Sneaky Starts: NFL Week 1 Streaming Options
Nick Raducanu goes outside the box to identify underrated matchups in his Sneaky Starts for Week 1 of the NFL Season.
After weeks (months?) of strategy articles, player ranking, and fantasy drafts...the season is finally upon us. Congratulations! You made it.
But wait. Maybe you drafted J.K. Dobbins a couple of weeks ago and have a hole at running back. Maybe you drafted A.J. Brown and are panicked that he missed practice on Wednesday. Or maybe you punted on tight end and aren’t happy starting Jared Cook this week.
Not to worry. There are plenty of values out there to plug in any roster holes you might have (and some may still even be available on your waiver wire). Let’s dig in and see if we can find some sneaky starts for Week 1.
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Week 1 Streamers
Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
I wrote about him in my FAAB report the other day, so there’s a good chance you might already have him on your roster! I’m not going to talk about the revenge narrative at play here, but Darnold comes into Week 1 with a loaded arsenal of weapons that he never had with the Jets in D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Terrace Marshall. It also doesn’t hurt that the Jets' secondary is absolutely atrocious.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
It pains me to write this as a Patriots fan, but their secondary just isn’t all that good with Stephon Gilmore out. J.C. Jackson is a legit CB1, but Jalen Mills is a straight-up liability as their CB2 and Jonathan Jones (while one of the better slot corners in the league) is still battling a training camp injury. While Tua will be short a weapon as Will Fuller is still serving a suspension, he has rookie Jaylen Waddle to step in and should be able to pad his stats on the ground as well.
Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders
I know it’s the Raiders so it’s hard to put too much stock into this, but Las Vegas paid Drake a lot of money to come play for them so you’d have to assume they’re going to use him. While he doesn’t seem to be in danger of missing this week’s game against the Ravens, Josh Jacobs (undisclosed) missed two days of practice this week which could open the door for Drake to get a little extra work. The matchup isn’t fantastic, but Drake should be playable -- especially in PPR leagues.
James White, New England Patriots
I’m not sure if this totally qualified as “sneaky,” but White is ranked around RB50 this week and was little more than a late-round target in fantasy drafts coming off a very lackluster year. However, with Rhamondre Stevenson nursing a dislocated finger (he’s still expected to play), White could see some extra work against the Dolphins this week and will most definitely benefit from the change to Mac Jones under center.
Everyone got a little spooked about Williams when Le’Veon Bell was signed to the Ravens practice squad this week, but the former BYU Cougar will head into this week as the Ravens RB2 behind Gus Edwards. While that basically means he’s the RB3 (Lamar Jackson still exists), he’ll likely get 8-12 carries against the Raiders and could very easily reward desperate fantasy owners if he’s able to convert one of those carries into red zone gold.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
I could spend a lot of time writing about how disappointing MVS has been, but I’ll choose to spend our time here writing about how much Aaron Rodgers has been raving about him leading up to the season. While I’m still not sure I fully trust him, Valdes-Scantling has shown flashes over the last couple of years. He’s most definitely worth a flier if you’re desperate.
Tyrell Williams, Detroit Lions
Someone has to catch the ball in Detroit, right? The 49ers are never an easy matchup (so this is very much an anticipated volume play), but we could have a nice convergence of volume combined with game-script here. The Lions will most likely be throwing a lot (you don’t think they’ll be playing with the lead much, do you?), so Williams could very easily see 8-10 targets this week.
Sammy Watkins, Baltimore Ravens
While seeing his name in their starting lineup might cause a lot of jaded fantast owners to curl up into the fetal position, Watkins will be one of the Ravens' top-3 pass-catching options this week. He also has the added benefit of facing an atrocious Raiders secondary and should see 5-7 targets. You can definitely do worse if you’re in dire need of receiving depth.
Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks
There really isn’t much that separates TE4 from TE14 (unless you’re a big Kyle Pitts believer) so I’m not sure anyone is THAT sneaky. However, Everett definitely fits the bill as he wasn’t drafted as a top-15 TE this season, but still possesses top-15 (top-10?) upside this week. He’ll most likely be the third passing option for Russell Wilson in Week 1 and is worth a roll of the dice.
Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Knox has flashed over the last couple of seasons, but he’s never been consistent enough to start from week to week. Well, we’re only looking at Week 1 right now, so I’m not all that worried about consistency. Despite the fact that Josh Allen has four good options at wide receiver, Knox should still see five-plus targets against the Steelers and is worth a spot-start if you need a fill-in.
Alright, my friends. That’ll do it for this week.
As always, don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter (@RadRoto) if you have any questions.
I wish you all the best of luck in Week 1, and I’ll see you back here next week with your 1-0 records!
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