Sneaky Starts: Week 7

Sneaky Starts: Week 7

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Oct 17, 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 Joe Flacco (QB2), Blake Bortles (QB12), Kirk Cousins (QB13), Branden Oliver (RB6), Joique Bell (RB7), Theo Riddick (RB10), Antone Smith (RB12), Ronnie Hillman (RB14), Justin Forsett (RB16), Jeremy Hill (RB21), Storm Johnson (RB27), Bishop Sankey (RB28), Andre Williams (RB33), Andre Holmes (WR2), Brandon LaFell (WR3), Mohamed Sanu (WR6), James Jones (WR24), Brandon Tate (WR32), Jordan Reed (TE9) and Jared Cook (TE14) all offered up starter- or flex-caliber numbers in Week 6.

Throughout the article I’ll refer to our main strength of schedule metric: Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA). Click here for more detail. Also, be sure to check out our Defense Knowledgeseeker Report to see how teams have fared against specific players.



Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs. ATL)
Everyone knows by now Flacco tossed five touchdowns against the Bucs in Week 6, but the important thing here is a good matchup with the Falcons, who have a tough time pressuring the quarterback.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals (@ OAK)
Palmer returned with 250 yards and two touchdowns in a nice matchup against the Redskins. This week he faces his old team, so there is a revenge game aspect potentially motivating his play. The Raiders are #23 in QB aFPA.

Brian Hoyer, Browns (@ JAX)
Hoyer has at least one touchdown pass in every game this season and has only tossed one pick in five games. The Jaguars are #24 in QB aFPA, so Hoyer should be able to produce solid numbers in a spot start.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins (vs. TEN)
Cousins threw three picks in Week 6 and has seven interceptions in his last three games, but he has also averaged 314 yards and 2.0 TD in five starts. The matchup with the Titans is his best since the Eagles in Week 3 (427 yards, 3 TD, INT).

Alex Smith, Chiefs (@ SD)
Smith has nine touchdowns on the season. He doesn’t throw for a lot of yards (213.2 through five games), but his rushing yards (22 per game) often offset his lack of passing production.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars (vs. CLE)
Bortles is averaging 260 yards in three starts. He tends to throw more picks than touchdowns, but he’s also good for 26 yards a game on the ground. The matchup with the Browns is a good one (#26 in QB aFPA).

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