Sneaky Starts: Championship Week Edition

Sneaky Starts: Championship Week Edition

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Dec 19, 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 Eli Manning (QB5), Derek Anderson (QB10), Pierre Thomas (RB18), Chris Ivory (RB20), Jonathan Stewart (RB24), Latavius Murray (RB26), Branden Oliver (RB30), Toby Gerhart (RB34), Harry Douglas (WR8), Nate Washington (WR19), Eric Decker (WR20), Marquess Wilson (WR29), Delanie Walker (TE7), Heath Miller (TE12) and Mychal Rivera (TE15) all posted starter- or flex-caliber numbers in Week 15.

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 16:



Mark Sanchez, Eagles (@ WAS)
Sanchez hasn’t been very good in the last two weeks. His subpar game against the Seahawks was understandable, but last week’s 252-yard, 2-INT stinker against the Cowboys wasn’t. He was a victim of red zone play-calling, as Chip Kelly elected to run the ball against Dallas. Sanchez should be able to bounce back against Washington, who is #30 in QB aFPA.

Robert Griffin III, Redskins (vs. PHI)
Both quarterbacks in this game are pretty sneaky. Griffin finished with 236 passing yards and a TD against the Giants, and added 46 yards on the ground. He nearly scored a rushing touchdown, but it was ruled a fumble and touchback for the G-Men. Provided the Redskins don’t implode, he should be able to post good numbers against the Eagles.

Alex Smith, Chiefs (@ PIT)
Smith has faced six teams ranked #20 or lower in QB aFPA this season. In those games, he has averaged 16.4 FP, which is about what Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford have averaged this season. The Steelers are #32 in QB aFPA.

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