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Before the fantasy football competitors in your league plunder the waiver wire after the Week 1 action, get ahead of the curve. Those featured in the season opener will see their stock rise on Sunday night.
We could see some surprises in Week 1, as undrafted fantasy players and back-end draft picks exceed initial expectations. At best, you want to add players who have a chance to maintain their high level of production.
The eight sleeper picks below can post solid fantasy stat lines beyond opening week, though they’re smart add-on early game options for immediate use. This week, we’ve identified two sleeper stacks in favorable matchups.
All players are recommended for the receiving points scoring setup and were included in less than 60 percent of Yahoo’s leagues as of Wednesday at 10 pm ET.
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Draft Kings DFS Price: $5,300
Remember what Jameis Winston did in his 2021 season debut against the Green Bay Packers? He threw for 148 yards and five touchdowns. Sure, his passing total wasn’t something to celebrate, but the New Orleans Saints’ signal-caller had an incredibly efficient outing and finished fourth (29.6 points) among quarterbacks in Week 1 scoring.
Before Winston tore his ACL with ACL damage in Week 8, he only threw three interceptions in seven starts. Entering his eighth season, he’s not the same turnover-prone quarterback who led the league in interceptions (30) for the 2019 period.
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons allowed 31 touchdown passes and tied for sixth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Winston could post big numbers with Michael Thomas, whose status in Week 1 continues to trend on the correct addressJarvis Landry and first-round rookie Chris Olave.
Even though the Falcons have a potential rising star cornerback in AJ Terrell and signed boundary coverage man Casey Hayward, the Saints have too many playmakers for Atlanta’s defense with their three wide receivers plus the contributions of running back Alvin Kamara. in the passing game from the backfield.
Managers should be comfortable with Winston in the Week 1 starting lineup.
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Draft Kings DFS Price: $5,500
Carson Wentz’s 2021 season ended on a sour note in a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a loss that kept the Indianapolis Colts out of the playoffs. He may be itching to redeem himself against this particular opponent.
Additionally, Wentz will have wide receivers Terry McLaurin, rookie first-round pick Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel on the perimeter along with JD McKissic at wide receiver from the backfield. Compared to his pass-catching unit in Indianapolis that featured an established wide receiver in Michael Pittman Jr., collectively, Wentz has a better group in Washington.
Cornerback Darious Williams will strengthen the Jaguars’ No. 17 pass defense last season, but Wentz could use Dotson’s inside-outside versatility to test Tyson Campbell, who allowed a 66.7 percent completion rate in coverage and 12.4 yards per completion in 2021.
On his third team in three years, Wentz probably understands that this could be his last chance at a starting quarterback job in the NFL. He can come out shooting with his big arm against a defense in transition under a new coaching staff.
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Draft Kings DFS Price: $5,100
Third-round rookie running back Brian Robinson will start the season on the non-football injured list after he was shot by an individual in an attempted robbery. Before the incident, he shared early snaps with Antonio Gibson, who is going to return kicks this season.
Although running back Jonathan Williams could handle some touches while Robinson recovers, JD McKissic’s role probably won’t change from the previous two seasons.
Since 2020, McKissic has served as the Commanders’ leading pass receiver out of the backfield, with 123 passes for 986 yards and four touchdowns.
With the status of tight end Logan Thomas unclear and first-round rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson trying to establish himself on offense, McKissic can be a reliable second option in the passing game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In 2021, the Jaguars tied for 10th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. McKissic has independent fantasy value this week and throughout the 2022 season.
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Draft Kings DFS Price: $4,400
On Monday, head coach John Harbaugh shared an uncertain update on running back JK Dobbins’ status for Week 1, stating “there is a chance” (based on how he practices) that the running back is facing the New York Jets.
Even if Dobbins plays Sunday, it’s unlikely he’ll take the field 100 percent after a torn ACL from August of last year. Also of note, Gus Edwards will miss the first four games on the physically unable to play list while recovering from a torn ACL.
This offseason, the Baltimore Ravens signed Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake. Managers should consider the former who signed with the team in May over the latter, who joined the club just over a week ago.
In offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s rushing offense, Davis could play a big role in Week 1 against the Jets, who allowed the fourth-most rushing yards, the most rushing touchdowns (28) and the most of fantasy points to the runners in last place. season.
