be plentiful for RGIII as Davis is expected to fill the void in the middle of the field as a talented target. The Eagles have yielded some big games to now retired Redskin, Chris Cooley. I suspect Fred Davis will find a way to exploit some of those open seams in the Eagles defense in the opener.
New England Patriots
Surprise….the New England Patriots are once again a favorite to win the AFC East and represent their conference in the Super Bowl. The offense has received most the accolades while the defense has seen repairs over the last 2 seasons to an aging unit. New England now boosts some youth in its secondary and should be up for the task against a clouded Buffalo Bills offense. Whether it’s EJ Manuel or Washington State University product, Jeff Tuel, it appears there will be ample opportunity for the Patriots to take advantage of having a rookie under center. Expect a TD and turnovers for this Patriots unit to kick off the season.