The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 4, 2013

Daily Item fantasy football: 5 NFL players you need to grab before Week 1

From diffusing a bomb to toasting the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, timing is everything.

The same could be said about fantasy football – knowing when to pick up a value player just before he breaks out and when to cut ties with another option that is about to hit the skids. It’s like playing the stock market or deciding what to do with the hand you’re dealt in a poker match.

While you may not have many holes heading into Week 1 of football action, there are certain players that are primed to break out from the opening kickoff, and snagging them now will increase your chances of landing them before the Monday waiver wire battle to scoop up the next hot player.

Some players you need to consider grabbing:

Julius Thomas, TE, DEN.

Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, Thomas is starting to break onto radar screens as an upside tight end for those teams who missed out on the Jimmy Grahams and Jason Wittens of their respective drafts.

Thomas is a former basketball player with plenty of athleticism … which basically is the blueprint behind tight end breakouts such as Antonio Gates a few years ago and Jimmy Graham more recently.

Thomas has been anointed the official starting tight end for Denver, and while he has a lot of competition for targets (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker come to mind), Thomas could excel thanks to his attributes and because Peyton Manning is slinging the pigskin. Manning made Dallas Clark a household name for years in Indianapolis.

Thomas will play Thursday night against the Ravens, who actually look to be a decent matchup for him to break out in primetime action. Grab him now before it is too late.

Roy Helu, RB, WAS.

As with many RB2s in the NFL, there is ample opportunity for guys like Helu to become major fantasy fixtures this year overnight if the guy ahead of them gets injured and misses significant time.

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