Sneaky Starts: Week 5

Sneaky Starts: Week 5

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Oct 3, 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 Alex Smith (QB9), Teddy Bridgewater (QB12), Ryan Tannehill (QB13), Matt Asiata (RB2), Lamar Miller (RB5), Bishop Sankey (RB17), Khiry Robinson (RB21), Toby Gerhart (RB22), Chris Ivory (RB23), Eddie Royal (WR5), Terrance Williams (WR6), Andre Holmes (WR12), Torrey Smith (WR20), Malcom Floyd (WR26), James Jones (WR32), Travis Kelce (TE2) and Eric Ebron (TE8) all offered starter or flex-caliber numbers in Week 4.

Throughout the article I’ll refer to our main strength of schedule metric: Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA). Click here for more detail.

Let’s take a look at the Sneaky Starts for Week 5:



Eli Manning, Giants (vs. ATL)
When last we saw Eli, he was shredding Washington to the tune of 300 yards and five total touchdowns. This week he faces the Falcons, who are #17 in QB aFPA behind their 2nd-worst YPA allowed (8.6).

Joe Flacco, Ravens (@ IND)
Don’t look now, but Flacco is the #10 QB in fantasy football. He’s averaging 264 yards passing and 1.8 TD per game through the first four weeks. The Colts (#22 in QB aFPA) have been a soft matchup for quarterbacks thus far, yielding 8.0 YPA and over 250 yards passing per game.

Alex Smith, Chiefs (@ SF)
The 49ers are not a good matchup (#10 in QB aFPA), but Smith has six passing touchdowns in the last two games, and will be motivated to stick it to his old team. (This is his first time playing the 49ers since leaving San Francisco in 2013.) I suspect Andy Reid will continue to call throw it around the goal line to afford Smith the opportunity to make plays in a revenge game.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars (vs. PIT)
Blake Bortles is the #18 QB in the past two weeks and he only played a half of football in Week 3. He’s going to make mistakes, but we like the 7.8 YPA and the 27.0 rushing yards he’s produced since taking over. The Steelers are a mediocre matchup (#18 in QB aFPA).

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans (@ DAL)
FitzMagic is the #19 fantasy QB through four weeks, averaging 226 yards and 1.3 TD, while adding 14.5 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys are #28 in QB aFPA, which is really what makes Fitz a Sneaky Start.

Austin Davis, Rams (@ PHI)
Davis has been named the Rams starter going forward and his metrics – namely his quite solid 8.0 YPA and his 72.3% completion percentage – are impressive even if his 3:3 TD-to-INT ratio isn’t. The Eagles have been generous to opposing quarterbacks (#27 QB aFPA).

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