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Week 1: Deep Sleepers

Which unsung heroes will make a name for themselves in Week 1?

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, unsung heroes emerge from the pits of NFL depth charts and perform well. In fantasy football, one of the toughest things to do is predict weekly performances from players. It's tough enough to do so for your consistent starters. Predicting good weeks from lesser-known players who are not used in fantasy all that much, is much harder. Let's take a look at some players who can help you out in deeper leagues and/or daily fantasy leagues.


Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. IND)

I've done my fair share of bashing in regards to the Buffalo Bills offense, but the best man for the job at quarterback won out. Tyrod is perfect for executing their somewhat limited offense, and just so happens to be an underrated prospect in fantasy football. Running quarterbacks add value with their legs that can't be matched by non-mobile quarterbacks because rushing yards count for more than passing yards. Taylor isn't going to light it up through the air, but will do a lot of damage in the rushing department and do enough with his arm to have a good week against a just-okay defense. At $5,000 on Fanduel, he is a highly recommended play in DFS, as well as a nice streaming option in season-long leagues.

Running Back

Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams (vs. SEA)

Cunningham is lined up for a huge workload with Todd Gurley out and Tre Mason being a game-time decision. The matchup is tough, but the Seahawks actually coughed up an 85 yard and 1 touchdown game to Mason last year in their first meeting. They weren't impenetrable, though they were still among the best in the league in rush defense. Regardless, Cunningham will handle nearly all of the carries and catch a good amount of passes. At $5,100 on Fanduel, I would put him on a DFS team if you're looking to pay up for stars at other positions.

Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints (@ARI)

Robinson also has a tough matchup against a stout Cardinals defense. He won't inherit a massive workload, but will be involved in the offense with C.J. Spiller out for the game. Robinson is arguably the most talented third-string/backup running back in the league, and does major damage when given carries. He is also an underrated pass catcher out of the backfield, so look for him to get some looks that would have gone Spiller's way, as well as change of pace/spell carries to give Mark Ingram rest. I think he can have some flex value this week in season-long leagues, and is only $5,000 on Fanduel.

Wide Receiver

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (@STL)

Lockett has been outstanding so far in preseason, and it shouldn't come as much surprise for anyone who watched college football last year. He is a dynamic playmaker, though the Seahawks made it clear they drafted him primarily to be their kick/punt return guy. That may be changing quickly, as he seems to be working his way into the receiver rotation. He's the most talented receiver on their team and might end up being their top guy once the season is over. Look for him to get involved early against a mediocre Rams secondary. I wouldn't trust him just yet in regular leagues, but at $4,800 on Fanduel he might be a good, cheap option.

Corey Brown, Carolina Panthers (@JAX)

Someone has to catch passes for the Panthers with Kelvin Benjamin out. Devin Funchess hasn't won a starting job yet, with coach Ron Rivera awarding that designation to Philly Brown and Ted Ginn Jr. Brown didn't contribute much last year, but was effective as a deep-shot weapon and provides more upside than Ginn does at this point. It's not a sexy pick and your expectations shouldn't be too high, but Brown should get a decent amount of targets and he's shown he can do something with them. He's $4,500 on Fanduel.

Tight End

Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (@CHI)

The tight end position in Green Bay hasn't been fantasy-relevant since Jermichael Finley. This year wasn't going to be any different, but Jordy Nelson going down opened up the door a bit. Davante Adams and James will pick up many of the targets left by Jordy's absence. The tight end in this offense might benefit greatly as well. Rodgers is now the starter with Andrew Quarless going through a very tough personal offseason and Brandon Bostick no longer on the team. He's got some talent as a pass-catcher, and his matchup against the Bears defense is as good as they get. He can be a good streaming option, as well as a cheap play on Fanduel at a salary of $4,900.


Jacksonville Jaguars (CAR)

As crazy as it may seem, the Jaguars defense was not bad last year. They were actually pretty solid. Week 1 they get the Carolina Panthers, who are down Kelvin Benjamin and have an atrocious offensive line. Cam Newton was very erratic last year and turned the ball over a good amount. This might be a low-scoring game, and considering the Panthers offensive line, a few sacks and a shutdown of the run game is very plausible. They're $4,200 on Fanduel and should be used as a streaming option in regular leagues.