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NFL Week 1: Three Fantasy Breakout Players

Week 1 of the NFL season is finally upon us. Every week in Three Fantasy Breakout Players we will highlight a few inexpensive players on the verge of launching their Hall-of-Fame careers with earth-shattering breakouts. Or, less ambitiously, we’ll discuss players with the potential to have big performances at low ownership. Here are three players with high ceilings at great prices in Week 1.

Marquise Goodwin, 49ers WR: $3,200 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel

Marquise Goodwin is not a traditional NFL wide receiver. Turning 27 years old this season, Goodwin may seem like a far-fetched star, but his breakout could be upon us. His lack of college production and slow NFL development may be traced back to a strong commitment to track and field. A world-class sprinter at the University of Texas, Goodwin missed crucial Bills training camp and preseason practices as he set his sights on a gold medal early in his career. Without fully committing to professional football, Goodwin never became a high-priority player for the Bills. Still, Buffalo rostered Goodwin for four years hoping that he would one day translate his sublime athleticism into on-field production. Goodwin’s athletic profile on PlayerProfiler.com offers tantalizing upside, evidenced by his 90th percentile speed, burst, and agility. From Odell Beckham to Julio Jones, no other NFL receiver can match Goodwin’s rare combination of quickness and explosion.

Encouragingly, Goodwin thrived whenever thrust into the starting lineup in Buffalo. In his first career start in 2013, Goodwin turned nine targets into six receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. Goodwin didn’t start another game for the Bills until last season when he caught four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown on a team-high seven targets. Goodwin likely reminds San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan of a more explosive Taylor Gabriel. While receiving a snap share of at least 50 percent over a four-game stretch in 2016, Gabriel scored 14.6 or more fantasy points in points-per-reception (PPR) scoring. After posting Gabriel-esque numbers this preseason, Goodwin was named the team’s starting wide receiver opposite Pierre Garcon. In the Models, Goodwin is projected for less than five percent ownership, but his 17.1-point ceiling projection on DraftKings gestures toward his upside.

After lineups lock, be sure to review Goodwin’s ownership patterns with the DFS Ownership Dashboard and DFS Contests Dashboard.

Paul Richardson, Seahawks WR: $3,700 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel

We’ve seen flashes of what Paul Richardson is capable of over the course of his three-year career. Richardson’s prospect profile on PlayerProfiler.com hits all the notes for a breakout wide receiver. His 46.3 percent College Dominator Rating (91st percentile) and 18.4 Breakout Age (98th percentile), paired with excellent speed and burst, suggest he will be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Comparable to Emmanuel Sanders, Richardson is the player that the fantasy community wanted Tyler Lockett to be.

After a buzzworthy offseason, the Seahawks named Richardson a Week 1 starter against the Green Bay Packers just in time for Las Vegas sportsbooks to give Seattle a 24-point implied total (per our Vegas Dashboard). The Packers surrendered 4,308 passing yards last season (No. 2 in the NFL) and allowed 29 passing touchdowns (No. 4). Per the NFL Matchups Dashboard, Richardson is slated to face cornerbacks Davon House and Quinten Rollins, who posted negative Coverage Ratings on PlayerProfiler.com, allowing quarterbacks a 120.0-plus passer rating and wide receivers a 65.0-plus percent catch rate. If you want to stack Richardson with quarterback Russell Wilson, do it with the Lineup Builder.

For more on Richardson, see the Week 1 wide receiver breakdown.

Austin Hooper, Falcons TE: $3,000 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel

The 2016 NFL draft was thought to have a weak tight end class. Only one was selected in the first two rounds, and the prospect talent pool paled in comparison to the remarkably athletic 2017 class. Then, oddly enough, two rookie tight ends played well: Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper. While neither player exceeded 500 receiving yards, Hooper bested Henry in two of three key efficiency metrics. However, Henry finished the season with the best Target Premium in the PlayerProfiler tight end database.

Hunter Henry Austin Hooper
Production Premium +31.5 (#5) +33.0 (#4)
Target Premium +45.1% (#1) +11.6% (#20)
Yard Per Target 9.1 (#9) 10.0 (#4)

With his hyper-efficiency, Henry enters the season $400 more expensive than Hooper on DraftKings and $1,100 on FanDuel. While both tight ends succeeded as rookies, Hooper’s prospect profile on PlayerProfiler.com reveals him to be the superior athlete, evidenced by his 108.4 SPARQ-x Score (54th percentile) compared to Henry’s 94.1 SPARQ-x (10th percentile). Bigger, stronger, quicker, and more explosive, Hooper could have more downfield playmaking capability than this heralded counterpart.

The Falcons finished the 2016 season No. 2 in points scored, and Hooper opens this season as the team’s starting tight end. Meanwhile, Henry will be sharing snaps with Hall-of-Fame incumbent Antonio Gates. Hooper has more near-term opportunity and perhaps upside. In Week 1 he faces the Bears, who last year were 28th against tight ends in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average. His decade of dominance could start this weekend.

For more on Hooper, see the Week 1 tight end breakdown. Be sure to visit our suite of Tools to research all of the potential breakout players for yourself.

News Updates

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs: