Fantasy Sleepers Week 1: Late-Round Fantasy Gold

Week 1 sleepers are going to be your late-round targets in a draft. These players should be the ones who have the potential to explode and breakthrough Week 1 so you know what you have. Then you can either immediately move on from them, insert them into your lineup, or use their Week 1 hype as trade bait. This means avoiding the opposite kind of player who will either be injured Week 1 or will not be getting the snaps and instead would be hoarding up a roster spot on your team.

A quick reminder that you can always punt filling your kicker and defense slots until right before the games on Sunday. This way you can secure a handcuff or a WR that is a little behind on the depth chart in case of injury to the starter during training camp. This could turn a Week 1 sleeper pick into a league-winning pick as we saw with James Conner during the Lev Bell holdout.

The Top Sleepers:

Breshad Perriman

Week 1 Projection: 7 Targets, 4 Catches, 85 yards, TD

With Denzel Mims’ injury in training camp seemingly being a lot more serious than was initially thought, it really only leaves Breshad Perriman when it comes to deep threats for Sam Darnold. We are getting reports that Chris Hogan, the recently signed ex-Patriot is the only other WR consistently getting starting reps in practice. Breshad Perriman has everything going for him to break out this week as the main target for the Jets.

It is important to note that Perriman is not a complete scrub. When Godwin and Evans struggled with injuries late last season, he stepped up and had playoff winning performances for fantasy. In PPR he scored 34, 17, and 24 points the last three games of the season. He showed the ability to get it done as the #1 WR on a team while drawing the opponents’ best CB. He is the perfect late-round target to blow up in Week 1.

N’Keal Harry

Week 1 Projections: 8 Targets, 4 Catches, 65 Yards, TD

N’Keal Harry began to emerge as the #1 WR for the Patriots towards the end of the season. He is already getting a lot of buzz in training camp but it is not resulting in his ADP rising. He is currently being drafted at WR62 according to Football Calculator in Half-PPR leagues. While I do not expect fireworks from this Patriots offense they are going up against an average at best defense in Miami Week 1 and he should be the #1 Target for Cam Newton.

Many people are scared of this play, but in deeper leagues, he is a must-grab in my opinion. He should have season-long value and has the perfect opportunity to perform in Week 1. Cam Newton’s #1 has always brought value, and N’keal Harry was a previous first-round selection by the Patriots. He also should be the go-to target in the red zone for Cam with his big body.

Sleeper Starts

Brandin Cooks

Week 1 Projection: 5 Targets, 3 Catches, 105 Yards, TD

While Cooks is not an extremely late-round grab he is a player that you probably did not draft to start. However, the Week 1 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs has the ability to be a huge high-scoring game. Cooks should be either the number 1 or 2 target on this team for Watson, only behind Will Fuller. Both of these players are speedsters who burn defenses down the field, and Watson has shown he can be a master with the deep ball. Therefore, for me, in Week 1 I am absolutely plugging Cooks into my starting lineup for the chance at a ridiculously high ceiling play, with a lower-end floor.

Chris Herndon IV

Week 1 Projection: 8 Targets, 5 Catches, 74 Yards

Chris Herndon, despite being the 20th TE drafted according to ADP, has to be one of the safest plays there is Week 1. As previously mentioned the Jets have a severe lack of pass-catchers at the moment. Herndon could very well lead the team in targets Week 1 as I place him far above Chris Hogan when it comes to short to intermediate route efficiency. If you did not grab one of those top TEs, Herndon is the perfect guy for you to have a safe play that should earn you 10-15 points with touchdown upside.

Deep Sleepers

Kendrick Bourne

Projections: 6 Targets, 4 Catches, 60 yards

The 4th most targeted 49er last year may very well have the #1 WR spot down due to injuries to Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Going against a relatively weak Cardinals secondary Week 1, this is a guy you can draft late even in 14 man leagues and play Week 1. I do not expect fireworks but besides Kittle, he is the guy on the 49ers passing offense at the moment. Keep an eye out for him in your dynasty and deep leagues.

Damien Harris

Projection: 34 Rush yards, 4 catches, 45 receiving yards

Damien Harris did not play a single snap last year after being drafted in the third round by the Patriots. However, Sony Michelle and the entire Patriots’ backfield is not only banged up in camp but failed to produce anything special last year. Harris is getting rave reviews for his pass-catching ability and route running. He very well could be the leading back of a three-headed trio alongside White and Michelle. He could be a very cheap option to trade for in dynasty and a perfect late-round guy in deeper leagues.

QB Sleeper of the Week

Tyrod Taylor / Justin Herbert vs CIN

Whoever ends up with the starting job, most likely Taylor should have a massive Week 1 against a depleted Bengals secondary. Trae Waynes is out for the season and Mackenzie Alexander has missed a bunch of practice due to an unfortunate situation regarding his missing father. Whoever is the QB for this Chargers team will feast and you can get him off the waiver wire in any non-dynasty league. This is not a pretty pick, but the Chargers QB position has loads of value this Week 1 in a hopeful shootout with young Joe Burrow.

Matthew has been playing fantasy football for over ten years now. He is experienced in playing and writing about both daily and season-long fantasy. He is both commissioner and former champion of several different types of high stakes money leagues.

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