Sneaky Starts: Week 7
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. A defense’s ranking against a particular position is listed in parenthesis next to each player.
Let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 7...
* players with an asterisk were in last week’s Sneaky Starts
Justin Herbert, Chargers (vs. JAX, 20)
In four starts, Herbert is averaging 299 yards passing and 2.3 touchdowns per game. He has also added 55 rushing yards and a touchdown (total) as a runner, which improves his floor. Since Week 2, he has the 9th-highest PPG at his position. The Jaguars have allowed the highest YPA (8.6) in the league along with 271 yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns per game.
Joe Burrow, Bengals (vs. CLE, 21)
Burrow has had a couple of tougher matchups in a row, but his schedule lightens up a bit this week, as Cleveland has yielded an averaged 272 pass yards and 2.2 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Burrow has mustered 15+ points in five of six games and 20+ in two games.
Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers (@ NO, 30)*
The Saints have given up 3+ touchdown passes in four straight games and are second in the league with 15 touchdown passes allowed this season. Prior to a bad outing last week against the Bears, Bridgewater posted 276/2 against Arizona and 313/2 against the Falcons, and he’s showing a surprising willingness to run (20.1 rush yards per game).
Andy Dalton, Cowboys (@ WAS, 24)*
Dalton’s starting debut against the Cardinals didn’t go as planned (11.0 FP with 266/1 and two picks), but I still believe he can produce given the Cowboys’ strong supporting cast. (The offensive line is a concern against a fearsome Washington pass rush.) The Football Team has given up 309/2 to Jared Goff, 286/1 to Kyler Murray and 270/2 to Carson Wentz this season.
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