Sneaky Starts: Week 15

Sneaky Starts: Week 15

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Dec 15, 2016

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, and has finished in the Top 6 in seven of the last eight years. Cumulatively, John has been the most accurate expert from 2010-17 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 need to find the proverbial diamond in the rough at some point – 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.

Here are the Sneaky Starts for Week 15:

 

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor, Bills (vs. CLE)
On a per-game basis, Taylor is the #14 QB on the year, but he’s a top-10 play this week given his matchup against the Browns. Cleveland has actually been pretty good over the last three games in passing yards allowed (169 per game), but they’ve yielded five passing touchdowns in the last two weeks and a league-high 30 passing touchdowns on the year.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (@ ATL)
After a strong six-game stretch that left Kaepernick as the #7 QB from Week 6 to Week 12, he was benched in Chicago and had a relatively quiet game against the Jets in Week 14. He hasn’t been running as much which has lowered his fantasy floor, but he should be forced to make more dropbacks than usual against the Falcons, who figure to jump out with an early lead.

Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs. PHI)
Flacco has six touchdowns (on 99 pass attempts) in the last two weeks and he has a pretty good matchup with the Eagles, who have given up an average of 293 yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns in the last three weeks (to Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton and Aaron Rodgers).

Trevor Siemian, Broncos (vs. NE)
I realize it’s tough to get over the idea of starting Siemian in the fantasy playoffs, but here’s the case: He has averaged 311 yards and 2.0 touchdowns in his last four games, and is the #7 QB on a per-game basis since Week 9. The Broncos are having a tough time running the ball (27th in the league in rush yards per game), which forces HC Gary Kubiak to throw more than he’d like. The Patriots are far better against the run than the pass, so this is shaping up to be a high-volume effort for Siemian and the passing game.

Alex Smith, Chiefs (vs. TEN)
The Titans’ pass defense has had a tough go of it lately. They’ve yielded an average of 304 yards and 2.0 TD to Trevor Siemian, Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck. Since he’s stopped running, Smith hasn’t been as consistent this year (#25 QB on the season), but the matchup literally doesn’t get any better (the Titans are #32 in QB aFPA). Smith has thrown for an average of 254 yards over the last four games, and has thrown one touchdown in each contest.

Sam Bradford, Vikings (vs. IND)
The last two times that the Colts have faced a competent passing game, they yielded 221 yards and three touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger and 290 yards and two touchdowns to Marcus Mariota. Does Minnesota have a competent passing game? I’m not sure, but Bradford has averaged 252 yards and 1.0 TD in his last six outings. That’s not great, but he should be good for 250-plus yards and a touchdown or two against the Colts.

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