Sneaky Starts: Week 12

Sneaky Starts: Week 12

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Nov 21, 2014

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in both 2012 and 2015 for a total of five Top 5 seasons in the last six years. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-15 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

Follow John Paulsen on Twitter: @4for4_John.

All but the luckiest fantasy owners at some point need to find the proverbial diamond in the rough -- a waiver wire or bench player who is 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.

How did our Sneaky Starts fare last week? There are always a few duds, but Andy Dalton (QB3), Mark Sanchez (QB7), Josh McCown (QB8), Jeremy Hill (RB6), Alfred Blue (RB7), C.J. Anderson (RB11), Bishop Sankey (RB16), Ryan Mathews (RB22), Steven Jackson (RB31), Branden Oliver (RB34), Jonathan Stewart (RB35), Jordan Matthews (WR9), Andrew Hawkins (WR11), Malcom Floyd (WR22), Taylor Gabriel (WR25), Kendall Wright (WR35), John Brown (WR36), Coby Fleener (TE1) and Jermaine Gresham (TE2) all finished with starter- or flex-caliber numbers in Week 11.

Note: I’ll mention our primary strength-of-schedule metric, Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA), throughout the article. For more detail, click here.

Let’s take a look at the best Sneaky Starts for Week 12:



Josh McCown, Buccaneers (@ CHI)
McCown is averaging 18.0 FP in the four games that he’s finished. This week, he has a revenge game against the Bears, who are #31 in QB aFPA. Chicago figures to put up some points, so McCown and the Bucs will have to keep pace. Keep an eye on the weather, however.

Joe Flacco, Ravens (@ NO)
As wintry weather hits football cities around the country, it’s nice to know that Flacco will playing at a perfect 72 degrees against the Saints, who are #19 in QB aFPA. This game is a sneaky shootout.

Andy Dalton, Bengals (@ HOU)
Dalton bounced back after a disastrous Week 10 with three touchdowns against the Saints in Week 11. Now he faces the Texans, who are #23 in QB aFPA. The return of Giovani Bernard should help in the passing game.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars (@ IND)
Bortles made his NFL debut in the second half of the Jaguars’ previous meeting with the Colts, and he threw for 223 yards and two scores in two quarters of play. Since then, he’s been on a roller coaster of a rookie season, but he usually throws for 1-2 scores and adds 20-40 yards on the ground. The Jaguars may be in catch up mode early in this one.

Brian Hoyer, Browns (@ ATL)
He’s baaaaaaaack. Hoyer has to be the happiest man in the league right now. Not only are the Browns sitting at 6-4 and primed for a playoff run, but he gets to throw to one of the legue's most explosive receivers the rest of the way. The last time Josh Gordon came off of suspension, Hoyer threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings. Even if Gordon is limited, Hoyer should be able to put up some good numbers against the Falcons.

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