A little disclaimer before I start writing this article: week 1 is highly unpredictable. We saw it two years ago with Kareem Hunt. I was fortunate enough to start the third round rookie against the Pats, but not everyone did. He ended up dropping 42 PPR points… Or, on the contrary, players who are supposed to be good could have low point games (See Mitch Trubisky against the Packers). With that being said, these are my best guesses because we really don’t know what this season is going to be like.
My week 1 sleepers:
QB: Kyler Murray (Cardinals vs. Dolphins)
Kyler Murray is one of the only rookie quarterbacks in the last few years to start Week 1 and I believe he’s set up for success. He had a mediocre preseason, but Kingsbury claimed that he was limiting the playbook so other teams wouldn’t learn their plays. Anyways, in Kingsbury’s “AIR RAID” offense, Murray should have ample opportunity to run the ball. Not to mention this no-huddle, the up-tempo offense should catch the Dolphins’ mediocre defense off-guard. If you need to streamline a QB, Kyler Murray is a good bet.
RB: Austin Ekeler (Chargers vs. Colts).
Melvin Gordon. The name that sends a shiver down Charger fan’s spines. Gordon’s holdout will continue deep into the season, which gives Austin Ekeler ample opportunity to step up as RB1. Ekeler was a top 3 handcuff RB in the league last year and now it’s his time to shine. The Colts have a solid defense, so Rivers should be under pressure frequently. Expect him to dump the ball of to Ekeler and get those easy PPR points. If he’s available, pick up Ekeler and play him in a flex spot.
WR: Dede Westbrook (Jaguars vs. Chiefs)
It’s Nick Foles season in Jacksonville. Foles is a former Super Bowl MVP. In Philadelphia Nick’s favorite target was possession receiver Alshon Jeffery, he even threw a touchdown to him in the Super Bowl. I believe Westbrook will be the next Alshon Jeffery for Nick Foles, as both are possession receivers. Not to mention, in the preseason Foles threw ten passes and seven of them went to Westbrook. Expect Westbrook to have a big game against the poor secondary of the Kansas City Chiefs.
TE: Darren Waller (Raiders vs. Broncos)
Remember how dominant Jared Cook was last year? Well, now Derek Carr has a more athletic tight end in Darren Waller. Waller has had an up and down career, but the Raiders are giving him an opportunity to be a TE1 in Jon Gruden’s offensive scheme. In other words, he’s playing the most important position in the Gruden offense. He will capitalize on this opportunity. Not to mention with AB heading to New England, he should be the Raiders best Red Zone target.
D/ST: Eagles (Eagles vs. Redskins
The Redskins have the worst offense in the NFL. That’s it. That’s all I have to say.
(Next week I’ll be doing Week 2’s busts and players to avoid)