Sneaky Starts: Week 15

Sneaky Starts: Week 15

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Dec 18, 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 (or several) duds, but Teddy Bridgewater (QB14), Jonathan Stewart (RB7), Andre Williams (RB9), Isaiah Crowell (RB16), Latavius Murray (RB20), Chris Ivory (RB22), Dan Herron (RB27), Chris Johnson (RB30), Matt Asiata (RB32), Charles Johnson (WR12), Doug Baldwin (WR15), Pierre Garcon (WR26), Scott Chandler (TE9), Heath Miller (TE14) and Jordan Cameron (TE17) all posted starter- or flex-caliber numbers in Week 14.

It’s important not to get too cute at this point in the fantasy postseason, but injuries may force owners to think outside of the box when setting their lineups. Let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 15:



Mark Sanchez, Eagles (vs. DAL)
Sanchez’s Week 14 performance wasn’t inspiring – 96 passing yards, 2 TDs, INT – but that’s not a disastrous line against a surging defense like Seattle’s. Even including that game, Sanchez is the #8 QB since taking over as the starter in Week 10, and he has a nice matchup against the Cowboys (#27 in QB aFPA).

Eli Manning, Giants (vs. WAS)
Manning has averaged 259 yards and 2.2 touchdowns in his five “green” matchups this year, including 300 yards and four touchdowns against the Redskins (#32 in QB aFPA) in Week 4.

Johnny Manziel, Browns (vs. CIN)
Rushing yards – they can be gold for running quarterbacks. We are conservatively projecting Manziel for 6.3 carries for 35 yards, and he could quite easily double that yardage if the Bengals underestimate his scrambling/rushing ability. He’s our #16 QB this week.

Kyle Orton, Bills (vs. GB)
Orton is the #15 QB since taking over as Buffalo’s starter in Week 5. The Packers’ pass defense was exposed against the Falcons, and Orton may be able to take advantage with Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.

Jake Locker, Titans (vs. NYJ)
Locker has averaged 13.5 FP in 22 career starts, and 15.3 FP in the 18 starts in which he attempted at least 20 passes (i.e. those games in which he didn’t get hurt). It’s guaranteed to be ugly, but Locker could cobble together a good fantasy line given his ability to run the ball (27.7 rush yards in those 18 aforementioned games) and a favorable matchup with the Jets (#21 in QB aFPA).

Derek Anderson, Panthers (vs. TB)
Anderson has one start this year, and it was also against the Buccaneers in Week 1. He threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns and even added 10 rushing yards on three totes. He was the #12 QB that week.


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