Sneaky Starts: Week 15

Dec 11, 2019
Sneaky Starts: Week 15

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.

Let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 15...


  • Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. HOU, 31) - Tannehill continues to roll after tossing three touchdowns against the Raiders last week. It was the sixth time in his last seven games that he scored at least 18.9 fantasy points. The Texans have recently yielded 309/3 to Drew Lock, 326/3 to Tom Brady and 222/4 to Lamar Jackson.

  • Baker Mayfield, Browns (@ ARI, 32) - It was a disappointing outing against the Bengals last week, but Mayfield should be able to bounce back against the league-worst Cardinals. In the last month, they gave up 424/2 to Jared Goff and 424/4 to Jimmy Garoppolo. (That’s not a typo. They’ve yielded 424 passing yards twice in the last four games.)

  • Mitch Trubisky, Bears (@ GB, 15) - As a Packer fan, I’m worried about the game this week. Trubisky has thrown three touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and Matt Nagy dialed up a few designed runs last week against the Cowboys. (Trubisky had 63 yards and a score.) The Packers’ pass defense has been up and down all year.

  • Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (@ OAK, 30) - I hesitate to recommend Minshew, who hasn’t cracked 200 yards in his last two games, but he didn’t play full snaps in Week 13. It’s just that the Raiders are that bad. They’ve yielded 391/3 to Ryan Tannehill and 315/2 to Sam Darnold in recent weeks.

  • Eli Manning, Giants (vs. MIA, 28) - Manning threw two touchdowns against the Eagles and has an even better matchup this week against the Dolphins. Miami has yielded 270/2 to Sam Darnold, 310/3 to Carson Wentz, 327/3 to Baker Mayfield and 256/3 to Josh Allen in its last four games. Note: Daniel Jones did return to practice on Wednesday, but he was working with the backups.

Running Backs

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