Sneaky Starts: Week 8
Welcome to Week 8! The Falcons, Cowboys, Chargers and Titans are on bye, and there are a few players who are going to be out for Week 8 (or longer) due to injury. Bilal Powell (neck) is out for the year, and Albert Wilson (hip) probably is as well. Sony Michel is dealing with a strained knee, Keke Coutee has a strained hamstring and LeSean McCoy is in the concussion protocol. To top it all off, it looks like Dalvin Cook is likely to sit through the Vikings’ Week 10 bye.
Needless to say, more than a few owners are going to be scrambling to find a diamond in the rough for Week 8.
A great 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.
Last week, I discussed Mitch Trubisky, Baker Mayfield, Eli Manning, Latavius Murray, Tarik Cohen, Marlon Mack, Royce Freeman, Sterling Shepard, David Njoku and C.J. Uzomah in this space. Let’s see if we can dig up a few more gems for Week 8.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (@ PIT, #27 in QB aFPA)
Mayfield is the middle of a great stretch in his schedule. Last week, he scored 20.9 fantasy points against the Bucs and this week he’ll face the Steelers, who are No. 27 in QB aFPA after yielding 229/2 to Andy Dalton, 285/1 to Matt Ryan and 363/2 to Joe Flacco.
Derek Carr, Raiders (vs. IND, 22)
Carr is coming off his bye at home against a Colts defense that is No. 22 in QB aFPA. The Raiders traded away Amari Cooper, and Carr only has one game with more than one passing touchdown this season, but this matchup should be a high-scoring affair.
Case Keenum, Broncos (@ KC, 28)
This game has shootout potential, though the matchup worries me a little after the Chiefs severely limited Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati passing attack last week, but Kansas City is No. 28 in QB aFPA and have yielded big games to Tom Brady (340/1) and Blake Bortles (430/1) in recent weeks. Keenum threw for 245 yards and a pick in his first meeting with the Chiefs this year.
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