Week 13 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 bye weeks are finally over, but there are a number of injuries (Amari Cooper, Doug Martin, Greg Olsen, and Devonta Freeman, to name a few) along with a certain suspension (Michael Crabtree) that may have owners scrambling to fill holes in their lineups.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best Sneaky Starts for Week 13:
Case Keenum, Vikings (@ ATL)
Since Week 8, Keenum is the No. 6 fantasy quarterback and has posted the No. 5 per game average (21.5 points per game). He has cleared at least 280 yards in four straight games and has accounted for at least 2 touchdowns in three of those four games. The Falcons are not a great matchup (No. 12 in QB aFPA), but they just gave up 283 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick after Russell Wilson posted 258 yards and two scores the week before. The game is indoors, which certainly doesn’t hurt in early December.
Josh McCown, Jets (vs. KC)
In six 2017 home games, McCown has averaged 255 yards and 1.5 touchdowns while only throwing 0.5 interceptions. The Chiefs are No. 23 in QB aFPA and have been pretty mediocre against the pass all year. McCown is coming off a 307-yard, 3-touchdown effort against the Panthers, and he’s accounted for 16 total touchdowns in his last seven games.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars (vs. IND)
Bortles is never a confident start, but given the matchup, he’s certainly playable in Week 13. The Colts are No. 17 in QB aFPA, and have yielded the highest yards per attempt (8.2) and the third-most passing yards (266 per game) on the year. In 2017, Bortles has averaged 248 yards and 1.6 touchdowns in five home games versus just 167/0.67 on the road.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (@ GB)
All indications are that Winston will make his return this week. He wasn’t having a great year before the injury, but the Packers are a nice matchup (No. 30 in QB aFPA). In Winston’s last “green” matchup, he posted 332 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Giants in Week 4. In their last two meetings with competent quarterbacks, the Packers gave up 351 yards and 4 touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger three weeks after yielding 361 yards and 3 touchdowns to Matthew Stafford. Even Mitch Trubisky (297 yards and a touchdown) got into the act against Green Bay.
Brett Hundley, Packers (vs. TB)
The Packers season is on the line in Week 13. Realistically, they need to run the table in the final five weeks to make the postseason, and they’re hoping to get Aaron Rodgers back in Week 15. If Hundley isn’t able to win the next two games against the Bucs and Browns, they may decide to shut Rodgers down for the season. After a brutal outing against the Ravens in Week 11, Hundley bounced back with 245 yards and 3 touchdowns in a tough road matchup against the Steelers. The Bucs are No. 26 in QB aFPA, so Hundley should be able to post a serviceable fantasy line in Week 13.
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