Fantasy Football Week 1: Streaming quarterback, tight end, kicker and DST
Heath Cummings looks at your top streaming options for Week 1.
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You may be taken aback by the very idea of this column. I get it. Streaming in Week 1? Isn't that what the draft is for? But I'm assuming if you're thinking that way you didn't draft Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garoppolo or Carson Wentz as your lone quarterback.
You clearly didn't pass on a defense or kicker in the draft to stockpile more upside at running back and receiver. For those of you who did? We've got Week 1 streamers and there are plenty of under-owned options for Week 1.
It's been a rough couple of years for Andy Dalton, but historically when he's had weapons he's performed very well. This is especially true when he's played Sunday afternoon games against terrible defenses that aren't in his division.
Dalton may just be an average talent, but he's surrounded by a good supporting cast against a terrible defense. This is exactly what you should look for in a streaming quarterback. I would start him over Mahomes, Garoppolo and even Russell Wilson in Week 1.
Regardless of how we're going to pronounce his first name, you need to get used to seeing Tyrod Taylor in this column. Because at his current ownership, I'd imagine he'll be available for a while. Or maybe after he produces like a No. 1 quarterback in Week 1, more people will take notice.
Taylor has a star-studded cast around him and one of the best offensive coordinators in the league in Todd Haley. His matchup isn't great, but I'm not sure it's difficult either, and the Steelers figure to score enough to keep Taylor passing.
I'd rank Taylor as a top-10 option this week in leagues that reward only four points per pass touchdowns, but even in a standard CBS league he's a better start than Mahomes, Garoppolo or Wilson.
Sam Bradford is not quite on the Dalton/Taylor level, but he's not that far behind either. Bradford isn't someone who got drafted in most leagues because of his injury history and the presence of Josh Rosen. But injury isn't near as big a risk over one week, and I don't expect Rosen will get on the field against Washington.
In Bradford's lone full game of 2017 he threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns. In 2016 he played 15 games and threw for nearly 3,900 yards. He's an above averaged quarterback when you take his injury history out of the equation, and his matchup isn't a terrible one. I'd start him over both Mahomes and Garoppolo.
Some people view Eric Ebron as the second tight end in Indianapolis. I'm not so sure he's not the second receiver. Behind T.Y. Hilton this receiving corps is pretty unappealing, so I expect the Colts will use both Ebron and Jack Doyle heavily in the passing game. For the same reasons I like streaming Dalton this week, I expect the Colts are going to have to attempt a ton of passes in Week 1. If Andrew Luck isn't quite ready to throw the deep ball that could mean even more action for the tight ends. Ebron is a top-12 option for me in both formats.
You get to a certain point in the tight end rankings where you're essentially saying "hope he falls into the end zone". If that's where you are this week you should strongly consider Benjamin Watson. His Saints have the highest implied point total (29.5) from Vegas this week, meaning they're the team Vegas expects to score the most points. Drew Brees trusts Watson far more than Coby Fleener and I wouldn't be surprised if he looks for him in the red zone in Week 1.
There's a chance Ricky Seals-Jones comes firing out of the gates in Week 1 and never looks back. Like Indianapolis, this is a team with a thin receiving corps, and he has a chance to be the most targeted Cardinal behind Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. Seal-Jones also faces a Washington team that allowed the fourth-most Fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2017.
The Lions may have some troubles on defense this year, specifically with stopping the run, but I like their upside in Week 1 against a rookie making his first start. The Jets have the second lowest implied point total this week (19.25), and Sam Darnold should make a couple of mistakes that give the Lions a shot at the big play.
The Packers are the second-biggest favorites of Week 1, playing a home game in prime time for their opener. We're all excited to see the Bears' new offense, but this could be a bit of a struggle, especially if Aaron Rodgers gives his team a two-score lead and let's this defense pin its ears back.
The Eagles are still a Super Bowl contender, but I'm afraid they may get rolled in the first game of the season. They're without Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery, and the first team has had virtually no preseason action together. I expect this Falcons defense will give up points and yards, but it is going to make big plays along the way.
I'm not going to get too in-depth with kickers. All three of the guys above are in matchups with what I expect will be terrible defenses. They're all favored, and both Crosby and Sturgis kick for teams that Vegas implies will score more than 24 points. Give me high-scoring teams playing with a lead in good weather conditions. These three all qualify.
So what Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which wide receiver can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.
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