Sneaky Starts: Week 10

Sneaky Starts: Week 10

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last updated Sep 12, 2016

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in both 2012 and 2015 for a total of five Top 5 seasons in the last six years. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-15 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

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All but the luckiest fantasy owners at some point need to find the proverbial diamond in the rough -- a waiver wire or bench player who is capable of putting up some points in a pinch. This weekly feature is dedicated to that part of fantasy football. It's not pretty, but it's part of the game.

In Week 9, our Sneaky Starts included Nick Foles (QB1), Josh McCown (QB12), Terrelle Pryor (QB15), Chris Ivory (RB10), Shonn Greene (RB18), Tolbert (RB23), Donald Brown (RB37), T.Y. Hilton (WR3), Aaron Dobson (WR5), Doug Baldwin (WR13), Emmanuel Sanders (WR21), Rod Streater (WR22), Denarius Moore (WR26), Brandon LaFell (WR29), Kendall Wright (WR32), Tim Wright (TE6) and Coby Fleener (TE12). 

At 4for4, we use Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) by position heavily in our rankings and analyses. For more detail, click here.

Note: These recommendations do not override our weekly rankings, which are updated throughout the week and weekend.


He isn't flying under the radar after his seven-TD performance in Week 9, but Nick Foles (@ GB) looks like a top 10 start against the Packers this week.

Titans QB Jake Locker (vs. JAX)
Locker had a disappointing game against the Rams, but did run for a TD to post a somewhat respectable fantasy line. In six 2013 starts, he's averaging 16.8 fantasy points, so that's a reasonable expectation since he's playing at home against the Jaguars, who are #23 in QB aFPA.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (vs. BUF)
Big Ben has thrown for at least 250 yards and a TD in six of his last seven games and last week he threw for 400/4 against the Patriots. This week, he has the Bills at home.

Bears QB Jay Cutler (vs. DET)
Cutler is going to return to the lineup against the Lions. In the six games he has finished this season, he's averaging 272 yards and two TDs (or 18.4 fantasy points). Risk of re-injury is the only concern here.

Texans QB Case Keenum (@ ARI)
In two starts, Keenum has thrown for 621 yards and four TDs while rushing for an additional 36 yards. We're worried about the matchup with the Cardinals (#5 in QB aFPA and at home, coming off of a bye), but if you're in a tight spot, you could do worse. As a waiver wire pickup, we like Keenum due to his Week 11-12 schedule against the Raiders and Jaguars. Both games are at home.

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (@ TB)
Tannehill is the #18 QB in fantasy football and has a nice matchup against the Buccaneers, who are #22 in QB aFPA on the year. Tannehill has thrown (or rushed) for at least one TD in every game this season.

Packers QB Seneca Wallace (vs. PHI)
Wallace's Packer debut wasn't pretty, but he's capable of posting a serviceable fantasy line in a tasty matchup with the Eagles (#28 in QB aFPA). It will help to get a full week of starter's reps under his belt.


Mike James (vs. MIA) and Danny Woodhead (vs. DEN) seem like obvious starts this week, but thought I should mention them in this space for non-believers.

Raiders RB Rashad Jennings (@ NYG)
Filling in for Darren McFadden, Jennings turned 22 touches into 176 yards and a TD in Week 9 and is clearly the top dog in the Oakland backfield with DMC sidelined against the Giants. It's not a good matchup, but Jennings is a Sneaky Start on volume alone.

Texans RB Ben Tate (@ ARI)
Arian Foster isn't likely to play against the Cardinals, which leaves Tate (and Dennis Johnson) in charge. He's playing with cracked ribs and it's a bad matchup, so consider Tate a low-end RB2/flex type.

Giants RB Peyton Hillis (vs. OAK)
Andre Brown is back, but the Giants want to ease him into the lineup. Hillis, who has 166 total yards and a TD in the last two games, should get the start. He's only averaging 2.8 YPC, so don't expect any miracles.

Colts RB Donald Brown (vs. STL)
Brown is averaging 52.8 total yards in his last five games and has a great matchup with the Rams, who are #32 in RB aFPA. Trent Richardson is dealing with an ankle injury, so the more productive Brown (6.4 YPC) could see a few extra touches this week.

Titans RB Shonn Greene (vs. JAX)
The Titans said they wanted to involve Greene in the offense and he responded with 66 total yards and a TD against the Rams. The Jaguars are also a tasty matchup, so Greene should produce in limited touches.

