Sleeper, of course, is a nebulous term. Use whatever definition works for you. Likewise, this column is whatever you want it to be. Perhaps it helps you make a start/sit call this week or a DFS decision. Maybe you apply the information to an over/under prop. Perhaps you’ll add a player to your fantasy bench as depth, but not use him this week. There’s no wrong way to digest this piece.
It was a tepid opening for the Sleepers column; Julio Jones was solid, not great, but many of the picks were duds. So it goes. They play 18 weeks of regular-season NFL. We’ll do better this week.
We’re onto Week 2:
Washington Commanders QB Carson Wentz at Detroit Lions
When the Colts quickly washed their hands of Wentz after the 2021 season, I nodded. I thought Wentz was the guy holding back a talented roster that should have qualified for the AFC playoffs. But perhaps Indianapolis did Wentz a favor with the transaction, because Washington’s offense is teeming with playmakers. Terry McLaurin needs no introduction, rookie Jahan Dotson was a playmaker in Week 1, and the Commanders finally have a healthy Curtis Samuel, ready to unleash. Wentz is approved for proactive use in Week 2, up against a Detroit defense that offered no resistance against Philadelphia. Most Lions games will be carnivals this year (an overflow of yards and points), and I’m ready to buy some tickets.
New Orleans TE Taysom Hill vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hill only logged 16 snaps in the opener, and I understand why that makes many nervous. But when Hill is on the field, the odds of him touching the ball are astronomically high. It’s also possible that he’s the best goal-line runner in New Orleans. Week 1 was ugly for most of the tight end board, especially the players who were drafted in the TE 11-20 range. Hill has a chance to graduate from that group and become an every-week reliable player in medium and deeper leagues. If you threw some FAB cash at this slash, I think you’ll be glad you did.
Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch at Las Vegas Raiders
It’s easy to describe preseason football as meaningless, but perhaps the Cardinals were trying to tell us something when they skimmed 14 passes to Dortch in August. Dortch backed that up with a 7-63-0 opener against Kansas City, doing well on nine targets. Arizona is still looking for answers on offense; Rondale Moore might not be healthy yet, DeAndre Hopkins remains on suspension, James Conner was inefficient last week. Dortch is a viable $10 punt play in Yahoo DFS, allowing you to spend up at other positions.
Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson vs. Chicago Bears
It’s easy to mock Watson after he dropped a sure 75-yard touchdown on Green Bay’s opening snap at Minnesota, but maybe the glass is half full here. After all, Watson did get open, he did draw the throw, and the Packers continued to use him all game — he ran 40 snaps in all, just one off their receiver lead. Green Bay is still searching for answers with its spotty receiver group, and although Romeo Doubs was the hotter name in camp, Watson was drafted 98 picks earlier. Give Watson a second chance on Sunday night.
Tennessee Titans WR Treylon Burks at Buffalo Bills
This is more of a stash play than a Week 2 utilization play, though Burks didn’t look bad in the season opener (3-55-0, five targets). The problem with Burks is getting on the field, as he only saw 24 snaps against the Giants, 37 percent. But Tennessee is in a rebuilding year (and a development year), with A.J. Brown gone and the rest of the receiver room ordinary at best. I suspect Burks will continue to gain playing time and confidence, and could be a fantasy staple by the time we hit October. He’s worth waiting for.
San Francisco 49ers RB Jordan Mason vs. Seattle Seahawks
No one knows what the right answer is in the San Francisco backfield, and honestly I don’t think Kyle Shanahan knows, either. I suspect he’s going to use multiple backs and let the play on the field sort itself out. Jeff Wilson’s time with the team likely earns him the first opportunity, but note how pedestrian he’s been over the last two years (88-316-2, 3.6 YPC). Mason was the team’s snappiest runner in the preseason, and he’s largely ignored in seasonal leagues, rostered in just four percent of Yahoo. This is a stash play you need to make, and also an interesting DFS gamble if you’re looking for some roster differentiation.