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 2020 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...
* players with an asterisk were in last week’s Sneaky Starts
Gardner Minshew (vs. DET, 10)* has been a consistent presence in this article this season and he’s a good start again this week.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. ATL, 32)*
Cousins has had one bad game this season (113 yards and three interceptions to the Colts in Week 2), but otherwise, he’s been solid. He posted 259/2 in Week 1 against the Packers, 251/3 in Week 3 against the Titans, 260/1 in Week 4 against Houston and 249/2 against the Seahawks last week. The Falcons have given up 313/2 to Teddy Bridgewater, 327/4 to Aaron Rodgers, 316/4 combined to Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky and 450/1 to Dak Prescot.
Andy Dalton, Cowboys (vs. ARI, 24)
Dalton takes over for Dak Prescott, and inherits the best receiving corps in the league. Dalton completed 9-of-11 passes for 111 yards (10.09 YPA) in about a third of the snaps in Week 5. Dalton is a great pickup in two-QB leagues and he is fully capable of putting up QB1-type numbers given his supporting cast. In recent weeks, the Cardinals have yielded 276/2 to Teddy Bridgewater and 270/2 to Matthew Stafford.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (vs. NYJ, 13)
Fitzpatrick has scored 21+ in four straight games, including his 315-yard, two-interception outing against the Seahawks, thanks to his 6-47-1 as a runner. The Jets have yielded 380/1 to Kyler Murray, 242/2 to Brett Rypien, and 202/2 to both Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens in recent weeks.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans (va. HOU, 8)
I could tell a lot of people were skeptical when I said that Tannehill had QB1 upside, but the guy just keeps putting up fantasy points. He came into Week 5 with the 14th-highest per game average and then racked up 30 fantasy points on the Bills on Tuesday Night Football despite being shorthanded at receiver. The Texans have given up 301/2 to Gardner Minshew, 260/1 to Kirk Cousins and 237/2 to Ben Roethlisberger in recent weeks.
Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers (vs. CHI, 5)*
Bridgewater has scored 20+ in back-to-back weeks. The Bears have been fairly stingy against the pass, so Bridgewater isn’t a prime streaming option, but this passing game is rolling.
Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. WAS, 19)*
This is a leap of faith given Jones’s early-season (lack of) production. He hasn’t cracked 11 points since Week 1 (versus Pittsburgh), but Washington has given up 309/2 to Jared Goff, 193/2 to Lamar Jackson and 286/1 to Kyler Murray in recent weeks, and Jackson and Murray combined for 120 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Jones can run, so I think he delivers this week.
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