Sneaky fantasy pickups entering Week 1 

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
11:00
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The purpose of Friday’s Sneaky Pickups blog entry -- and we’ve been running them for years -- is not to discuss relevant lineup information for the pending weekend. Frankly, by Friday there are rankings and columns and video and chats and Lovin’ and Hatin’ ... plenty of information overload for the upcoming Sunday. Rather, it’s about planning ahead, in some cases way ahead, thinking outside the box to find potentially useful situations and players that can help fantasy owners later on. And the theory behind thinking about a strong November option in September is to get ahead of your league mates before it’s too late.

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin
Tom Dahlin/Getty ImagesAt some point, Percy Harvin will be back producing big numbers in fantasy football.
What does that mean? Well, we could go in myriad directions with today’s version, the first of a new season. Perhaps you believe injured Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin really does make his return to the lineup in enough time to impact your season, and he’s available in your league. It could be a running back handcuff that hasn’t quite surfaced yet, like Carolina Panthers rookie Kenjon Barner, but could soon. Or it could be about a barely owned starting quarterback like the Oakland Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor, someone with considerable upside and downside. After all, a year ago today, Seattle’s Russell Wilson wasn’t expected to play a major fantasy role ... and he started to do exactly that in October. How many of you had heard of Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts last September? He was profiled in this space as well. We’re planners here.

Today we’re going to focus on the wide receiving corps for the New Orleans Saints as they prepare to meet the Atlanta Falcons, because there’s opportunity in a dynamic offense for someone to eventually step up as the No. 3 wide receiver, if not more. Quarterback Drew Brees owns three of the six 5,000-yard passing seasons in history, and can certainly add to that total in 2013. Of course, he’ll be looking quite a bit to tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles. At wide receiver, however, reliable starter Marques Colston dealt with a foot injury the entire preseason, and while his participation in Sunday’s opener isn’t considered worrisome, he is 30. Lance Moore doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and by the way, he’s also 30. Brees is 34, but I’m not worried about him. What other weapons do the Saints have?