By Jack Thomason–
(CBS) We’ve been waiting a while for the kickoff of this NFL season, and for whatever reason, this offseason seemed extra long. As a reminder, this article can be utilized for daily fantasy football and/or season-long leagues. The idea is to create one-stop show for sleepers at each position, no matter where you’re playing. Best of luck to everyone this week.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals (at Lions) — Palmer looked like his vintage self in the preseason. He connected on 21 of 35 pass attempts for 192 yards and three scores. The Lions still have a porous secondary and are void of a significant pass rush. Another couple positives: Larry Fitzgerald and his hot starts and a healthy John Brown. Palmer should hit his ceiling, and he’s priced like a mediocre quarterback this week. (FanDuel: $7300; DraftKings: $6000)
Sam Bradford, Vikings (vs. Saints) — The Saints were historically bad defensively last year, and while they’ve improved with picks like Sheldon Rankins and Malik Hooker, they’re still a bottom-eight defense, if not worse. Bradford had the quietest record-breaking season last year, completing 79.5-percent of his passes He also has an improved offensive line and Dalvin Cook added to his arsenal. The Vikings offense is going to be better than many expect, and Bradford is being overlooked. I like him at home sporting a 25.5-point team total. (FD: $7000; DK: $5900)
Bilal Powell, Jets (at Bills) — Powell is just about he only offensive weapon on the Jets who’s worthwhile owning this year. He showed what he was capable of down the stretch last year, tallying multiple RB1 weeks. The Jets are so bad this year though, his benefit will be all the dump-off passes he should collect. The Bills are nine-point favorites, which should mean a lot of work for Powell in the passing game. There are other running backs like Ameer Abdullah, Carlos Hyde and Mark Ingram in the same range, but they’re all bigger names. (FD: $6300; DK: $4900)
Darren Sproles, Eagles (at Redskins) — We didn’t see much of Sproles in the preseason, and it’s likely because the Eagles have a plan for him and wanted to keep him healthy. Sproles offers a safe floor with his receptions and last year was used at the goal line as well. It only takes one touchdown for him to be well on his way of hitting value, and in a high-scoring affair, I’d take that chance at his current pricing. (FD: $5500; DK: $3900)
Chris Hogan, Patriots (vs. Chiefs) — This one should be easy money. With Julian Edelman going down with a torn ACL, the word on the street is Hogan is the most likely player to take over in the slot. Slot receivers eat in New England, and Kansas City doesn’t have anyone who will be able to stick with Hogan. The Patriots are eight-point favorites and have a 29-point team total. Hogan is a good bet for a big play or two and will have his opportunities to score. (FD: $6000; DK: $4800)
Cooper Kupp, Rams (vs. Colts) — This is strictly due to how heavily Kupp was targeted in the preseason by Jared Goff. Kupp saw 27 percent of Goff’s attempts and was productive hauling in eight passes for more than 100 yards and a score. There isn’t much on Indianapolis that should scare anyone away from entertaining Kupp as a WR3 at these prices. (FD: $4900; DK: $3700)
Vance McDonald, Steelers (at Browns) — Pittsburgh is sitting on a 28.5-point team total and playing against a Cleveland team that’s improved but still not ready to compete with the Steelers. McDonald is better left to the tournaments, but the Steelers didn’t go out and acquire him to sit on the bench. He’ll be used to stretch the seam and create mismatches. (FD: $4700; DK: $2800)
Coby Fleener, Saints (at Vikings) — With Willie Snead suspended, Fleener should be the main slot presence for the Saints. While Fleener will likely never live up to his high draft stock and expectations of a year ago, it’s fair to wonder if he’s being overlooked after having a year to get acclimated to a new offense. In the one game Snead missed last year, Fleener had 11 targets, went for more than 100 yards and scored a touchdown. (FD: $5100; DK: $2900)
Just missed: Eli Manning, Jared Goff, Carlos Hyde, Jonathan Stewart, Rex Burkhead, Zay Jones, Ted Ginn, Kendall Wright, Austin Hooper and Charles Clay.
Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and weekly guest of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and 670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter@jthomason77and feel free to ask fantasy questions.