By Jack Thomason–
(CBS) Here we are, the 2016 NFL season finally upon us. We’ve been waiting a while for this and for whatever reason, this offseason seemed extremely long.
As a reminder, this article can be utilized for daily fantasy and/or season-long leagues. The idea is to create a one-stop show for sleepers at each position no matter where you’re playing. Best of luck to everyone this week.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. Giants) — This one seems to be too easy. Prescott lit up the preseason and has been the talk of the NFL early on. He has the best offensive line in football, a star rookie running back in Ezekiel Elliott, an elite receiver in Dez Bryant to make his job easier and old faithful at tight end in Jason Witten. While Prescott is playing an improved Giants defense, he’s at home, has dual-threat ability and plenty of weapons to make you some serious hay on these minimum price tags. (FanDuel: $5000; DraftKings: $5000)
Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs. Bills) — Flacco is underrated from a fantasy perspective. The Ravens drafted a new left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, and brought in receiver Mike Wallace in free agency. Plus, the sure-handed Kamar Aiken is back, and Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman are returning to health. Flacco has several weapons to play with, and the running game typically features a solid pass receiver. He’s a bargain at his current price, and the Bills are dealing with a lot of injuries — plus suspensions — on the defensive side of the football. (FD: $7000; DK: $6700)
Spencer Ware, Chiefs (vs. Chargers) — We’ve already heard from Chiefs coach Andy Reid, saying Jamaal Charles is a “stretch” to play in Week 1. Ware has been the direct backup to Charles this offseason, and he’s been a player gaining plenty of steam. Last year, he really outshined Charcandrick West on a fantasy point-per-touch basis, plus he’ll handle the all important goal-line work. On a team that has a run-first mentality, the workload will be there for Ware, and that makes him a great play against a Chargers rush defense that ranked 32nd last year. (FD: $5400; DK: $4400)
Christine Michael, Seahawks (vs. Dolphins) — All along, we’ve heard about Thomas Rawls remaining the starting running back in Seattle, but it’s Michael who’s listed as the starter for Week 1. Michael tore up the preseason, looks great and should have his fair share of carries and potential goal-line work against a porous Miami rush defense that hasn’t improved from last year. Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin was recently asked what player he expects to have a big year, and his response was “Christine Michael.” (FD: $4800; DK: $3700)
Marvin Jones, Lions (at Colts) — Jones has been a preseason favorite for quarterback Matt Stafford. While it’s normal for a quarterback and new receiver to work on timing and getting on the same page, Stafford and Jones seem to have an uncanny chemistry. Jones is a bigger-bodied target and likely to be on receiving end of heavy red-zone targets, especially given the lack of size at the starting running back position and tight end Eric Ebron not fully healthy. Add all that to a terrible Colts defense, and I think we have a recipe for success. (FD: $5500; DK: $4600)
Eli Rogers, Steelers (at Redskins) — Ben Roethlisberger is a stud, and the Pittsburgh offense was arguably the best in football coming into this season. Unfortunately, the suspensions to receiver Martavis Bryant and running back Le’Veon Bell, plus the injury concerns of tight end Ladarius Green, have slowed the hype. That being said, Roethlisberger is still going to throw the ball plenty, and Rogers has been an offseason favorite for him. He has a real opportunity to shine as the No. 3 receiver and a solid chance to emerge as the No. 2 option to star Antonio Brown. Markus Wheaton is already limited in practice and has been a disappointment. I’ll bet on Roethlisberger finding the open receiver, and that’s all Rogers has been throughout the preseason. (FD: $4500; DK: $4200)
Virgil Green, Broncos (vs. Panthers) — Green is a player who many in the draft-and-dynasty community have liked for some time, but he hasn’t received the opportunity until now. With his athletic profile and the type of conservative offense the Broncos run with Trevor Siemian, it will bode well for Green, who will act as a safety valve across the middle as the Broncos move Siemian and the pocket with bootlegs. The Panthers are stacked at linebacker, and Luke Kuechly can run with anyone, but at these prices, a few catches and a potential touchdown can be profitable. (FD: $4600; DK: $2900)
Jared Cook, Packers (at Jaguars) — I feel like we do this every year with Cook, but this year is different, given his new quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. We all remember how Green Bay used Jermichael Finley, splitting him out, creating mismatches on linebackers and safeties, stretching the seam and more. Cook is an athletic freak, and the Packers are going to do much in the same with him, and it’s worth mentioning star receiver Jordy Nelson may be on a snap count early in the season. If nothing more, most of Cook’s best games have come in Week 1 of previous NFL seasons. (FD: $5300; DK: $2900)
Just missed: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brock Osweiler, Charles Sims, Melvin Gordon, Sterling Shepard, Will Fuller, and Clive Walford and Martellus Bennett.
Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter@jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.