Week 17 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts & Sleepers

Dec 27, 2023
Week 17 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts & Sleepers

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.

Our signature strength-of-schedule metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) will continue to be updated throughout the fantasy playoffs. Unlike SOS tools at other sites, we can adjust a defense’s fantasy points allowed by its schedule bias, so it provides a better “apples-to-apples” comparison. I’ll put the defense’s aFPA rank in parentheses below. The higher the number, the better the matchup.


Brock Purdy (or Sam Darnold), 49ers (@ WAS, 32)

I currently have Brock Purdy in the projections on the assumption that he’ll be able to recover from a stinger in Week 16. If he can’t play, then Sam Darnold would be a QB1-level option in a fantastic matchup against the Commanders.

In the preseason, Darnold completed 22-of-33 passes for 282 yards, 8.55 yards per attempt (YPA), two touchdowns, and one interception. He also added three rushes for 18 yards. In six starts for the Panthers last year, he completed 82-of-140 passes for 1,143 yards, 8.16 YPA, seven touchdowns, and three picks. He added 16 carries for 102 yards and two scores as a rusher. His numbers in 2022 and the 2023 preseason are a lot better than his previous career numbers, so maybe he's turned the corner and will succeed in Kyle Shanahan's (very) QB-friendly system. We can expect about 17 yards rushing and maybe a touchdown, so Darnold would project as a low-end QB1 this week if Purdy can’t play.

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