Our Week 1 sleepers features under-the-radar players that are currently being started in less than 50% of fantasy football leagues. These players could produce good fantasy numbers this week due to a favorable matchup, injury, or other circumstances. For your final lineup decisions, check out our Week 1 player rankings and if you have any fantasy football questions, feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
It’s Week 1, so you really don’t have any excuse for needing a sleeper QB to start. However, I wanted to go on record as saying I believe in this Taylor character in Buffalo. The Bills are going to play insane defense, run the ball a ton, and pass when they have to. The fact that Taylor probably won’t hit a ton of deep balls is irrelevant to me – he’s a dual threat guy who has shown the ability to be accurate in short – medium range throws, and he gives the defense something else to think about past LeSean McCoy. The Colts defense doesn’t really scare anyone (they’re about league average), and they might even be without some playmakers for Week 1. I think Taylor could easily net 50-75 yards on the ground, maybe 200 passing yards and a passing TD.
Whelp, the matchup is about as bad as it could possibly be, I’ll give you that. But much of fantasy is about opportunity, and assuming Tre Mason continues to be out of practice, it sure looks like Cunningham will have the chance to be the lead Rams back for their clash with Seattle. While I’m not expecting great things from him, he would probably get 10-12 carries and several receptions, and you’re really hoping for a goal line plunge of the one-yard variety. He’s not a great standard league option, but in deeper formats he could be a one week difference maker.
Continuing with the previous theme of one week wonders, I give you DeAngelo Williams. One Le’Veon Bell returns from suspension, he’s worthless, and a definite drop. But until then, Williams could return RB3 value as the key man in the backfield for the Steelers. I’d rate him as a FLEX play for Week 1, with the upside to score 9+ fantasy points on around 15 total touches.
I know it’s early in the week, and it’s Week 1 to boot, but someone explain to me how nobody seems to have any inclination whatsoever to start Coleman. He’s less than 20% started at this time, and I feel like that deserves notice. Coleman has flashed serious potential during the preseason, and his only speed bump on the way to the feature back job is generally ineffective Devonta Freeman, who also happens to still be hurt. The Falcons are going to have to hand the ball off to someone, so what’s the reason it won’t be their handpicked rookie? I’m feeling a Coleman explosion big time, and am going to investigate using him in daily leagues as well.
Randle is kind of a knucklehead, but I just can’t seem to quit him. His talent is so immense, and his situation so good that it’s hard to look past him, and again I’m going to take the leap. Victor Cruz is looking pretty likely to miss Week 1 with (pick your injury), Odell Beckham Jr. is going to dominate defensive attention, and the Giants are headed to Dallas for what looks to be a shootout with the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The over for this game is currently at 49.5, one of the highest totals for Week 1. In my mind, Randle is worth a look both this week and as a hold for future weeks if he can perform and Cruz continues to have setbacks.
Brown’s my boy, Blue! I love this guy. I think he’s in for a monster season, and furthermore I think he’s in for a monster Week 1. The Cards are matched up against a leaky New Orleans defense, at home, and have Carson Palmer back at QB. Fun fact: Brown actually *lived* with Palmer during the offseason for awhile. Brown and Palmer showed off their chemistry during the preseason, and I think the Brown show gets underway immediately. JB reminds me of a T.Y. Hilton, the year before he truly broke out. I don’t imagine I’ll get to use him in sleeper columns for long.
I’m definitely eating my Wheatons this week. Pittsburgh is missing two huge Roethlisberger targets (Bryant and Bell), and they’re playing New England at Foxboro. To me, this equals a passing-heavy attack from the Steelers, since their brutally poor defense suggests they’ll fall behind early. The over for this game is 48.5, which further bodes well for the offensive upside of a Wheaton play. I think he’s a breakout guy for 2015 – count me in.
This one seems pretty easy to me. The Steelers are without Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant for their opening game, and it seems likely they’ll be playing from behind against the Patriots. Put it all together, and it seems like the extra targets will go somewhere – Miller is a great bet to get more than his usual share here. I see him going for 6 catches and 75 yards with the possibility of a touchdown here, making him a strong budget option in Week 1 for both standard and daily leagues.
Maybe I’m just a blatant Redskins homer (Guilty) but I see some definite opportunity here for Reed. I consider the ascension of Kirk Cousins to the starting QB spot an upgrade for Washington pass-catchers, and also feel like Reed is flying under the radar. The question with Jordan hasn’t ever been his talent, but his durability – dude can’t ever stay on the field. He’ll never be healthier than he is now, and I expect the Redskins to have trouble running the ball against a much-improved Miami run defense. If he can avoid injury, I think his prospects for this week, and the year, have sky-high potential.
In a weird twist of fantasy fate, I think both defenses in this matchup are worth of sleeper consideration for Week 1. There are a couple of facts to consider here, the first being the over for this game is a measly 40 points. Vegas tends to know a thing or two about offenses, and they’re predicting very few fireworks here. Jets stand-in QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is known for throwing his share of interceptions, and the Browns should be able to hold up well against an underwhelming, conservative, and TE-less Jets offense. This could very well end up a 17-10 type game, with both defenses rewarding owners who took a risk on them.
New York Jets
I’m also all over the Jets in Week 1 for both fantasy and daily purposes. Not only are they at home, but they’re facing the Browns, who are inept both offensively and organizationally. I can’t imagine Josh McCown striking fear into the hearts of New York cornerbacks, and Cleveland fields a less-than-optimal RBBC that’s also probably minus Duke Johnson (still in concussion protocol). Dwayne Bowe is probably the most accomplished WR that made the Browns roster – what else do you need to know?