Each week of the NFL campaign, we will sift through the deeper options at each position with an eye on identifying streaming fantasy commodities with valuable matchups to consider.
Do you need replacement options for injured or suspended players? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues heading into the season? We have some choice names to consider for those seeking widely available options at each position.
It's easy to view Bradford's 2016 production as pedestrian, but the fact that he finished with the highest completion rate (71.6 percent) and 15th-highest average passing yards per game (258 yards) should be viewed as remarkable. Bradford was acquired via trade days before the season began and attained those accomplishments without the benefit of practicing with his receivers during the preseason. Opening the season against the New Orleans Saints, which allowed a league-worst 273 passing yards per game last season, is as good as it gets. Look for Bradford to finish as a top-10 quarterback play in Week 1. -- K.D.
Selected on average at pick No. 129 overall and 19th among quarterbacks based on ESPN draft data, Palmer is currently viewed by the fantasy marketplace as a back-end QB2. This appears fitting, given that Palmer finished 18th in per-game fantasy production in 2016. But in reality, we should apply a weekly, not seasonal, lens to this deep and matchup-dependent fantasy position if we don't have a top option at the position. Which is to say, the matchup and usage metrics suggest that Palmer is a solid QB1 option at the helm of a slight road favorite for a matchup in Detroit that claims an encouraging implied point total from Vegas. The Lions yielded the highest completion percentage in league history last season (72.7) while pressuring enemy arms on just 20.6 percent of dropbacks, the lowest rate in the league last season and the second-lowest pressure clip in the past four seasons. Palmer's touchdown-per-attempt rate when pressured last season was just 2.7 percent, yet that leapt to 4.7 percent in a clean pocket, a rate well ahead of the league average (4.2). Third in air yards per attempt last season -- a stat that supports big-play upside -- Palmer is poised for a strong showing in Motown this week. -- J.M.
Joe Mixon is likely the future at running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, but he hasn't taken the starting role just yet. Hill, who is owned in less than 17 percent of leagues, is listed as the starter on the Bengals' depth chart, and though he hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations that were set following his rookie campaign, he's still a bruising back who has a knack for finding the end zone. In Week 1, the Bengals draw the Baltimore Ravens, who allowed 21.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. If you are desperate for a running back this early, there's not likely a better option this deep on the waiver wire. -- K.D.
This diminutive dynamo remains productive well into the twilight of his career, as he was 31st among backs in PPR points per game in 2016 (he was drafted 42nd at the position this summer, on average). There is a good deal of mystery as to how Philly's hot-hand approach with regard to running back usage will play out. I think this murkiness accurately applies to the early-down work and short-yardage work LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood could share this season, but trust that Sproles will serve his distinctly rewarding receiving role once again. Sproles ran 18.3 routes per game last season, eighth among running backs. With a valuable share of a pass-heavy offense that ranked ninth in pass attempts that travelled fewer than 5 air yards last season, Sproles is a high-floor option in PPR formats for those who employed a "Zero RB" draft strategy this season. -- J.M.
Alshon Jeffery, gone. Cameron Meredith, out for the year. Kevin White, who knows? Wright is the only wide receiver with real experience in the NFL, and he beat Victor Cruz to be the Chicago Bears' starting slot receiver. As the Atlanta Falcons surrendered at least 150 receiving yards to opposing wide receivers in nine of their 16 games last season, the potential for a big game is there for at least one Bears wide receiver. Wright, because of his experience, has the best opportunity to cash in on this opportunity, so if you need to go deep on the wire already, take a flier here. -- K.D.
J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals
From Week 12 on last season, Nelson was 21st in fantasy points per game in ESPN PPR scoring. A burner with sub-4.3 jets, Nelson is now the third receiver on an offense that, as we mentioned in Palmer's blurb, isn't afraid to push the ball downfield. Nelson needed only 35 snaps per game to notch WR2 status over those final six games last season, a rate he can reasonably match against this uniquely exploitable Detroit pass defense. Even if you don't find room for Nelson in redraft lineups, his upside-laden profile merits interest as a fun lottery ticket investment in daily fantasy formats. -- J.M.
Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
Before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 11 of the 2016 season, Miller was the sixth-highest scorer at the tight end position. While the Bears have made some significant changes at the quarterback position, Mike Glennon isn't a downgrade from their options last season. Miller went unnoticed on draft day and maintains a 1 percent ownership rate. Opening against the Atlanta Falcons, which allowed the seventh-most points to opposing tight ends in 2016, is an ideal matchup that will allow Miller to have a top-10 week at the position. Take advantage of your waiver wire, and grab him now. -- K.D.
Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
We'll keep this one concise, as the selling point is simple: Fleener tied Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker for sixth among tight ends in targets within 10 yards of the goal line last season. At a touchdown-dependent position on a team that tied for second (with the Patriots) in points per drive last season, Fleener is due for positive regression in the touchdown department -- a trend that could begin amid a matchup in Minnesota. -- J.M.
During the season, there are two weeks that I will likely recommend starting the Bills' defense. The next time will be during Week 9. The commonality between this week and then will be the Bills' opponent, the New York Jets. If you had started the defense that played the Jets each week last year, you would have scored 166 fantasy points at the D/ST position, which was more than the highest-scoring team, the Minnesota Vikings, managed. Yes, the Bills will likely be very bad this year. The Jets will be much worse. Follow the plan: Bet against the Jets whenever possible. -- K.D.
One of my favorite metrics to leverage when sifting through streaming defense candidates is pressure rate. They say pressure makes diamonds, but in football, it often makes turnovers and big defensive plays increasingly likely. The Chargers have arguably the league's top tandem of edge rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Just last season, the Chargers trailed the Broncos by just a few percentage points for the league's best pressure rate. A new-look 4-3 scheme should allow the Bolts' edge menaces to pin their ears back in pursuit of Trevor Siemian, a player who averaged just 2.15 yards per dropback while under pressure last season -- 33rd among 37 qualified passers. A stout secondary and an elite pass rush make a fun combination for defensive fantasy production, and I'm not talking about the Denver Broncos on Monday night. -- J.M.
Individual Defensive Players
The new man in the middle of Detroit's defense, Davis is criminally under-owned (6.1 percent ownership rate in ESPN leagues), given the bevy of snaps and tackle opportunities he is due in an every-down inside role for the Lions. -- J.M.
Jamal Adams, New York Jets
This is somehow becoming a rookie-themed IDP section, as Adams joins Davis as a three-down tackle machine. Playing behind what could be a leaky crew of linebackers, Adams brings rare 100-tackle upside to the field this season. -- J.M.
Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills
After years working as an outside linebacker, Hughes is back on the edge as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. This rewarding shift has gone largely unnoticed by the fantasy market, evidence that early investors can reap the rewards this productive pass-rusher offers. On a team positioned as a heavy home favorite, game script could lead to the Jets dropping back a good deal on Sunday, lending Hughes and his peers increased opportunities to attack the pocket. -- J.M.