February 27, 2021

Fantasy football Week 1 sleeper picks: Gardner Minshew could surprise

3 min read
This NFL season represents more unknowns than usual because of COVID-19 shortening in-person team activities....

This NFL season represents more unknowns than usual because of COVID-19 shortening in-person team activities. Some traditional fantasy football strategies are sure to be thrown out of whack, but we’re going to power through as best we can. So let’s get to Week 1!

I’ve listed below a sleeper or DFS value play at quarterback, tight end, running back and wide receiver for Sunday’s slate of games. Hit me up with any fantasy football questions on Twitter @AndyMc81 using #AskAndy.

Jack Doyle, TE, Colts

Yahoo! League ownership: 27%
Draft Kings salary: $3,600

I absolutely love the upside for Doyle this season, and that includes Indianapolis’s Week 1 encounter in Jacksonville. The veteran’s neck is healed up, his only position competition is on the IR, and new QB Phil Rivers has fed tight ends consistently over his career.

The trouble for Doyle’s fantasy relevance is that he’s usually been stuck in a committee. The last time he wasn’t was in 2017 when the Western Kentucky alum finished as a TE7 in PPR. A huge opportunity lays ahead versus a dismantled Jaguars defence. Get No. 84 into your starting lineup.

Allen Lazard, WR, Packers

Yahoo! League ownership: 44%
Draft Kings salary: $4,900

If anyone’s got a chance to make some fantasy noise outside of Davante Adams as a Packers wide receiver, it’s Lazard. Geronimo Allison is gone, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has praised Lazard in the past. That should mean an increase in targets and opportunities.

Green Bay faces a Vikings crew ranked 25th worst in defending WRs for fantasy purposes in 2019.

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington

Yahoo! League ownership: 84%
Draft Kings salary: $4,000

Gibson is a fascinating boom-or-bust option. If he were a run-of-the-mill running back, I wouldn’t be that excited, but the possibilities at receiver intrigue me. New head coach Ron Rivera called him a “Christian McCaffrey type of weapon” after the NFL Draft.

Washington’s list of bankable playmakers on offence ends after Terry McLaurin. A muddied backfield committee, nothing else interesting at receiver, and no notable tight end leaves an opening for the versatile rookie to make an immediate impact. He’s very raw, but the ability to move him all over the field could quickly elevate his stock.

What’s interesting about the Eagles matchup Sunday is that Philly’s defence was fourth best at limiting running backs in 2019, yet allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. If Gibson is rolled out more as a pass-catcher, then there’s a real opportunity for an impressive debut.

At only $4,000 in Draft Kings contests, the 22-year-old could prove to be the best value play out there this weekend.

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars

Yahoo! League ownership: 26%
Draft Kings salary: $5,800

Gardner Minshew’s fantasy appeal got a boost after the surprise release of workhorse running back Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars are in tank mode as they dismembered their once nasty defense, and that means they will be trailing a lot in 2020.

I think Minshew transforms into a garbage-time fantasy darling like former Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. The easygoing sophomore can contribute with his legs, too, as he had the fifth-most rushing yards among QBs last year, and averaged 17.7 FPTS per game.

The Colts gave up the 11th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and if this game turns into a shootout Minshew could be a very pleasant surprise come Sept. 13.

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