Which sleeper player makes an impact in fantasy football this week? Will we see some under-the-radar players emerge in just week one?
The 2022-23 NFL season is finally here folks. If you have not done your fantasy football draft by now, you are pushing it. With the starting lineups beginning to lock in, there is always time to go snag a few sleeper players off the waiver wire. The other option is to go pick them up after week one if they perform to your liking. That being said, let’s check out some sleeper players that could have an impact in week one of fantasy football.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
Winston is back after tearing his ACL last year and is looking for a bounce-back year. There are two sides to Winston, one being the turnover-prone side and the other being the accurate and efficient side. You never know which Winston will show up but it has also been far too long to determine what side he’s got locked in for week one.
The Saints get the Falcons in week one and the Atlanta defense is weak. Winston has shown he can be a dynamic QB with good accuracy and vision. A weak Falcons defense that allowed a 67 percent completion rate in 2021 is what Winston needs to get back to playing good fantasy football efficient numbers. Winston has Michael Thomas and newly drafted Chris Olave so the passing game will be just fine. I see no reason for Winston to not thrive in this game and be a sleeper in week one and possibly make some fantasy lineups for week two.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence is entering year two but this time under a different head coach. Sure not all of Lawrence’s struggles can be blamed on coaching from 2021 but it definitely affected him. As the 2022 season begins, Lawrence now has Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and a healthy Travis Etienne. That supporting cast is much better than last year and that will be good for Lawrence.
The Jaguars start the year against the Washington Commanders. The Commanders are going to be without Chase Young in week one and that is a problem. This defense fell off badly after an incredible 2020 season. Maybe all Trevor Lawrence needed was his supporting cast to face a bad defense. Do not be surprised if Lawrence finally jumps onto the scene of fantasy football like many hoped he would do back when he was drafted.
Michael Carter, New York Jets
The Jets have a very similar running back situation to the Denver Broncos. A talented Breece Hall will start for the Jets and Javonte Williams will start for the Broncos. But the Jets also have Michael Carter and the Broncos have Melvin Gordon III. For the Jets, Breece Hall will get the majority of the touches, and rightfully so but what about Carter jumps off the page as a sleeper?
Well, Carter is a phenomenal receiving back and gives the Jets another option. The Jets open the year against a tough Ravens defense. If Baltimore controls this game early, Carter might get more reps in the passing game which could give him boom potential. The Jets will have Joe Flacco under center in week one so passing the ball will be the only objective Flacco has. Maybe Carter can compete for more touches by outperforming Breece Hall.
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
Gainwell is in a weird situation in Philly as the RB2. Miles Sanders has been nothing more than a platoon back and has not exploded in Philly as they hoped. That being said, Jalen Hurts takes away the need for the bruiser running back. Gainwell fits in because he can catch passes and add that extra element. In fantasy football, a running back that does it all is what you want and Gainwell has the skillset to boom in week one.
The Eagles open the year against the Detroit Lions and that could be good for Gainwell. If the Eagles can get a big enough lead, Gainwell will likely see more snaps. Do not bank on him pulling Christian McCaffrey numbers out of the backfield but maybe he can garner flex consideration for your team at some point.
Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans
With A.J. Brown now in Philly, the Titans receiving core looks a little different. They went out and drafted Treylon Burks but he still needs to develop before being the impact player they drafted him to be. That is why the Titans went and traded for Robert Woods to boost the receiving core.
Woods will be Ryan Tannehill’s number one target alongside Austin Hooper until Burks develops. Sure they have Derrick Henry taking most of the scoring and touches but Woods could be a sneaky good fantasy football player this year if Tannehill gets him the ball. The Titans open the season against the Giants and this could be prime real estate for Woods to light up the scoreboard.
Nico Collins, Houston Texans
Collins enters year two with the Texans healthy and more developed. Davis Mills could truly only rely on Brandin Cooks last year but now Collins provides some help. The Texans offense averaged nearly 33 pass attempts per game in 2021 so do not be surprised if that happens again in 2022 and Collins is at the forefront of that next to Cooks.
The Texans open the year against the Indianapolis Colts and I do not see them competing here. If the Texans are down big early, Mills will have to throw the ball more and that is good news for Collins. He is a Mike Williams/Will Fuller-type player that could provide solid stat lines. The Texans won’t win but Collins might find his way onto some waiver wire adds for week two.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos
As the 2022 fantasy football season begins, Okwuegbunam is entering the third year of his rookie contract. The 6’6″ tight end is one of the most athletic at his position but has yet to show it. Not-so-stellar quarterback play can be the blame for that but now with Russell Wilson under center, we could see a drastic jump in 2022 for the Mizzou product.
Russell Wilson gives him an immediate chance to make an impact this year. While Okwuegbunam will have to fight for targets with Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, the Broncos losing Tim Patrick opened up a spot for more touches. This Broncos offense is going to be dynamic if they use their receivers and Okwuegbunam the right way. Do not bank on him being the number one guy but maybe he can move up the waiver wire after week one.
Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
Freiermuth enters the 2022 season as one of the more underrated starting tight ends. He was overshadowed last season by the arrival of Najee Harris. In camp this year, he was overshadowed by more Najee Harris news, the dazzling play of George Pickens, and the arrival of Kenny Pickett. Freiermuth needs to be appreciated more considering he finished 2021 with 60 catches and seven touchdowns.
The Steelers open the 2022 season on the road against their division rival Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have a solid defense but they could not defend tight ends. Two of Freiermuth’s touchdowns came against the Bengals last year so clearly, he is a threat to their defense. Give me a shot in your lineups in week one and you might win in your league.
Which fantasy football sleeper will make your roster after week one? Comment below and join the discussion!
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