Welcome to this week’s edition of “Dope Imports”, our regular series evaluating the foreign drug trade in the United States. This week, we’ll take a look at drugs coming from Mexico, and hoo boy folks that Donald Trump character may have a few good… *answers call from Jay* I’ve been informed that this will be yet another installment of Deep Impact, and also that I am a garbage human being. For those who haven’t been keeping up, this is the series for deep league players seeking fliers so far below the radar that LOOK OUT THEY FLEW RIGHT PAST YOU. Man, that was a close call. For those of you who have been reading, of course you have; look at how intelligent you are and how great you look in a bowtie. Why don’t you wear it more often?
As you’re aware if you live near a TV, computer, radio, newspaper stand, or town crier, Week 1 of the NFL season is upon us. Our previous editions of this series have focused on some players to target in deep formats. Now that the season is beginning, we’ll focus on two types of players: ones to consider playing this week that are very low owned (10% owned or less in Yahoo leagues), and players to consider stashing for later use (using the same 10% threshold). If you want standard league guidance for Week 1 streaming options refer to yesterday’s post by the Unbreakable MB, which had some quality players to choose from, including some below our threshold. Here, we’re going for the deepest cuts only. If you play in standard formats, I’d advise just keeping an eye on these guys for the time being. If you’re wading in deeper waters and have some early season injury issues or matchup concerns, get ready to take the plunge…
Chris Thompson (RB, Washington Redskins, 2% owned) – Backfield mate Rob Kelley (7% owned) has turned heads with his preseason play, but Thompson is the guy I’d rather have for Week 1. Nominal starter Matt Jones is questionable for the Monday night opener with a partially separated shoulder, and he just started practicing with contact yesterday. He may wind up being ready for action, but Thompson should still see action on passing downs and get some carries too as the starter is eased back in. After all, if the Washington brass learned any lesson in the past few years, I hope it would be to not overwork a dynamic young player returning from injury. That, and maybe they should try keeping Dan Snyder out of as many meetings as possible. Against a porous Steelers defense, 10-15 touches from Thompson should turn into some quality production. Also, if Jones winds up on the bench, I wouldn’t hesitate to plug Kelley into your lineup as well. Keep in mind this is a Monday night game so if you’re planning on starting Jones, you should have at least one of the two backups on the roster ready to go.
Braxton Miller (WR, Houston Texans, 5% owned) – Somewhat lost in the Will Fuller Love Affair that fantasy football enthusiasts (including yours truly) fell into during the past few weeks was that Miller also had himself a great preseason. As I write this on the one-year anniversary of his incredible spin move against Virginia Tech *waits for you to finish re-watching the YouTube video of it five times*, I’d like to draw some of that spotlight back to this low-owned, very interesting play. Is there risk here? Sure, he’s a rookie, the QB is untested, and he’s been a wide receiver for about as long as Justin Bieber has been legally allowed to drink. But he’s also got the inside track on the slot receiver job and should have plenty of room to operate with DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller stretching defenses silly. Add in the Week 1 matchup against a young, not particularly scary Bears secondary, and I’m willing to take a gamble on Miller’s potential to hit the B-button on some hapless defenders again in his pro debut.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9% owned) – If you checked out Razzball’s staff picks for the 2016 NFL season, you’d know that I have an unhealthy infatuation with ASJ. My love was briefly wavering when he was playing for a good chunk of the Bucs’ fourth preseason game (which starting players, such as teammate Cameron Brate, normally sit out). Things got worse when he threw a tantrum during the game that looked like it could stick him to the bottom of the depth chart to start the season. Not a great look when his mental lapses dropped him below Brate to begin with. The fantasy players who had taken a chance on him quickly moved on, and as a result, ASJ is back below our 10% mark. But the news has turned positive of late, with ASJ being named a co-starter with Brate. As I discussed in my preseason post targeting ASJ as a late sleeper (remember when I said the infatuation is unhealthy?), I’m a firm believer that when a team is trying to win games, the most talented players will be on the field. Brate went to Harvard, and his education is the only advantage he has in this competition. With a Week 1 matchup against a Falcons defense that was below average against the tight end position last season (8th most fantasy points per game against the position), ASJ could be your Gronk backup plan if you didn’t draft Martellus Bennett.
Marshawn Lynch (RB, Beast Mode Apparel, 7% owned) – Here’s a young newcomer that has really flown under the radar so far this offseason. Even for those paying really close attention, you may not have seen him take the field once. In all seriousness, I’m sure by now you’ve seen the report from Mike Florio that Beast Mode is pondering a very early end to his early retirement and could be landing back on an NFL roster as soon as Week 4. This is all very preliminary, but if you’ve got an expendable player on the fringe of the roster, make the move now. I know Lynch was a disappointment last year, he’s old, and he’s probably far from game shape. Still, this kind of upside just isn’t there for any other player on the wire below our threshold. Stash him and see where this story goes.