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AP Photo/Derick Hingle
Draft Kings DFS Price: $5,000
Among the top three wide receivers for the New Orleans Saints, Jarvis Landry is the safest fantasy option. Unlike Michael Thomas, he doesn’t have an uncertain status on game day, and the five-time Pro Bowler has a huge experience advantage over first-round rookie Chris Olave.
While Olave may need time to adjust to the pro level, Thomas could get a bit rusty in live game action.
Thomas battled a hamstring injury in August and although head coach Dennis Allen said he is “making progress”, the two-time All-Pro wide receiver has not played since January 2021 (the 2020 playoffs).
As Olave learns the ropes of the NFL and Thomas returns to regular-season form, Landry could become the clear target of quarterback Jameis Winston’s upper perimeter for a short period. Because of his work in the slot, he can avoid cornerbacks AJ Terrell and Casey Hayward on the outside and consistently win his matchup against Mike Ford or Dee Alford, who will replace the injured Isaiah Oliver.
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Draft Kings DFS Price: $4,600
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will serve a six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tight end Zach Ertz (calf) is “day to day this week.”
Wide receiver Marquise Brown, whom the Arizona Cardinals acquired during the draft, will try to rekindle his college connection with former Oklahoma teammate Kyler Murray. However, the Cardinals’ passing attack should have more targets for everyone with Hopkins sidelined and Ertz less than 100 percent if he adjusts.
Although AJ Green is past his prime, he had a decent term in 2021, rushing for 54 passes for 848 yards and three touchdowns in Year 1 with Murray. They can take advantage of his connection in the next campaign.
Green will likely open the season as the No. 2 option in the Cardinals’ passing game over second-year wide receiver Rondale Moore, who played mostly out of the slot in 2021, recording 54 receptions for 435 yards and a touchdown.
The Kansas City Chiefs lost their best cornerback in Charvarius Ward via free agency, and first-round rookie Trent McDuffie could see plenty of action in the secondary along with Rashad Fenton (11 career starts) and L’Jarius Sneed. (21 in his career). begin).
With that group of cornerbacks, the Chiefs can be vulnerable at the back, and Green should get some opportunities to capitalize on the inexperience of a young unit.
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AP Photo/John Amis
Draft Kings DFS Price: $3,700
Managers who prefer or plan to stream tight ends throughout the season should take a look at Austin Hooper.
According to ESPN’s Turron Davenport, Hooper emerged as “one of [Ryan] Tannehill’s Preferred Choices in the Passing Game” during organized team activities (OTA). Last month, in a joint practice between the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the two-time Pro Bowler caught seven passes, indicating he could see a steady volume of targets this year.
With wide receiver Robert Woods coming off a torn ACL last November and first-round rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks slow start Plagued by absences, Hooper could open the season as one of the best options in the Titans’ passing game.
Hooper has a history of high production in a breakout role, racking up at least 71 receptions and 660 receiving yards for the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
Although Tennessee has employed an intense running attack featuring running back Derrick Henry, Hooper can make a decent contribution in Week 1 with a handful of targets. The New York Giants can start with Tae Crowder, who gave up a 79.7 percent completion rate, 103 passer rating and four touchdowns in coverage last season, and fifth-round rookie Micah McFadden at inside linebacker.
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Draft Kings DFS Price: $3,500
Apparently, the Jacksonville Jaguars have big plans for Evan Engram. Why else would they pay a tight end $9 million for a one-year deal?
With new head coach and primary playcaller Doug Pederson in charge of the offense, quarterback Trevor Lawrence should make huge strides in his sophomore year. The Jaguars’ primary captain helped Carson Wentz put together a Pro Bowl campaign in 2017 (3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions).
Lawrence’s potential development bodes well for his receivers, including Engram, who has caught at least 44 passes in each of his five years with the New York Giants.
The Jaguars may look to exploit a matchup between Engram and linebacker Jamin Davis, who went through growing pains in his rookie campaign, specifically in coverage, allowing a completion rate of 85.7 percent and passer rating coverage of 107.1. Washington Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb isn’t a reliable coverage defender, either: He allowed a 74.1 percent completion rate, a 95.7 passer rating and three touchdowns in coverage last year.
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Fantasy points scored against stats are provided by FantasyPros.
Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.