Sneaky Starts: Week 14
All but the luckiest fantasy owners at some point need to find the proverbial diamond in the rough – a waiver wire or bench player 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.
Last week’s Sneaky Starts featured Marcus Mariota (QB2), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB8), Alex Smith (QB13), David Johnson (RB4), Shaun Draughn (RB12), Antonio Andrews (RB17), Charles Sims (RB28), Ronnie Hillman (RB34), Doug Baldwin (WR3), Ted Ginn (WR5), DeVante Parker (WR17), Marvin Jones (WR21), Cecil Shorts (WR32), Brian Hartline (WR36), Scott Chandler (TE4) and Will Tye (TE10), who all posted starter- or flex-caliber numbers in Week 13.
Let’s take a look at the Sneaky Starts for Week 14.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (vs. NO)
Winston is the #15 QB on the year, largely due to the five rushing touchdowns he has scored this year. But his per game passing averages – 240 yards, 1.4 TD – aren’t bad either. What makes Winston sneaky this week is the matchup with the Saints, who are last in the league in QB aFPA.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets (vs. TEN)
Fitzpatrick has accounted for at least two touchdowns (rush/pass) in seven of his last eight games, with the lone exception being the Oakland game, where he played only 11% of the snaps due to injury. The Titans are 26th in QB aFPA, so Fitz is looking like a safe start this week.
Alex Smith, Chiefs (vs. SD)
Smith has scored five touchdowns (four pass, one rush) in his last two games and has nine total touchdowns in his last five games. He’s the #13 QB on the year, and the Chargers are 21st in QB aFPA. Smith’s legs (27.2 rush yards per game) boost his weekly floor.
Johnny Manziel, Browns (vs. SF)
Manziel hasn’t played poorly this year. In his last start he threw for 372 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Steelers. The Browns would like to go run-heavy, so the game script may limit Manziel’s opportunities, but his propensity to throw the deep ball to Travis Benjamin and his ability to run the ball make him an intriguing streaming option against a 49ers defense that has been mediocre against the pass. Benjamin is iffy with a shoulder injury, so if he’s out, Manziel is a less attractive start.
Matt Hasselbeck, Colts (@ JAX)
Hasselbeck threw for 282 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars in Week 4. Jacksonville is 30th in QB aFPA, so as long as Hasselbeck stays upright, he should produce decent numbers in Week 14.