Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor
Julian Edelman is a poor man's Wes Welker and Danny Amendola, but now one of Tom Brady's favorite targets.
Wide Receivers to Add
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Week 1 stats: seven receptions for 79 yards and two TDs
The preseason was all about Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, TE Zach Sudfeld, Aaron Dobson and even Josh Boyce. But it was the unheralded incumbent Edelman who reeled in two Tom Brady touchdown passes.
That is so Bill Belichick. He game-plans for the guy you don't expect. It should worry you Edelman could disappear entirely any given week, but Brady is a loyal guy who works off trust. Edelman appears to have that right now. At a mere 9 percent ownership, he might wind up being the most added player in waivers in Week 2, even if he isn't a first priority for anyone.
Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
Week 1 stats: nine receptions for 114 yards and one TD
The Dolphins have a rhythm passing game that promises to be a high-volume one, and Hartline is the more high-volume receiver vs. Mike Wallace this year. Wallace is more of a deep route-runner. Hartline is likely already owned in PPR leagues, but his good start and favorable Week 2 matchup at Indy can make him a sleeper to start in any format right now.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Week 1 stats: five receptions for 66 yards
Everyone loves the raw talent of Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson, but this is the rookie receiver you want to have, and potentially start, right now.
Hopkins, available in over 33 percent of leagues, is going to benefit from all the attention paid to Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels in the passing game, even if the Texans are a run-first team. Great running teams use the pass for big plays in play action, so Hopkins' numbers can really pop once Arian Foster gets into midseason form.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers
Week 1 stats: three receptions for 24 yards and two TDs
The Chargers under a new regime might not have a high-volume passing game, but it certainly was an effective one against a good Texans defense.
Royal was once a fantasy darling, and he can still be a sleeper catching passes out of the slot for Philip Rivers. Vincent Brown and Malcom Floyd might be the starters, but Royal might get the bulk of the targets working the underneath routes. It has been said Rivers has lost some zip, so becoming a dink-and-dunk passer might do him some good. Royal is a solid add in all leagues.
Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Week 1 stats: four receptions for 65 yards and one TD
The undrafted rookie's numbers were great, but the best news for his fantasy status is the fact Jacoby Jones will be out at least a month with a knee injury.
Brown is a lanky target, and Joe Flacco desperately needs someone to take the defensive attention from Torrey Smith. Brown will start now and prove useful in deeper fantasy leagues. With the Browns' Joe Haden covering Smith this weekend, Brown could be a sleeper play getting the targets on the other side, a la the Dolphins' Brian Hartline.
Wide Receiver to Monitor
Greg Little, Cleveland Browns
Week 1 stats: four receptions for 26 yards
Brandon Weeden proved mostly ineffective, and that might have been Little to blame, but this third-year receiver can still surprise us in fantasy. He has to at least be licking his chops at a Ravens secondary that was victimized for a record seven touchdown passes in Denver. Little is more valuable than about 20 receivers that outproduced him in Week 1, even if that belies his mere 12 percent ownership.
Wide Receivers to Ignore
Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings
Week 1 stats: seven receptions for 140 yards
He was a revelation out of the gate, but you cannot forget how little he produced a year ago, can you? Christian Ponder might be improved, but the Vikings will still have one of the worst passing games in football. Simpson's targets and yards are going to go to Greg Jennings and TE Kyle Rudolph in future weeks. Don't waste your claim here.
Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks
Week 1 stats: two receptions for 49 yards and one TD
Kearse was a surprise performer, despite rating behind Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin on the depth chart for the Seahawks. Kearse was only targeted twice, and that is all you should expect in future weeks from him: a couple of targets. A fourth receiver in the most run-heavy offense in football is just not worth stashing.