It’s week one, which means you probably don’t want to go with sleepers right out of the gate. Chances are, you took the guys in your fantasy football draft for a reason. You’ll want to stick with them week one before reaching out elsewhere. But, if you drafted Eric Ebron and are feeling itchy with a Jacoby Brissett administration, we can help. These guys are owned in 25% or fewer of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues, so chances are one of them will be around in your league.
The Oakland Raiders have a messy wide receiver corps led by a superstar wide receiver that nobody is sure if Derek Carr can get the ball. Sound familiar? It’s basically the same situation as last season for Carr & Co., but with some extra crazy sprinkled on top. Swap out Amari Cooper for Antonio Brown, and you have a WR corps with one real weapon in it. What did the Raiders do in that position last year? They turned to the tight end, feeding Jared Cook more targets than he’ll eat beignets at Café du Monde in his new hometown of New Orleans.
[UPDATE: Antonio Brown went and probably got himself suspended since I wrote this. First of all, hilarious. Second of all, the paragraph above doesn’t apply because there won’t be an Antonio Brown this week. Third of all, Waller is a must-add without AB84.]
Waller replaces Cook and his 100+ targets last season, and the converted wide receiver gets his first test against Denver. Denver should conjure images of a stifling defense that tamps down fantasy football points from the opposition. While this is generally correct, it does not apply to the tight ends. Last season, Denver tied for the tenth-most fantasy points to tight ends, and they made superstars out of every decent tight end that played them. In fact, there was one guy in particular who burned the Broncos, before he went out for the season. This has kept him in our hearts and minds as some sort of a Small Sample Size Superstar…
The Small Sample Size Superstar is back, baby, and better than ever. Well, marginally reconstructed. Will Dissly tore his patellar tendon last season, but he’s back and ready to go. Last year, he played in three complete contests and scored two touchdowns in those three games.
Sure, one of those touchdowns came with less than a minute left in an out-of-control contest and the Bears defense just sort of let it happen. Seattle needs Dissly back, with nothing but questions behind Tyler Lockett in the receiving game, and he gets a great defense to go against his first game back.
The Bengals were dreadful against opposing tight ends last season, allowing the most touchdowns and the third-most fantasy football points to TEs. They finished especially poorly against the position, allowing 16.4 fantasy points per game in their last three games. This was nearly double the NFL average of 8.6 fantasy football points to TEs in the same range.
The Miami Dolphins receiving corps and the overall passing game is sort of a mess right now. While many people will shy away from that situation, somebody has to come out of there with some fantasy football relevance. By banking on Gesicki, you’re banking on the second-year breakout from one of the most athletic tight ends in recent memory. He’ll do it by taking advantage of a chaotic receiving corps that has no true number one. Gesicki gets his first crack at taking over the Dolphins receiving game against the Ravens. The Ravens were middle-of-the-pack against tight ends last season, allowing the fourteenth-most fantasy points to TEs.
Much like the part of your jeans with the exterior pockets, this is where the but goes. But the Ravens faced just ten tight ends who had at least five targets against them. These tight ends averaged four receptions for 47.6 yards and scored a touchdown 40% of the time. That’s good enough for 8.91 fantasy points per game (half-PPR) for TEs who get at least five targets against the Ravens, and Gesicki is as good a bet as anyone in this Ravens receiving game to get five or more targets. Gesicki was one of my favorite breakout TEs all offseason, so I’m rooting for him. I’m also penciling him into all of these from here on out, so buckle up.
Need some other sleeper advice for fantasy football week one? Check out our other weekly articles below (updated as they publish)
Wacko for Flacco (QB Sleepers)
He Better Be Good for Goodwin’s Sake (WR Sleepers)
…And Justice For Hill (RB Sleepers)
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