Packers RB James Starks (vs. PHI)
Starks has run well this season, averaging 6.0 YPC on 47 totes. He found the endzone for the second straight week on Monday night, and with Aaron Rodgers out, the Packers to go to a more run-oriented attack.


In ESPN leagues, more owners are starting Marques Colston and Roddy White than Keenan Allen (vs. DEN), T.Y. Hilton (vs. STL), Alshon Jeffery (vs. DET) and Terrance Williams (@ NO). This needs to stop.

Seahawks WRs Golden Tate & Doug Baldwin (@ ATL)
Tate was quiet against the Bucs in Week 9, while (Sneaky Start) Baldwin caught six passes for 75 yards and a TD filling in for an injured Sidney Rice. They both should be able to produce against the Falcons (#30 in WR aFPA).

Titans WRs Kendall Wright & Nate Washington (vs. JAX)
Throwing out a forgettable Week 1, Wright is the #32 WR since Week 2, posting at least 56 yards and/or a TD in seven straight games. Washington should bounce back after posting a goose egg against the Rams. He has back-to-back 100-yard games back in Week 3 and Week 4.

Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders (vs. BUF)
Sanders has 11 targets in each of his last two games (registering 13 catches) and has averaged 64 yards in his last five outings. The Bills are #32 in WR aFPA.

Eagles WR Riley Cooper (@ GB)
Cooper is averaging 26.5 yards and .36 TD per quarter in his last 11 quarters with Nick Foles, including his 5-139-3 outburst against the Raiders in Week 9. Foles is still under center and a similarly favorable matchup against the Packers awaits (#22 in WR aFPA).

Bengals WR Marvin Jones (@ BAL)
In Week 9, Jones had a quiet game by his recent standards, posting 4-66, though he had a long TD called back due to an unnecessary hold. It's a mediocre matchup, but Jones is emerging.

Ravens WR Marlon Brown (vs. CIN)
Jacoby Jones's return put a dent in Brown's weekly upside, but in Week 9 it didn't matter as the rookie turned nine targets into a stellar 5-59-2 fantasy line. It's not a good matchup, but it appears that Brown will remain Baltimore's WR2.

Lions WR Kris Durham (@ CHI)
Nate Burleson won't be back this week, so Durham should remain involved in the Lions' passing attack. He has gained at least 41 yards or scored a TD in five straight games.

Jaguars WR Mike Brown (@ TEN)
Cecil Shorts is an obvious start given his usual workload, but Brown is a Sneaky Start due to his recent production (12-212-1 in the last three games) and the absence of Justin Blackmon (suspended). Brown should take over the WR2 role in Jacksonville and post solid numbers in garbage time.

Colts WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. STL)
DHB didn't do much against the Texans, but he has produced low-end fantasy WR2 numbers in the past and should have some nice games down the stretch for the Colts. The Rams are #24 in WR aFPA.

Saints WR Kenny Stills (vs. DAL)
Stills was a disappointment against the Jets in Week 9, but he has had some big games this season and Marques Colston is still hobbled. The Cowboys (#19 in WR aFPA) offer some opportunity in the passing game

Rams WR Chris Givens (@ IND)
Something may be brewing in St. Louis between Givens and QB Kellen Clemens. Over the past two weeks, Givens leads the team in snaps and yardage and this week he has a nice matchup with the Colts (#28 in WR aFPA).


Buccaneers TE Tim Wright (vs. MIA)
Wright now has at least 41 yards in four of his last five games and has found the endzone in two straight games. He should see consistent targets the rest of the way with Mike Williams out for the year.

Texans TE Garrett Graham (@ ARI)
Graham hasn't had the type of stretch that we thought he would when Owen Daniels went down, but to be fair, he has faced three top 5 defenses against TEs in the last three games. This week things should be much easier against the Cardinals, who are #32 in TE aFPA.

Seahawks TE Zach Miller (@ ATL)
Miller's role in the Seattle offense seems to be increasing, as evidenced by the 15 targets he has seen in the last three games. He's a big redzone target for QB Russell Wilson.

Bills TE Scott Chandler (@ PIT)
handler has been spotty this season, but his targets have been increasing of late -- 20 in the last two weeks -- and the Bills will be without Robert Woods in Week 10.

Titans TE Delanie Walker (vs. JAX)
Walker has at least 40 yards and/or a TD in six of his eight games this season and the Jaguars are #27 in TE aFPA.

Filed Under: w10, 2013

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