Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 1: Derek Anderson, Fred Taylor, Louis Murphy

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 9, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals passes the ball against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Even though it’s Week 1, that doesn’t mean that there is no need for a low-end option that is currently flying under the radar. Let’s take a look at a few players who are likely available in your league and may be in store for a big opening week:

Arizona Cardinals QB Derek Anderson

While he had his struggles for Cleveland in 2009 (888 yards, 3 TD, 10 INT), whenever you have Larry Fitzgerald at your disposal the prospects of a big day increase. Throw in a date with the St. Louis Rams, and Anderson could quickly establish himself: 

The Rams allowed the second most points in 2009: 436

They allowed the eighth most passing yards per game: 235.2

They tied for the fewest number of interceptions: 8

How did they improve their secondary?  Well, they brought in Kevin Dockery from the Giants, with three career interceptions, while drafting Jerome Murphy in the third round. Is that really enough to excite us?

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I’d give Steve Breaston a nod as well as a potential sleeper, but I’d look for Anderson to make those in two quarterback formats a happy camper in Week 1.

He’s owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues and 11.4 percent of ESPN leagues

New England Patriots RB Fred Taylor

With the number of running backs owned, it’s not as easy to find a sleeper that is going to be available in the majority of leagues. Taylor has been named the starter in New England, however, which will put him in the position to have a strong game.

Clearly, there are concerns. Injuries are always an issue, and Taylor hasn't played a full year since 2003. Also, Laurence Maroney is the backup and has the potential to overtake Taylor if given the opportunity. Lastly, in Week 1, he gets a strong Bengals defense who allowed less then 100 yards/game on the ground in 2009

Still, Tom Brady could help loosen things up in the passing game, and may even get Taylor involved a bit there (he has had as many as 49 receptions in a season). With opportunity comes potential success, so he’s worth rolling the dice on if you are in need of a running back this week (and potentially beyond).

He’s owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues and 16.7 percent of ESPN leagues.

Oakland Raiders WR Louis Murphy

He’s the No. 1 receiver, and while the offense is not likely to be “high octane," his matchup against the Titans is certainly a favorable one. The Titans were among the worst defenses against the pass in 2009, allowing 258.7 yards/game and 31 TD.

With Michael Bush hurting, the Raiders could look to shelter Darren McFadden to an extent, and put the ball in the hands of new QB Jason Campbell a little bit more. Considering that Chaz Schilens is hurt and Darius Heyward-Bey continues to be an epic bust, Murphy and TE Zach Miller would be the biggest benefactors.

Murphy showed a little something in his rookie year, picking up 34 catches for 521 yards and 4 TD.  Keep in mind the QB before you scoff at the numbers. As the Raiders' top receiver, he could potentially double his production across the board this year. This matchup gives him an opportunity to get off to a great start.

He’s owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues and 16.5 percent of ESPN leagues

What are your thoughts of these players? Would you use any of them in Week 1? Have any other sleepers you’d suggest?

Make sure to check out our Week 1 Rankings: