Sneaky Starts: Week 6
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 6...
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (vs. NO, 22nd in QB aFPA)
Minshew has posted at least 16.1 fantasy points in each of his five games and is averaging 17.9 FP on the year. That’s more than Jared Goff, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers. The Saints have a stout rush defense, so Minshew is likely to throw the ball more than usual so that the Jaguars can take advantage. New Orleans has yielded 204/2 to Jameis Winston, 406/2 to Russell Wilson and 283/1 to Jared Goff in recent weeks.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. PHI, 24)
The Eagles shut down Luke Falk, but they gave up 422/2 to Aaron Rodgers and 320/3 to Matt Ryan within the last four games. Like the Saints, they have a pass-funnel defense that should encourage the Vikings to throw the ball. Cousins is coming off his best game of the season (by far) after throwing for 306 yards and two scores against the Giants.
Kyle Allen, Panthers (@ TB, 31)
After tearing up the Cardinals in Week 3, I recommended Allen as a Sneaky Start against the Texans and he proceeded to fumble it three times, finishing with 3.3 fantasy points. So starting Allen doesn’t come without some risk. The matchup is fantastic, however, as the pass-funnel Bucs have given up 314/4 to Teddy Bridgewater, 517/2 to Jared Goff, 336/2 to Daniel Jones in their last three games.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (vs. BAL, 20)
Dalton has scored at least 16.1 fantasy points in four of his five starts. Due to his debacle two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, I’m a little reluctant to recommend him in a road game against a division opponent, but the Ravens have really struggled to stop the pass. Baker Mayfield (342/1), Patrick Mahomes (374/3) and Kyler Murray (349/0) all threw for 340+ yards against Baltimore.
Teddy Bridgewater, Saints (@ JAX, 16)
If Jalen Ramsey remains out, the Jaguars aren’t a daunting matchup, as evidenced by the 303/3 that Joe Flacco put up in Week 4. Bridgewater is coming off of his best game of the year (314/4) and has 16.3+ fantasy points in two of his last three games.
Washington’s Quarterback (@ MIA, 32)
I’m not sure who is going to start for the Redskins, but apparently it won’t be Dwayne Haskins. Whether it’s Case Keenum or Colt McCoy, the Washington “passing attack” is worth a look given its tasty matchup against the Dolphins in the Tank Bowl. Miami has yielded 310/2 to Philip Rivers, 246/2 to Dak Prescott and 264/2 to Tom Brady in its last three games.
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