New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks is going to see an increase in targets with Julian Edelman's injury. (Photo: Getty Images)

If you already don't have your fantasy football team set, you should probably get on that soon because we are less than two weeks away from the start of the 2017 NFL regular season when the New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 7.

If you do have your team (and a witty name to boot), that still doesn't mean your work is done. Injuries and sleepers are everywhere and the owners that can adapt the best will go the farthest. 

So with the ever-changing landscape of the league doing what it does best, here are some of the biggest risers before the regular season starts:



Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs backfield took an enormous hit when Spencer Ware suffered a torn PCL during Week 3 of the preseason. The injury is expected to keep him out the entire year. 

Don't expect the run game to stop, though. 

Under head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs have run the ball 400 times or more and gained at least 1,700 yards in each of the past four seasons. 

Enter rookie back Kareem Hunt, who rushed for almost 5,000 yards in four seasons at Toledo. 

The bruising runner has averaged 4.4 yards per carry during the preseason and will have the starting job all to himself to start the season. 

If you're not happy with your running backs, take a gamble on Hunt. He's sure to see plenty of touches this year. 


Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Just like in Kansas City, a rookie rusher might have an opportunity to carry the backfield at the start of the 2017 season in Cincinnati. 

Bengals starter Jeremy Hill suffered an ankle injury on Sunday, opening the door for first-year man Joe Mixon to take over. 

Had it not been for off-field issues, the former Oklahoma back could have very well been a first-round pick. Instead, his stock plummeted for the Bengals to nab him at No. 48 overall. 

He's shown flashes of being an every-down back in the NFL already, which makes his chances of starting on a Bengals team that has question marks at the position more and more likely:


Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots

Tom Brady's best friend is least for this season, probably. 

Julian Edelman's torn ACL against the Detroit Lions leaves the defending Super Bowl champions without their No. 1 wide receiver, meaning those duties will fall to the newly-acquired Brandin Cooks. 

The speedster creates a different kind of threat compared to Edelman in the slot, but with Brady slinging the football, Cooks is going to see plenty of the ball downfield. 

Seriously, how lucky is he to go from Drew Brees in New Orleans to Brady? 

He'll have to split targets with Rob Gronkowski and possibly Chris Hogan, but Cooks is likely going to put up leading receiver-type numbers in 2017.