I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there is an NFL football game this weekend.
Needless to say, I'm rather excited about this development even though I'm not making my annual trek out to Canton, Ohio for the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies.
And quick aside on that: If you've never been out to the Hall of Fame, you should really add it to your bucket list of NFL things to do. The town is great. It's an historic high school stadium, right in the middle of a neighborhood where you park on somebody's lawn for $10 and throw down a few drinks with the homeowner before you walk into the stadium. And again, this is a high school stadium, so you are right on top of the action. I mean, you're almost close enough to call the plays. (Which would be an amazing twist on the weekend. Hey you, in Section 8, Row A, Seat 4, you get to call the next play this series! Hey, it might actually help a team like the Browns.)
It truly is an amazing weekend and if you haven't done it, well, you have to do it. Especially if a player from your favorite team is being enshrined. The number of dudes in Ray Guy jerseys at least year's ceremony was staggering. All right, there were two guys in Ray Guy jerseys. But he's a punter. Nobody wears a punter's jersey. But there were a couple of dudes rocking it. But let me just sum this up again; if you've never been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, you need to do it now. Well, it might be a little bit late to get out there now if you are not within driving distance. And if you are within driving distance, clear your schedule right now. You need to be there this year.
So damn, I'm a little verklempt about not being out there (well, not too bummed, I do have a newborn ... thank you!) but not enough to dampen my excitement for the game, or even the season. In truth, I like all preseason sports. I just love it. I mark out for spring training every year. I used to go to the Los Angeles Kings Frozen Four tournament on the reg. I watched every minute of every Los Angeles Lakers Summer League. Shoot, I DVR'd that stuff. (Again, newborn.) I'll even go to Cal State Fullerton blue-and-white basketball scrimmage, too.
I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact you miss a sport so much, you can't wait for it to get started again. For me, it's akin to being out of California for an extended period of time and then having to hit In-n-Out burger the moment I'm back in the Golden State. (Props to the burger franchise for having locations near every major airport in Southern California.) And then what typically happens is that you order the four-by-four burger because your eyes get bigger than your stomach. And while it's totally worth it, you do have a little regret later on.
While we will try to avoid that again this season (let's be real, we're not going to avoid it), here are some 2015 sleepers to watch this weekend. The official Rank's 11 will kickoff before the games this season.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings
There has been a lot of positive noise about Bridgewater headed into this season. And what's not to like about him? He's got a great coordinator in Norv Turner. Decent enough receivers. And a running back named Adrian Peterson. Bridgewater was already a favorite among the hipster daily fantasy set last year because of a strong finish. And he's going to be a nice sleeper threat to start this season, too.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
He's not a sleeper in the traditional sense, but he's had some added value in the wake of Le'Veon Bell's two-game suspension to start the season. The real intrigue will be with who his backup is. Dri Archer was a hot name at the start of last season, but kind of fizzled. Josh Harris started the Steelers playoff game when Bell was injured last year, but didn't really perform well. Maybe Jawon Chisholm or Cameron Stingily can impress. But yeah, I'm not really holding my breath for that.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown is considered the top receiver in fantasy by most enthusiasts, but the real question is who is his number two? Bryant is the early leader because he had a really nice stretch last year. But he's been dinged up with an elbow injury. He played in just over 40 percent of the snaps at the end of last season, and likely won't suit up for this contest. Be very careful.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already called Wheaton a "breakout" player for the coming season. It kind of stinks of a quarterback trying to motivate a guy who has underperformed during his career. Wheaton was an exciting player in college and I was really hyped about him headed into last season, but he's failed expectations. This will be a nice chance to look at how he's going to approach this season. I know, I'm going to totally Bobby Woods him after he has a nice game. I just (expletive) know it.
For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL Fantasy Live, Michael Fabiano or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL Fantasy Live has 290K followers, and Fabiano has 200K. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. And if you follow him on Sundays, he'll quote "The Wolf" from "Pulp Fiction" and then it's game on! Although, it's tough to catch me on Facebook. Twitter is your go-to." Plus seriously people, I'm not taking your tweets after Midnight. I'm into the #HashtagWars via @Midnight.