NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Sleepers

NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Sleepers by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator  Doug Bowles

Fantasy Sleepers are late-round picks or waiver-wire selections who may exceed their statistical expectations. Each week Utter-Fantasy tries to find the sleepers which may be available for you, which we include in our weekly “Waiver Wire” reports, but for the time leading up to the NFL Week 1 regular season game, here are a few player suggestions for especially for those in very deep leagues, or heading into Week 1 with injuries concerns (such as WR Will Fuller in  Houston, RB Jamaal Charles in Kansas City or WR Kevin White in Chicago)


Fantasy Football RB Sleepers

KC RB Spencer Ware- RB Jamaal Charles isn’t playing and Ware is only owned  in 73% of Yahoo Leagues.

SEA RB Christine Michael- HC Pete Carroll said that he was going to “take RB Thomas Rawls slowly through th first few games. that means plenty of carries for Christine Michael, so why is only owned in 60% of Yahoo Leagues?

DET Theo Riddick- A 3rd down back who could have some value in PPR leagues. Only owned in 33% of Yahoo Leagues.

PHIL RB Darren Sproles- A 3rd down back that the fantasy football community has forgotten, could have some value in PPR leagues.

WASH RB Rob Kelley- was the star of the preseason, while Matt Jones barely touched the ball. Don’t be surprised if Kelley is the lead back sooner rather than later. Deep League Pick up


Fantasy Football WR Sleepers

BALT WR Kamar Aiken- This wide receiver came on strong at the end of last year, and very likely is the #1 wide out for the Ravens. WR Smith Smith hasn’t had one minute of action, and Mike Wallace disappoints year after year. Only owned in 60% of Yahoo Leagues.

HOU WR Braxton Miller- WR Will Fuller is dealing with a hamstring injury, and they don’t go away over night. HOU WR Braxton Miller is next up in the depth chart, after Houston released WR Cecil Shorts. Only owned in 5% of Yahoo Leagues.

SD WR Travis Benjamin- QB Philip Rivers told reporters that Benjamin was the fastest wide out that he had ever played with. Benjamin will be a nice deep ball threat all season.

PITT WR Eli Rogers- Ben Roethlisberger believes slot WR Eli Rogers can help take pressure off Antonio Brown. Rogers will open the year in three-receiver sets, kicking Markus Wheaton outside and Sammie Coates to the bench.

CHI WR Eddie Royal- Hardly a surprise….Kevin White (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 1 vs HOU. Will we be writing this about White every year? QB Jay Cutler’s days with WR Royal go back to Denver. PPR sleeper.


Fantasy Football TE Sleepers


BALT TE Dennis Pitta- TE Dennis Pitta (dislocated finger) will not only play but start. We know QB Joe Flacco likes to throw to his tight ends, especially in the redzone.

NE TE Martellus Bennett- Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) has been officially ruled out for Week 1. Gronk was originally listed as questionable despite not traveling with the team to Arizona.

SF TE Vance McDonald- The best security blanket for QB Blaine Gabbert is the tight end. McDonald made some nice plays in the preseason, and with journeyman WR J Kerley listed now as the #1 receiver, Vance may be QB Gabbert’s best option.

PITT TE Jesse James- Pretty surprising to see that he is only owned in 19% of Yahoo Leagues. TE L Green isn’t playing, he was targeted in the preseason and even had a TD reception.

DEN TE Virgil Green- Like McDonald in SF, the best security blanket for an inexperienced like QB Trevor Siemian is a tight end. Green helped Siemian in preseason, and he be targeted in the regular season. Carolina around the middle of the pack defending the TE position.

CINN TE Tyler Kroft- Practicing in full for Week 1. Kroft missed almost all of camp with a sprained knee but appears to be 100 percent for Sunday’s opener against the Jets. He’s locked in as the starter with Tyler Eifert still recovering from ankle surgery.


Fantasy Football DEF Sleepers

Cleveland Defense– 67% of fantasy football owners do not believe that PHIL QB Carson Wentz is ready to face an NFL defense, and I am one of them.


Start Em Sit Em 2016 Week 1

Start Em Sit Em 2016 Week 1 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Like other fantasy prognosticators, below are my Start ‘ Em & Sit ‘ Em players, minus the obvious. ( No one needs to read that I think fantasy football owners should start RB Todd Gurley this week at home vs San Francisco ) For the Record- I don’t claim to have anymore insight on the games than the fantasy league owners reading these, but I do enjoy sharing my “IMOs” on them, as well as reading yours :) Good Luck this week!


NFL Week 1


Quarter Backs
Start ‘Em

OAK Derek Carr (at N.O.) – Even with DC Rob Ryan ousted, Saints have to prove that they have improved. Carr has weapons and will post nice numbers Week 1

PITT Ben Roethlisberger (at WASH ) – Big Ben is dependable regardless of the match up. Be interesting to see who he prefers in his receiving corps after Antonio Week 1 ( WR Eli Rogers climbed into starting line up)

TB Jameis Winston (at ATL ) – These two teams currently rank at the bottom of defenses, so both quarterbacks should make fantasy football owners happy

ATL Matt Ryan (at TB ) – These two teams currently rank at the bottom of defenses, so both quarterbacks should make fantasy football owners happy

other notable QB starts: DET Matthew Stafford @ IND


Running Backs
Start ‘Em

KC Spence Ware (vs SD) – Ware scored a TD in each of the 3 preseason games he played, and Week 1 will be 4 in a row. ( RB J Charles likely won’t even dress)

PHIL Ryan Mathews (vs CLEV) – Facing perhaps the worst defense in the NFL, Mathews should get plenty of opportunities even with QB Carson Wentz at the helm

