5 breakout fantasy football stars to pick up for Week 1

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 21: Tight end Isaiah Likely #80 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the football during the NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 21, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona. The Ravens defeated the Cardinals 24-17. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The NFL regular season is set to kick off on Thursday and these five players could be good fantasy football pickups to help you win in Week 1.

After a seemingly never-ending offseason, the NFL is set to return. Week 1 kicks off on Thursday night with the Buffalo Bills taking on the Los Angeles Rams, an intriguing matchup for sure, but most casual fans are more invested in how their fantasy football team stacks up.

Everyone is trying to identify their top breakout candidates or sleepers that will make the difference between winning and losing in a given week. Throughout the regular season, this space will break down the top potential pickups for the upcoming week in order to help build your team into a champion.

All players referenced here will not be rostered by more than 50 percent of fantasy teams in Yahoo leagues, giving you a chance to go get your targets off waivers. Since this is a special preseason edition, let’s focus on five potential pickups that could slip through drafts and onto the waiver wire.

5. Top Fantasy Football Pickups for Week 1 – Baltimore Ravens TE Isaiah Likely

Investing in the Baltimore passing game isn’t usually an intriguing prospect but there is upside to be had here. There are few proven options on the wide receiver depth chart after Marquise Brown was traded in the offseason, leaving plenty of targets available outside of the ones going to tight end Mark Andrews.

Enter Likely, the Ravens’ fourth-round pick this year and Andrews’ backup on the depth chart. Targeting a No. 2 tight end on a team that features a run-heavy offense usually isn’t an optimal strategy but Likely blew up in the preseason, catching 12 passes for 144 yards, likely earning himself a significant role for the Ravens.

Tight end is a tricky position to fill and it makes sense to use one of your last bench spots on Likely, who is rostered in just eight percent of Yahoo leagues. If Lamar Jackson forms a quick connection with Likely he could emerge as a preferred streamer at the position.