Sneaky Starts: Week 9

Nov 04, 2020
Sneaky Starts: Week 9

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 9...


Derek Carr, Raiders (@ LAC, 29)

Prior to The Wind Game in Cleveland last week, Carr tossed 2+ touchdowns in five straight games. I’m expecting a bounce-back game against the Chargers, who have yielded 248/3 to Drew Lock, 173/2 to Gardner Minshew, 325/1 to Drew Brees and 369/5 to Tom Brady over the last four games.

Drew Lock, Broncos (@ ATL, 31)

Lock finally broke through with 248/3 last week against the Chargers, but he has had a tough schedule thus far this season, so a date with the Falcons could be just what the doctor ordered.

Nick Mullens, 49ers (vs. GB, 10)

Mullens has a career 8.41 YPA and threw 13 touchdowns in eight starts back in 2018. This year, he had 343/1 against the Giants and posted 238/2 against the Seahawks in 41% of the snaps. The Packers are bad against the run and mediocre against the pass, so Kyle Shanahan may elect to use a run-heavy attack, but Mullens is capable of putting up points through the air when necessary.

Running Backs

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