Week 10 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts
All but the luckiest fantasy owners at some point need to find the proverbial diamond in the rough—a waiver wire or bench player 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.
A good way to identify a potential spot start is to leverage 4for4’s signature strength-of-schedule metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA). Many sites publish raw fantasy points allowed by position, but 4for4 goes a step further and adjusts those numbers for a defense’s relative year-to-date schedule strength. So if a defense has seen a murderer’s row of running backs, it will be reflected in the defense’s aFPA. As a ranker, I use this metric weekly when putting together our award-winning projections.
The byes are letting up a bit. There are only four teams—Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Baltimore—off this week, but Jameis Winston (shoulder) is out, while Dez Bryant (ankle, knee) and DeMarco Murray (knee) could potentially miss Week 10 as well.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of this week’s best Sneaky Starts:
Josh McCown, Jets (@ TB)
McCown continues to deliver. He’s the No. 10 quarterback on the year and has a nice matchup with the Bucs, who are No. 29 in QB aFPA. McCown has accounted for at least 2 touchdowns in five straight games, and that should continue in Week 10.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (@ TEN)
Dalton predictably flopped last week against the Jaguars (136 yards and no touchdowns), but he threw 11 touchdowns in his previous five games. In four moderate (white) or favorable (green) matchups, Dalton has averaged 242 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per game. The Titans are No. 22 in QB aFPA.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers (vs. NYJ)
In limited duty against the Saints, Fitzpatrick threw for 68 yards and a touchdown and ran the ball three times for 30 yards. The Jets are No. 31 in QB aFPA, so he should be able to post good numbers even without Mike Evans, who is suspended for Week 10.
Eli Manning, Giants (@ SF)
Manning has had a tough year, though he has tossed at least 2 touchdowns in four of his last six games. The 49ers are No. 23 in QB aFPA—the last time Manning had a green matchup, he threw for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns on the Bucs in Week 4. He should be able to produce against the 49ers.
C.J. Beathard, 49ers (vs. NYG)
Beathard is averaging 40.3 pass attempts, so even though his yards per attempt (5.84) isn’t great, the volume is there. He’s also adding fantasy points with his legs, racking up a total of 100 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground in the last four games. The Giants (No. 24 in QB aFPA) represent a favorable matchup.
Brock Osweiler, Broncos (vs. NE)
This is definitely a matchup play. The Pats are No. 30 in QB aFPA, and are yielding 296 yards and 2.0 pass touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks. I wouldn’t expect that sort of production for Osweiler, but if the Broncos fall behind, he should be able to cobble together a solid fantasy line in garbage time.
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