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DraftKings Fantasy Football: Deep Sleepers for Week 1

Joel Bartilotta

Joel Bartilotta

Joel has 11+ years of Fantasy experience, and can recall riding a young Dante Culpepper to a FF championship back in the 2003-04 season. He covers EPL Soccer and Daily Fantasy Football for RotoWire. He's extremely active with EPL, NFL, MLB and NBA fantasy games. Do not disparage his beloved Denver Nuggets, Everton Toffees or Oakland Raiders.


One of the most effective ways to win in daily fantasy is to find diamonds in the rough before anyone else discovers them. If you drafted Arian Foster late in the 2010 season, then you’ve experienced one of these gems. For this week, we'll take a look at overlooked players and fantastic values for Week 1 on DraftKings.

These aren’t players to fill your lineup with, but these options will be useful when looking for cheaper roster filler to slot in alongside your high-priced studs. For instance, if you want to use stud running backs like Lesean McCoy or Jamaal Charles, you’ll have a better chance at picking the pair by selecting a bargain basement option at quarterback. The players listed below are ranked outside the top-30 at their respective position for Week 1. While there’s risk involved with these cheap options, the ceiling is high if when combined with the high-scoring roster cornerstones. You can’t expect great things from all these players, but finding one or two gems in the bunch is a recipe for success on DraftKings.

Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville ($5,200)

At $5,200, Henne is a fantastic value play against the Eagles, who had third-worst pass defense from last season. Henne just may throw for 300+ yards in this opening game. Being 11-point underdogs, the Jags will be chasing points all game long. The Jags/Eagles matchup also has the second highest total of the opening week with 52 total points. With Jacksonville more than likely trailing, the Jags will surely be throwing the ball as much as possible, so 30-40 pass attempts from Henne is somewhat reasonable. Playing the fastest offense in the league will also allow more time and possessions for the Jags as well. Henne may have a reputation as one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but he has had respectable numbers in his career. He threw for a very solid 3,241 yards last year, which ranked 18th in the league in that category. He also had 305 completions and 503 attempts, which both ranked 16th in the league last season. The touchdown numbers were not very impressive, though, as he finished with just 14 TDs. With that said, he did have a solid string in his final five games of 2013 recording nine touchdowns. Chasing points against this high-powered Philly offense, Henne is a solid dart at an unbelievably cheap value. Selecting Henne will allow you to stack your roster with studs at nearly every other position. We’re not looking for anything crazy from Henne, but at the end of the day, he should have some solid numbers in this friendly matchup.

Prediction: 275 yards passing, two touchdowns, two interceptions

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints ($4,200)

Ingram may just be the breakout player for the Saints this upcoming season. It’s never been a case of talent with Ingram as much as it’s been a lack of touches for the highly drafted back. Not only has Ingram looked promising this preseason, he had solid averages last year in the few chances he received. Ingram averaged 4.9 yards per carry last year and saw an expanded role once the playoffs came around. The Saints were so confident in their backfield that the team let Darren Sproles walk via free agency this offseason. Ingram should see plenty of touches this year and the opening game against Atlanta may be his breakout performance. Atlanta had a notoriously bad defense last year, ranking 31st against the run while allowing 4.8 yards per carry, which ranked second to last as well. While Pierre Thomas should see his fair share of work, the Saints will be sure to get Ingram at least 10 touches and a good chance to score a touchdown in the opener. The Atlanta/New Orleans series has had high scoring games in the past and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the scoreboards light up once again. As the 38th ranked running back on DraftKings, Ingram is an absolute steal and a solid option to score a TD.

Prediction: 70 total yards, one touchdown


Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami ($4,000)

While Moreno’s injury status is somewhat up in the air for Week 1, if he is active, he is an attractive option with a salary of $4,000 on DraftKings. Moreno is priced as the 43rd best running back on for Week 1 against New England. The Patriots ranked 30th in the league last year against the run and Miami will be sure to give their biggest offseason acquisition the carries he has earned from his fantastic season with Denver last year. Are we all forgetting how good Moreno was last year? It’s easy to see why people are skeptical, but production doesn’t lie. Last year, he had almost 1,600 total yards, 13 touchdowns and 60 receptions, which is huge in DraftKings PPR format. Not having Peyton Manning as his field general is a huge factor, but if he plays, Moreno shouldn’t be this cheap. New England may be walking into a dangerous situation against a Miami team with nothing to lose. The only reservation with Moreno is if Lamar Miller gets hot and steals carries for this particular matchup. But Miami obviously has reservations about Miller or they wouldn’t have made Moreno their big offseason acquisition. Keep an eye on this situation as Moreno may find himself as a sleeper for back-to-back seasons

Prediction: 60 yards rushing, 40 yards receiving, four receptions, one touchdown

Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh ($3,300)

While there aren’t many stats to support Markus Wheaton, there’s a need for Ben Roethlisberger to find a new weapon, and it seems that Big Ben clearly wants that weapon to be Wheaton. The Steelers face off with the Browns in Week 1. On the surface, the matchup appears tough for Big Ben and Wheaton, as they’ll have to duel with Browns cornerback Joe Haden, but look for Haden to draw Antonio Brown as his primary assignment. While Haden has established himself as one of the best cover corners in the league, there is a major weakness on the other side of the field in Cleveland’s secondary. Antonio Brown will keep Haden occupied, allowing Big Ben to lock in on Wheaton, who will likely be covered by third-string or fourth-string corners (Buster Skrine is out with a thumb injury). With a price of $3,300, Wheaton is a low-risk, high-reward play that could pay huge dividends in Week 1.

Prediction: Five receptions, 60 yards

Danny Amendola, WR, New England ($4,000)

Amendola used to be a go-to-guy in a PPR formats like DraftKings, but injuries have just derailed this PPR stud into a nearly undraftable player. As the 54th ranked receiver on DraftKings, the hate has gone too far for Amendola. The biggest gripe with Amendola is that he can’t stay healthy, but on DraftKings our investment lasts only one week. Amendola has quietly posted solid numbers in the past and has the capability to catch 10 balls on any given Sunday. Now that he has been in the system for a year, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will know just how to use Amendola. The matchup against Miami is nothing special, but this is more of a value play then a matchup play. The disappointment from Amendola’s injury-riddled 2013 campaign has lead to an overreaction and his perceived fantasy value is at an all-time low. Last December, Amendola had his best game as a Patriot, recording 10 catches for 131 yards against these very Dolphins. If he can duplicate these numbers at a $4,000 salary, he might be the steal of Week 1.

Prediction: Seven receptions, 70 yards. one touchdown

Arizona Cardinals Defense ($3.100)

The Cardinals defense is far from sleeper material, but as the 15th ranked defense on DraftKings, Arizona is quite the buy for Week 1. It’s hard to justified the low salary, as San Diego is a plus-matchup. Arizona was featured in the top five in numerous categories across the defensive landscape last season and the only thing holding them back are some injuries that occurred this offseason. The Cards were only one turnover from featuring in the top three in the league for total turnovers last year, and against corners like Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie, Rivers will have trouble getting his sub-par receivers the ball. This is a rare occasion when the atmosphere comes into fantasy handicapping. A defensive touchdown is not a farfetched proposition, and if the Cards can manage that at a price of $3,000, Arizona’s already low stock will only rise from here.

Prediction: 17 points allowed, four sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery, one touchdown