Week 1 Sleepers: Under-the-Radar Stars Who Will Rack Up Huge Points

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 09:  David Wilson #22 of the New York Giants carries the ball past Isa Abdul-Quddus #42 of the New Orleans Saints to score his third touchdown of the game on December 9, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

As the 2013 NFL season draws closer, fantasy football owners should consider starting David Wilson and other sleepers who will rack up points in Week 1.

The players on this list will not be ranked in the top 10 at their position on most lists. These are players who are either on teams that don't get talked about, or they haven't had breakout seasons yet.

Sleepers can win games for fantasy teams, so make sure you have a few on your team. 

If you weren't lucky enough to get one of the top players at a position, check out these under-the-radar players who will have big opening games. 


Quarterback: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Many people have forgotten all about Carson Palmer since he left Cincinnati, but he was still able to put up fantasy points on a bad Oakland Raiders team. This year should be different now that he has big-play receivers.

Arizona will travel to St. Louis and take on the Rams. Palmer will get to play with his new offense in a dome, so weather will not be a factor.

The 33-year-old will have an elite receiver and several promising wideouts. Larry Fitzgerald failed to get 1,000 yards for the first time since 2007, but he will flourish with Palmer hitting him on deep balls. Michael Floyd will enter his second season looking to break out, and Andre Roberts had numbers comparable to Fitzgerald last season.

Coach Bruce Arians likes to be aggressive on offense. He's going to give Palmer chances to move the ball through the air and take chances down the field.

Palmer will be worth a start if you need a quarterback.


Running Back: David Wilson, New York Giants

David Wilson showed promise in the last four games of his rookie season, and the Giants hope that he carries the momentum into this season.

His first opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, ranked 22nd in the NFL in run defense last season. They allowed 17 rushing touchdowns, which was tied for the sixth-most in the league.

The Giants scored 18 rushing touchdowns last season, which ranked fifth in the league.

Wilson will be the starter this season. The Giants saw enough out of him at the end of last season to give him a chance. He had three games at the end of the season with double-digit carries, and he put up solid numbers. He averaged 76.7 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

The 22-year-old was able to handle a heavier workload in the final weeks, and the Giants will give him a chance to run the football more this season.

New York likes to pound the football near the goal line, and Dallas has trouble stopping running backs. Wilson has a chance to put up big numbers this week.


Wide Receiver: Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

Injuries kept Alshon Jeffery from playing every game as a rookie, but he should be able to put up big numbers this year.

The Cincinnati Bengals had the seventh-best pass defense in the NFL in 2012, but they will be focused on shutting down Brandon Marshall. Leon Hall should be matched up against the No. 1 receiver, so Jeffery will get Terence Newman or whomever the Bengals put on him.

Newman is 35 years old, so the Bears would like to exploit him if he lines up on Jeffery. The 23-year-old has a tremendous amount of potential with Marshall on the other side of the field.

The 6'3" receiver can use his size to go up and get the ball, so look for Cutler to target him when the Bengals double Marshall near the goal line.

Jeffery had at least 45 receiving yards in four games, but he is hoping to have a bigger impact this season.


Tight End: Fred Davis, Washington Redskins 

Robert Griffin III is back in the lineup, and one of his targets will also be back. Fred Davis missed the second half of last season with an Achilles injury. That injury has put a chip on his shoulder, according to John Keim of ESPN.com.

Davis averaged 52 yards per game through six weeks and went down with an injury in Week 7.

The 27-year-old had nearly 800 yards in 2011 and was off to a promising start last year. The injury put an end to his season, but Griffin should be able to target him more this season.

Griffin is going to have to cut down a bit on running the football, so he will be using his arm more this season. Davis has averaged 13.5 yards catch the last two seasons, which gives Griffin the option to pick up yards in bunches.

Fantasy owners were hesitant to draft Davis because of his injury, but he will reward those who put him on their team.


*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com