Welcome to another glorious NFL season. The first week of the season is always the most unpredictable. That’s why our Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 1 can help you identify underrated players that might make sneaky starts in the first week of the 2022 season.
Of course, this isn’t the time to get cute and bench your starters for favorable matchups. It’s more of a list of players drafted as reserves that are in favorable spots in Week 1. They might be solid flex plays or good options for injured starters.
Here are our Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 1 to help you get a win in the opening weekend of NFL action.
Matt Ryan (Indianapolis Colts) – Ryan takes on the Texans this week in a game the Colts should be able to score at will. He struggled last year, but now has significantly better weapons and a much better offensive line. With Michael Pittman, Jonathan Taylor, and Nyheim Hines at his disposal in a favorable matchup he should be a solid start in redraft, SuperFlex, and DFS leagues.
Carson Wentz (Washington Commanders) – I’m generally not one to prop up Wentz, but he goes up against the Jags this week. Also, Washington should have excellent weapons for him to throw to this season. Terry McLaurin we know is outstanding, however, first-round pick Jahan Dotson has been getting rave reviews and could be getting overlooked. Also, with J.D. McKissic in to make plays closer to the line of scrimmage, he isn’t a terrible option Week 1.
Michael Carter (New York Jets) – This isn’t an ideal matchup for Carter, nonetheless, Baltimore’s run defense is a bit overhyped this year because everyone threw on their secondary which was absolutely ravaged by injury. They are now healthy and a strong unit so the way for the Jets to move the ball against them will feature the backs. Everything the Jets’ have done this year points to Carter being the RB1 in New York to open the season. Even if it’s only a slight edge and we know he is an excellent pass catcher. He could be a nice option if you’re in need of a flex option.
J.D. McKissic (Washington Commanders) – We already know McKissic is one of the highest upside pass-catching backs in the league, nevertheless, he could be a lot more than that early on. The assumption is Antonio Gibson slides in while Brian Robinson is out and gets the full workload, but what if he doesn’t? We know the coaching staff wants to move on and fears Gibson’s fumbling. Gibson was returning kicks just two weeks ago. There is a real chance that on top of pass-catching work McKissic sees closer to 50/50 split out the backfield. I also expect McKissic to be more trusted in the red zone.
Boston Scott (Philadelphia Eagles) – Every time Miles Sanders is banged up we expect someone who isn’t Scott to get this massive workload and every time he’s out there leading this backfield in fantasy points. Sanders looks likely to play but is less than 100 percent. We also still don’t know how Kenneth Gainwell will be deployed. The Eagles use Scott between the 20s, in the red zone, and throw him the ball when he’s out there. At the very least he’s worth a long look if you’re searching the waiver wire this week.
Damien Williams (Atlanta Falcons) – Williams is being completely ignored by the fantasy community and there is a good, maybe even a likely, chance that he leads this backfield in carries. Especially early in the season. There is no reason to believe he can’t be the RB1 on this team Week 1 and reports out of Atlanta point to this being the likely case. At the very least he is worth a waiver wire add to see what he does and he could be a strong DFS option if you need an inexpensive option.
DeVante Parker (New England Patriots) – I’m basing this play on the assumption that Jakobi Meyers will be treated as the WR1 in New England by Miami. With that said, Miami will deploy one of if not the best cornerback in the league Xavien Howard against Meyers. And with Byron Jones on IR, they have no one decent to cover Parker on the outside. Howard will take Meyers out of the game and the Pats will likely be losing and forced to throw downfield late. Parker should see plenty of jump balls and be the primary red-zone target on the outside.
Wan’Dale Robinson (New York Giants) – There is a legitimate chance Robinson leads the Giants in targets this year. I even bet on it. He’s more of a PPR start here, but you can start a talented WR1 on the Giants in your flex if you want. I don’t love this passing attack in general, nonetheless, there are far worse options than this.
Julio Jones (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – There is a good chance Julio is washed and makes me look silly. However, even if he’s 75 percent of what he once was he could be in for a big week. If ever he was going to have fantasy value it’s Week 1. This is as healthy as we’ll ever see him, maybe ever again. Also, Chris Godwin is recovering from his torn ACL shockingly well but is as unhealthy this week as we will see him all season if he plays at all. With Godwin shaky at best and Rob Gronkowski retiring, there is a huge window of opportunity opened for Jones. Not to mention having the greatest quarterback of all time throwing him the ball in a game with an over/under of 50.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (Tennessee Titans) – Westbrook-Ikhine is clearly the deepest sleeper on this list, but it’s in the realm of possibilities he is utilized as the Titans’ WR1 early in the season. He’s the clear starter opposite of Robert Woods, who is less than 10 months removed from tearing his ACL. Combine that with the fact that first-round pick Treylon Burks has struggled mightily this summer and Westbrook-Ikhine being the team’s top target at wideout the first few weeks of the season is in his range of outcomes. NWI is a guy worth monitoring and considering in DFS leagues as he takes on a sub-par Giants defense.
Brevin Jordan (Houston Texans) – If you are one of my loyal followers you know I haven’t shut up about Jordan all summer. So now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and tell you to buy in on him. He’s most likely on your waivers and can be added for free. There are three or four guys every year who are on a hill I will die on supporting them and this is one of those guys. He’s a sleeper now, but I believe he finishes the season as a TE1.
Austin Hooper (Tennessee Titans) – There just aren’t a ton of good targets for Ryan Tannehill to throw to early in the season and Hooper has shown he can be a primary target. This week, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he was a TE1. If you’re looking on your waivers for a dart throw this week, grab Hooper. Not only can he find the end zone, but he could also see some decent volume.
The 2022 NFL season is underway but it’s not too late to get access to the best help out there! All FullTime Fantasy members get exclusive access to our 24/7 Chat Room on Discord!
All morning on Sunday, Senior Analyst Jody Smith will be standing by to answer all your crucial start/sit and keep you updated with all the latest news and injury updates.