Sneaky Starts: Week 4
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. As of Week 4, the aFPA Hot Spots reports that you see on the site are now using 2019 data, so we can now pay more attention to positional strength of schedule.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 4...
Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. WAS, 29th in QB aFPA)
For the most part, Jones’ starting debut went swimmingly against a Bucs defense that had played pretty well in the first two weeks. He threw for 336 yards and two scores, and added 28 yards and two more touchdowns as a runner. He fumbled twice, but other than that, he played quite well. His matchup is nice too—Washington has yielded three passing touchdowns (along with an 8.13 yards per attempt) in each of the first three games.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts (vs. OAK, 26)
Brissett seems to be growing into his role. He’s coming off a 310-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Falcons and now has scored at least 16.3 fantasy points in three straight games. Enter the Raiders, who were decent against the Broncos and Vikings, but have been shredded for 9.22 yards per attempt and don’t have an interception on the year.
Matthew Stafford, Lions (vs. KC, 5)
Stafford was disappointing (201/1) against a shaky Eagles defense last week, but he had good fantasy lines in Week 1 (385/3) and Week 2 (245/2). His matchup against the Chiefs is probably good for his upside. Kansas City held Derek Carr to 9.7 fantasy points in Week 2, but they gave up 24.6 to a combination of Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew in Week 1 and yielded 21.3 to Lamar Jackson last week. Detroit will have to throw to try to stay in the game against the Chiefs, and Stafford has quite a few weapons at his disposal.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (@ PIT, 11)
Ladies and gentlemen, Dalton is the No. 10 fantasy quarterback through three weeks, and he has scored at least 16.1 fantasy points in each game. The Steelers were better against Jimmy Garoppolo last week—277 yards, one touchdown, two picks—but they gave up 300+ yards and three touchdowns in both Week 1 (Tom Brady) and Week 2 (Russell Wilson).
Kyle Allen, Panthers (@ HOU, 28)
Allen was my deep league play last week and he delivered 261 yards and four touchdowns against a bad Arizona pass defense. I’m not expecting that sort of production against the Texans, but another good game is certainly possible. The Texans have yielded an average of 300 yards and 1.7 touchdowns through three weeks.
Case Keenum, Redskins (@ NYG, 30)
I try to include at least one bottom-of-the-barrel play who is widely available in most fantasy leagues and this week Keenum is it. It’s mainly due to his matchup with the Giants, who have yielded three 22+ point performances from Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott and Josh Allen. Keenum is who he is at this point, but he’s producing as a fantasy quarterback right now, averaging 311 yards and 2.3 touchdowns through three weeks.
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