Studs, Duds, and Sleepers: Week 1

September 7, 2018

Week 1 of the NFL season is here. The lineup decisions are never easy to open the season and this year is no different. Who do we like this week? Check out our weekly Studs, Duds and Sleepers for Week 1.

Stud: Andy Dalton – Dalton is a top-ten quarterback in fantasy leagues this week. He’s going up against a weak Colts defense. Last season, Dalton threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners should expect that and then some. You should take a long, hard look at him in daily leagues. The Bengals are loaded with offensive weapons, including A.J. Green, John Ross and Joe Mixon. Dalton should have a great game this week.

Dud: Jimmy Garoppolo – Garoppolo could be a breakout star in fantasy leagues, but it won’t start this week. He faces a tough Vikings defense that held opposing quarterbacks to the fewest fantasy points a season ago. The game is in Minnesota and their defense may be better than it was a season ago. Garoppolo is a fringe QB1 this week with a low ceiling.

Sleeper: Alex Smith – Smith isn’t flashy, but he could put up solid numbers this week. Tight end Jordan Reed is healthy and Arizona was mediocre defending the pass last season. The Redskins have a dynamic running back who can catch out of the backfield with Chris Thompson, who could become a go-to target for Smith. He is 17th in my quarterback rankings this week, but he could put up QB1 numbers against the Cardinals.

Stud: Kareem Hunt – Hunt is a RB1, who could finish as the top fantasy scorer this week. The Chargers have been shredded by the rushing attack in recent seasons. They ranked last in yards allowed per carry last year. Hunt is a threat out of the backfield and will get plenty of carries. He’s a top eight running back with a high ceiling for Week 1.

Dud: James Conner – I get the appeal and picked up Conner in multiple leagues. He has upside, but is he worth starting in Week 1? Conner will likely split carries with Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley. He could be a legitimate fantasy option and may be good this week, but I don’t trust him against a Cleveland defense who defended the run well last season. Conner is a fringe RB2 with bust potential.

Sleeper: Peyton Barber – Barber won the starting running back job in camp and should get plenty of carries this week against the Saints. Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting at quarterback, which means Tampa Bay should lean on the rushing attack. New Orleans’ run defense was in the middle of the pack last season. Barber should have 60-80 yards and may find the end zone on Sunday. He’s a RB2 with plenty of appeal in dynasty leagues.


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Stud: Brandin Cooks – The Rams traded for Cooks this offseason and signed him to a huge contract extension. It would make sense for Sean McVay to design a few downfield plays to get Cooks involved early. Last season, Sammy Watkins never truly fit in, despite the Rams’ success on offense. Cooks will get a chance to get off to a quick start against an average Raiders’ defense. He’s a WR2 with plenty of upside in Week 1.

Dud: Odell Beckham Junior – Beckham is a stud and should be a WR1 this season, but he might get off to a slow start. It’s his first game back and he has to deal with Jalen Ramsey and the rest of the Jaguars’ secondary. Jacksonville allowed the fewest passing yards last season.It’s hard to take a player like Beckham out of your season-long lineups, but I’m avoiding him in dynasty leagues and hoping he puts up WR2 numbers in Week 1.

Sleeper: Kenny Golloday – Fantasy owners may have been a week early on Golloday’s breakout season. He has a chance to give the Lions a three-headed monster at wide receiver. His first chance will be against the New York Jets, who were awful at defending the pass a year ago. They allowed the second-most passing touchdowns. Golloday is a threat to score in the red zone and a sneaky play in daily leagues.

Stud: Jack Doyle – Doyle has a chance to shine in 2018. He gets to play with Andrew Luck again and has a solid matchup against the Bengals in Week 1. Cincinnati struggled at defending tight ends last season and that could continue this week. Luck may rely on Doyle anytime he is pressured by a great Bengals’ pass rush. Don’t be surprised of Doyel is a top 5 PPR tight end in Week 1.

Dud: Trey Burton – There’s a lot of buzz around Burton, but he has a tough matchup in Week 1. The Packers only allowed two tight ends to have more than 60 yards receiving last season. How will his rapport be with a young quarterback like Mitch Trubisky? It’d be better to take a wait-and-see approach with the former Eagle.

Sleeper: Austin Seferian-Jenkins – He has a chance to have a big week against the Giants. They were awful at defending tight ends last season. Seferian-Jenkins was a factor last season with the Jets and should have a bigger role in Jacksonville. He’s dealing with a core-muscle injury, but he should play and has a chance to have a big debut.

Stud: New Orleans – The Saints have a solid defense and should be able to force veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick into a few mistakes. I’d expect them to force a turnover or two, which could lead to a big day for the New Orleans defense.

Dud: Arizona – Don’t be fooled by this matchup. Redskins’ quarterback Alex Smith will take care of the ball. Their offense may play it safe, but they’ll limit their mistakes. Arizona is an average defense, that will probably struggle to generate sacks and turnovers. They’re a streaming option, but I’m avoiding them this week.

Sleeper: Cincinnati – The Bengals have a great defensive line and could sack Andrew Luck multiple times on Sunday. Marlon Mack is dealing with an injury, which limits Indianapolis’ ability to slow down the Bengals’ pass rush. Cincinnati doesn’t project to be a top-12 defense this week, but I think they’re nearly a lock to force a turnover and to have at least three sacks.

  • Categories: NFL

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