You really don't want to start off a sleepers column with too many disclaimers. Mostly because you all see this text and treat it like the warning label on a box of ibuprofen. But for those of you who follow the rules (and yes, I always wait for the walk button, too) here are a couple of tips.
These particular sleepers are for Week 1. And even then, you should go with the studs you just drafted recently. No need to start second-guessing yourself right now. But if you're in one of those leagues that draft in July (don't do this) or you're in a deeper league, well, I'm not going to leave you hanging. With that in mind, let's get down to it.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: Again, these are sleepers. If you tweet me to ask about starting Peyton Manning over Smith, I will block you. I won't. But still. The quarterback position has a lot of depth this season. But one guy I've had my eye on is Smith who has a nice run of decent matchups to start the season (Dallas and Philadelphia after this week).
Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans: Many of you drafted Tate as insurance to Arian Foster. Savvy. Some of you drafted him to cause misery to the person who drafted Foster. I like that even better. However, there are some weeks when Tate can be a viable flex option. This is one of those weeks. I like the matchups, plus Foster isn't going to come out and carry the ball 40 times after fighting a back injury for most of the preseason.
Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots: He's another No. 2 running back who has sleeper appeal. He's more than a running back, he's going to line up all over the field for the Patriots. We saw that during the preseason when he was running deep with linebackers helpless to keep up with him. Vereen also will figure prominently near the red zone, especially with Rob Gronkowski out.
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints: Even though he hasn't been a featured back, he's ranked in the top 12 for running backs in receiving yards over the past three years. The Saints are going to be in a shoot-out against the Falcons, so he could be a deeper sleeper for those who got caught thin at running back during their drafts.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: He's played all over the field during the preseason and ended up as the team's leading receiver with three touchdowns. That continues during the regular season with quarterback Andrew Luck. Especially with a matchup against the Raiders this week.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England Patriots: He might not be at the top of the depth chart, but he was lights out during the preseason for the Patriots. He was an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, but he made a huge impression on the team's coaching staff. This is a great matchup against the Bills, as Bill Belichick is going to have something to prove going up against a rookie coach.
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos: He's the surprise winner of the team's tight end job this preseason. He would have been a sure-fire sleeper in just about any other system. But he's going to have to fight through a lot of high-end receivers to get targets.
Buccaneers defense: I don't draft defenses. That's not what I do. What I do is instead play the matchups every week. And the first thing I do is look to see who the Jets are playing. And look, it's Darrelle Revis and the new-look Bucs' D. Yes, please.
Did you know that Adam Rank won last year's Expert's League title? Oh that's right, it's like the only thing he ever talks about. Well congratulations, Rank. You finally did something. What have you done for us lately? Let's worry about 2013 and stop living in the past. Typical Lakers fan, am I right? Oh, if you found this useful (as if) check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". And follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 17 more Twitter followers today. And we only got 15 the last time, so step up fantasy enthusiasts!