Rank's 11 Sleepers: Make time for Dak in Week 1


There is a spot around the corner from my house that has a brand new restaurant concept about every 18 months. The place is an absolute hit for the first six months, then fizzles and then goes dark. And months later: boom! A new restaurant! I think it shows how people just love something that's hot and new. At first, I thought it might have been an Orange County thing (subtle humble brag about living in the OC), but it's pretty much true everywhere. And pretty much true for just about everything.

Especially in fantasy football. Take Dak Prescott for example. A few stellar preseason games (preseason!) and every Cowboys fan (yes, all of them) was willing to throw away years of productivity of Tony Romo. And don't make fun of the Cowboys fans, because you all do it. Yes, you do. Or I suppose that was some of those Colts fans who were wearing Andrew Luck jerseys while the dude was still at Stanford and Peyton Manning was still on the team's roster. So just stop it. You all do it.

(Wait, before you get too far into this. Do me a favor right now and go see if Spencer Ware is available in any of your leagues. I'm sure he's probably not; but can you indulge me for a moment? Just stop reading, open a new tab and check. Seriously. Humor me.

Was he there? No? Bummer.

Wait, he was there? Awesome. We'll talk about him more later. All right. Let's move on. Again, excuse this interruption.)

So yes, all you Cowboys fans wanted Dak to start this year. And not that you wanted Tony Romo to get hurt. Nobody wanted that. (And if you do, then you really need to make an evaluation about your life.) But you can't blame people for watching Dak during the preseason and wanting him to be the starter. It's human nature, as I said. It's why Izzy ditched Vinny almost immediately for that one dude with the hipster beard the moment he walked down the steps of that Mexican resort in "Bachelor in Paradise."

Honestly, I can't remember the bearded dude's name. He looks like every male bartender working at the Fremont Street Container Park. Throw an apron on him and let him capture apple smoke while he's making an old fashioned and I wouldn't know the difference. And for the record, how ridiculous did Izzy look once she was dumped by the Bearded Hipster and immediately called Vinny? The guy you dumped certainly looks a lot better now that you're no longer wanted. Which is funny, because I see this scenario playing out for Cowboys fans the moment Dak takes a pratfall and the team loses a few games. (Oh you're right, the Cowboys will never lose [eye roll emoji.])

But there's a point in here some where. Oh yes, everybody wants to watch Dak Prescott play. But do we really want him to lead your fantasy team? That's the real question. I mean, who cares about the Cowboys, it's all about how it relates to my fantasy team!

I like Dak this week against the Giants, who allowed the third-most fantasy points to fantasy quarterbacks last season. And before the "He's never played a down in the NFL" crowd starts to weigh in here, let's take a brief history course.

Robert Griffin III passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns in his first start.

Marcus Mariota passed for 209 yards and four touchdowns in his first start.

Russell Wilson passed for 153 yards and one touchdown with a pick.

All right, smartasses. You got me with one. I hope you're happy. You win that round. If that throws it out for you, then so be it. But he has the recipe to make a huge splash this week. Great matchup. Running ability. And he's surrounded by the best offensive line in football, a great running attack and Dez Byrant. Sign me the (expletive) up. I'm all about this.

Honestly, the running ability can't be understated. Especially in NFL.com standard leagues where touchdown passes are muted with just four points.

Without further ado, what follows is the complete list of Rank's 11 Sleepers for Week 1 in a handy list format, with a bit of analysis on some key players below. Enjoy!

Rank's 11 Sleepers, Week 1

QB: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
QB: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
RB: Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
RB: Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears
RB: Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins
RB: Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks
WR: Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
WR: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
WR: Dorial Green-Beckham, Philadelphia Eagles
WR: Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers
D/ST: Philadelphia Eagles

Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Alright, I guess this is for everybody who was able to grab him off the wire, or were wise enough to take him in your drafts (props to you). Ware figures to be the RB1 this week for the Chiefs with a decent enough matchup. The Chargers were awful against the run last season. Not sure they made enough upgrades to make a difference this year. Ware was an absolute beast after contact last season. He also added the passing game wrinkle to his arsenal during the offseason. He looked pretty good catching passes during the preseason. Ware is a great Week 1 option, and don't be so quick to drop him when Jamaal Charles returns.

Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears

Langford gained some steam during the preseason. Actually, it's been a pretty wild roller coaster ride for him. He's like one of those Hollywood stars who gets really hot, then torn down, and then he has his reclamation project. Like Rob Lowe (I'll review his roast in Like/dislike this week). So maybe this is Langford's version of "Wayne's World" or something. But here's the deal. Langford had an ADP of the second round in February. Then people watched a bunch of tape and downgraded him. John Fox talked about a committee backfield to drive his ADP lower. And then it got worse when the team drafted Jordan Howard, so Langford became a nice draft value.

But then the preseason happened. He is clearly the favored running back in Chicago. He's still the best passing-down option. Now the team added Josh Sitton at guard which can only help the running game. He's going to get a lot of targets, too.

The matchup isn't great. The Texans allowed the tenth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last year. But I'm leaning on volume. And he was a part of the passing game last season. I know he had some painful drops (like the one against the Vikings), but he made some big plays, too. He was a rookie, give him a break.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

I look for a lot of points to be scored in this NFC East tilt. The last time one of these teams failed to score 20 points against each other in a head-to-head game was back in 2012 when the Cowboys beat the Giants in Week 1. So points should be aplenty here. Again, people might pause because he's a rookie. But Rueben Randle had 797 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year. That's a pretty good floor for Shepard, and there's no question that he's a more talented widout than Randle. The Cowboys defensive secondary is probably better than you think, having ranked fifth last year. But there are still some problems getting to the quarterback and making picks. I feel like Shepard makes a nice debut here for the Giants.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

DGB is like my Frank Ocean. You know he's talented, but you have to wait so long for him to finally deliver. I owned DGB as a rookie last year too. I just can't get past his immense talent. But I do like what we saw out of him in the preseason. The Eagles obviously needed some wide reciever help and DGB seemed like a good risk. They ran some fades to him in the red zone and that is where I want him to make it happen. I know it's going to be tough to trust a rookie quarterback. But I'm looking for DGB to be targeted heavily with Jordan Matthews battling an injury. And the matchup is sublime. The Browns allowed the most points to receivers last season and there is a whole lot of turnover there. The Browns are devoid of talent, but they are young and it's going to take some time. I just hope the time is now for DGB.

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