Sneaky Starts: Week 16

Dec 23, 2020
Sneaky Starts: Week 16

It’s Championship Week—let’s go get that title.

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 2020 data, so we can now pay serious attention to positional strength of schedule. A defense’s ranking against a particular position is listed in parenthesis next to each player.

As always, when faced with lineup decisions, it’s best to look at the custom projections for your league.

Let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 16...


Baker Mayfield, Browns (@ NYJ, 32)

Mayfield’s last four starts: 258/2 (JAX), 334/4 (TEN), 343/2 (BAL) and 297/2 (NYG). The Jets contained Jared Goff last week (209/2), but yielded big games to Russell Wilson (206/4), Derek Carr (381/3), Ryan Fitzpatrick (257/2) and Justin Herbert (366/3) in recent weeks.

Mitch Trubisky, Bears (@ JAX, 27)

The Jaguars have yielded at least two touchdown passes in eight straight games. Trubisky should be able to produce this week.

Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (@ LV, 18)

In his last three starts, Tua has thrown for 296/1 against Cincinnati, 316/2 (plus 24 yards rushing and a touchdown) against the Chiefs, and ran for two touchdowns last week against the Patriots. He should get a few weapons back this week as well. The Raiders have given up two touchdown passes in five straight games.

Jared Goff, Rams (@ SEA, 20)

Seattle’s pass defense has been up and down this season and Goff is coming off of a so-so game in a great matchup against the Jets. Goff threw for 302 yards and no scores against Seattle back in Week 10, though he’s averaging 327 yards passing in his last four meetings with the Seahawks.

Matt Ryan, Falcons (@ KC, 24)

Ryan and the Falcons will likely be pass-happy in negative game script against the Chiefs. Kansas City has yielded 15 touchdowns (and at least two per contest) in their last six games.

Matthew Stafford, Lions (vs. TB, 26)

The Bucs are hard to run on, so teams tend to throw to move the ball. Matt Ryan (356/3), Patrick Mahomes (462/3) and Jared Goff (376/3) have all racked up yardage and touchdowns in the last four games. In that span, only Kirk Cousins was held below 23.0 fantasy points.

Running Backs

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