Sneaky Starts: Week 9

Sneaky Starts: Week 9

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Nov 5, 2015

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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 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 Alex Smith (QB6), Jay Cutler (QB11), Charcandrick West (RB2), Ronnie Hillman (RB3), Darren McFadden (RB12), Alfred Blue (RB26), Michael Floyd (WR13), Stefon Diggs (WR16), Nate Washington (WR20), Ted Ginn (WR37), Ben Watson (TE1), Heath Miller (TE9), and Crockett Gillmore (TE13), who all posted starter- or flex-caliber numbers in Week 8.

Let’s take a look at the Sneaky Starts for Week 9:



Tyrod Taylor (vs. MIA), Derek Carr (@ PIT) and Jay Cutler (@ SD) are top 12 starts this week, but I’m going to focus on the less obvious starts below.

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (vs. NYG)
Winston has at least two touchdowns in three of his last four games, and this week’s matchup against the Giants (who just yielded seven touchdowns to Drew Brees) is a favorable one.

Marcus Mariota, Titans (@ NO)
Mariota is back from a knee sprain and should be able to produce against the Saints, who are last in the league in QB aFPA. If you throw out Mariota’s best game (four TDs vs. TB) and his worst (just 4.8 FP vs. MIA in Week 6), he’s averaging 15.0 FP, which is a solid foundation when you take into account the plus matchup in Week 9.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets (vs. JAX)
Prior to his injury-shortened Week 8 against the Raiders, Fitzpatrick had thrown two touchdowns in five of his six starts. He has a nice matchup against the Jaguars, but is dealing with a thumb injury in his non-throwing hand.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars (@ NYJ)
It’s a bad matchup against the Jets, but Bortles produces good fantasy numbers most of the time thanks to the Jaguars tendency to fall behind. He’s averaging 38.7 pass attempts per game, and he’s averaging 2.5 TD in the four games where he’s attempted fewer than 35 passes.

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