Week 7 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.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few Sneaky Starts for Week 7.
Brett Hundley, Packers (vs. NO)
The more I look into Hundley, the more optimistic I am about the chances he’ll provide quality quarterback play for the Packers while Aaron Rodgers recovers from surgery on his collarbone. Over the course of three preseasons, Hundley completed 98-of-148 passes (66.2%) for a 7.97 yards-per-attempt average. He also registered a 6.8% touchdown rate against a 1.4% interception rate. Yes, it’s the preseason, but these are the numbers a team wants to see out of its backup quarterback in preseason play. Looking at his college stats, he’s almost a Tyrod Taylor type as a runner, only he’s a much more accurate passer. He may not run as much as Taylor does in the NFL, but he also has vastly better weapons to throw to. He’s been in the Packer program for two-plus seasons now, so knowing the offense shouldn’t be an issue. Give him a week of preparation to start against a shaky Saints pass defense, and we should see a good fantasy line in Week 7. I currently have him ranked as our No. 10 quarterback this week, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the injuries to the Packer offensive line.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills (vs. TB)
Taylor is missing his top two receivers—Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay—but he should still find a way to put up fantasy points, especially at home in a tasty matchup against a beat-up Bucs defense, who are No. 30 in QB aFPA. In 2015 and 2016, when Sammy Watkins was out, Taylor's average rushing yardage increased from 36 yards to 51 yards and his rushing touchdowns jumped from 0.26 to 0.50 per game.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars (@ IND)
Bortles only has one game in 2017 with multiple touchdowns—he threw 4 against the Ravens in Week 3—but a matchup with the Colts’ pass defense makes him a decent desperation start in Week 7. Indianapolis has given up an average of 299 yards and 1.75 passing touchdowns to Marcus Mariota, Brian Hoyer, Russell Wilson, and DeShone Kizer.
C.J. Beathard, 49ers (vs. DAL)
Beathard relieved an ineffective Brian Hoyer in the middle of the second quarter of Week 6 and proceeded to rack up 245 yards and a touchdown in just over a half of play. This week, he has a home matchup with the Cowboys, who have yielded an average of 267 yards and 2.33 passing touchdowns in their last three games.
DeShone Kizer, Browns (vs. TEN)
Well, Kizer is back under center after Kevin Hogan fell flat on his face in Week 6. Kizer is a risky play since he could get benched after a bad start, but he has a great matchup against the Titans, who are No. 29 in QB aFPA.
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