Fantasy Football Week 1: Emerging Players You Should Start
Every NFL season brings new stars.
Young guns such as Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Julio Jones and DeMarco Murray emerged to the forefront last season, making fantasy football fanatics happy in the process.
Who will take the NFL by storm this season?
Here's a look at some emerging players you should start on your fantasy football squad in Week 1.
Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans
Jared Cook was a sleeper pick for a lot of people in fantasy drafts this year. He caught 21 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown in his final three games last season, and he is developing a rapport with young quarterback Jake Locker.
Cook certainly has the tools to be a stud in the NFL. He is 6'5" and 248 pounds, has a 7' wingspan and can run the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds.
Cook faces a New England Patriots defense on Sunday that allowed 293.9 passing yards per game and 26 touchdowns though the air in 2011, and the Titans will likely be forced to throw early and often to keep up with Tom Brady and Co.
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
Decker racked up 612 yards and eight touchdowns in his second season last year. He caught both of Manning's touchdown passes against the San Francisco 49ers' first-team defense in the Broncos' third preseason game this year.
The 25-year-old faces an aging Pittsburgh Steelers defense on Sunday, and we all know what happened to Pittsburgh's secondary in the AFC Wild Card Round last season.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown racked up over 1,000 receiving yards last season, but that may just be the tip of the iceberg for the 24-year-old.
While last season's No. 1 receiver, Mike Wallace, was holding out this offseason, Brown got a bunch of reps in with Ben Roethlisberger and appears even more in sync with the veteran quarterback this time around.
Brown averaged 16.1 yards per reception last season, Hines Ward is no longer in town and the Steelers are going up against a Broncos defense that gave up 24 touchdowns through the air last season.
Oh yeah, and the Steelers' running back situation right now is miserable. Expect Roethlisberger to take to the air.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Who will score the most fantasy points in Week 1?
I've already touted rookie Doug Martin this offseason, but let me tout him again.
Martin has already overtaken LeGarrette Blount as the starting running back for the Buccaneers, and they haven't even played a regular season game yet. That's how much confidence the Bucs and head coach Greg Schiano have in the 23-year-old out of Boise State.
Martin has an all-around game that figures to pay dividends in the National Football League. He's an athletic back with great footwork and the ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He's also behind a solid offensive line in Tampa.
On top of that, Martin faces the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, who gave up 4.6 yards per carry and 18 rushing touchdowns last season. Given it may be wise to win the time-of-possession battle against Cam Newton and the Panthers, I expect a strong workload for Martin in Week 1.
What are your thoughts? Tweet me.
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