TB Doug Martin (at ATL) – Likely a high scoring game with two of the worst defenses facing each other

ATL Devonta Freeman (vs TB ) – Likely a high scoring game with two of the worst defenses facing each other

PITT DeAngelo Williams (at WASH) – This guy produced every time he asked to at the end of 2015

NO Brainer: HOU Lamar Miller vs CHI

other notable RB starts: OAK L Murray, GB Eddie Lacy, MINN AP, IND F Gore


Wide Receivers
Start ‘Em

KC Jeremy Maclin (vs SD) – Maclin and QB A Smith have always been on the same page

GB Jordy Nelson & Randall Cobb (at JACK ) – The Jags tried to drastically improve their defense, but if preseason was any indication, it did not improve much. We’ll see

DET Golden Tate ( at IND ) – QB Stafford and WR Tate should burn the IND Def at least once

IND TY Hilton (vs DET) – QB Luck and WR Hilton should burn the DET Def at least once. Many fantasy prognosticators think WR Moncrief could take over as Luck’s favorite target, but I think it will remain Hilton

HOU WR Will Fuller ( vs CHI)- QB Brock Osweiler loves all three of his WRs, and we know WR D Hopkins will do well, but Osweiler raves about Fuller- ( UPDATE: Will Fuller (hamstring) was limited at Wednesday’s practice)

No Brainers: OAK Amari Cooper at N.O., TB Mike Evans at ATL, JACK Allen Robinson

other notable WR starts: WASH DeSean Jackson vs PITT

sleepers: CAR Ted Ginn Jr, BALT Kamar Aiken, TENN Tajae Sharpe, HOU WR Braxton Miller IF Fuller is limited or doesn’t play


Tight Ends
Start ‘Em

PHIL Zach Ertz (vs CLEV) – The best security blanket for a rookie QB is a tight end as talented as Zach Ertz

SF Vance McDonald ( vs LAR)- McDonald made some nice plays in the preseason, and with journeyman WR J Kerley listed now as the #1 receiver, Vance may be QB Gabbert’s best option

TENN Delanie Walker ( vs MINN )- Targeted 133 times in 2015. Walker is the #1 target in TENN

other notable TE starts: PITT Jesse James at WASH


Start ‘Em

LA Rams (at SF ) – QB Blaine Gabbert

Houston (vs CHI) – QB Jay Cutler can’t help but throw 2 picks a game. ( betcha one goes for a DEF TD)

Dallas (vs NYG) – The Giants O-Line looked atrocious in the preseason, and I think it is the worst in the NFL. Dallas will give QB Eli Manning fits and will likely shut down RB R Jennings

other notable DEF starts: PHIL vs CLEV


Quarter Backs
Sit ‘Em

DEN Trevor Siemian ( vs CAR)- True test for the Bronco QB, but it will be rough on him….Game Plan- hand off!

MIA Ryan Tannehill (at SEA) – You might have to start him and Tannehill might put up some decent stats, just from the volume of passes that he is likely to make, but I’d prefer another option at QB this week

CHI Jay Cutler (at HOU) – Cutler’s INTs and fumbles vs a good defense, will likely wash out a lot of his positive stats in this game. JJ Watt due back

CLEV RG3 (at PHIL) – Let’s see how he does in the regular season before we start RG3, and it’s an away game

No Brainers: MINN Shaun Hill at TENN, NE Jimmy Garoppolo at ARI, SF Blaine Gabbert vs LAR


Running Backs
Sit ‘Em

BALT RBs  ( at BUFF) – Justin Forsett was released, then resigned, but this is a murky backfield and I wouldn’t start any of them until it shakes out- RBBC

MIA A Foster/ Jay Ajayi (at SEA) – The match up is terrible, but Foster might get something, but I wouldn’t sit many running backs for either of these guys Week 1

CAR Jonathon Stewart (at DEN) – Barely touched the ball in the preseason, and he’ll be rusty. Two of the best defenses face each other

WASH Matt Jones (vs PITT) – Better receiver out of the backfield, than he is a power runner…maybe he scores that way?? ( Note: Matt Jones (shoulder) practiced without his yellow non-contact jersey Wednesday )

JACK RB Chris Ivory- Ivory (calf, questionable) is expected to play Week 1 against the Packers but will be on a snap count. With this injury and limited action, Ivory is a Sit Em candidate-


Wide Receivers
Sit ‘Em

CHI Kevin White (at HOU ) – Talented young wide receiver out all of 2015, and we do not know if there is chemistry with QB Cutler yet

NE Ju Edleman & Chris Hogan (at ARI) – We don’t know how HC Belichick plans to try and win this game, but I doubt either of these 2 WRs end up with great stats

DEN Dem Thomas & Emmanuel Sanders (vs CAR ) – I’d wait a week for DEN Trevor Siemian to get real reps, and face IND Colts Week 2

N.O. WRS (vs OAK) – This is a pretty good OAK secondary, and someone will emerge for the Saints with good stats for Week 1….but who?


Tight Ends
Sit ‘Em

MIA Jordan Cameron (vs Seattle) – He’s done nothing since becoming a Dolphin in 2015

TB Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs ATL)- Some websites are listing him as #1 on the TE depth chart, but the Bucs like TE Cameron Brate alot better, and so do I

BUFF Charles Clay (at BALT) – The Ravens were 3rd best at defending the tight end position in 2015

SEA TE Jimmy Graham- NFL Network reports Jimmy Graham (knee) will play Sunday versus Miami, but will not play a full complement of snaps.


Sit ‘Em

WASH (vs PITT) – Steelers will score plenty in this game IMO

SD ( vs KC )- The Chiefs will run a lot, and do high percentage passes all day

No Brainers: ATL vs TB, TB at ATL

Good Luck Week One!