Week 2 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts

Week 2 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts

By John Paulsen (Director of Forecasting), last update Sep 15, 2017

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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. 

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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.

David Johnson, Danny Woodhead, and Allen Robinson all suffered long-term (or season-ending) injuries in Week 1, which will force their owners to look elsewhere for fantasy points. Below are a few players who are poised to produce at a higher rate than usual.


Carson Palmer, Cardinals (@ IND)

I mentioned Palmer in this space last week, and he struggled to 269 yards passing with 1 garbage time touchdown and 3 interceptions against a Lions defense that doesn’t appear to be as big of a pushover in 2017. He should bounce back against a Colts defense that yielded 306 yards and a touchdown to Jared Goff in Week 1.

Sam Bradford, Vikings (@ PIT)

Like Palmer, Bradford was a Sneaky Start last week, but (unlike Palmer) he actually delivered 346 yards and 3 touchdowns in a good home matchup against the Saints. The Steelers will be a tougher test in Pittsburgh, but the Minnesota offense has talent across the board and looks like it’s up for the challenge. In the 10 games since Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator, Bradford has averaged 278 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game.

Alex Smith, Chiefs (vs. PHI)

Smith was also listed as a Sneaky Start last week, so we’re now two-for-three in quarterback picks since he absolutely filleted the Patriots defense to the tune of 368 yards and 4 touchdowns on Thursday Night Football. Anyone expecting a repeat of that performance will no doubt be disappointed, but is it possible we’re seeing Alex Smith Version 2.0 after years of dinking and dunking? Against New England, he wasn’t afraid to take advantage of Tyreek Hill’s speed and push the ball downfield. If he stays aggressive, he should put up good numbers against the Eagles.

Eli Manning, Giants (vs. DET)

Manning was pretty bad in Week 1 (220 yards, 1 touchdown), but he has a chance to bounce back given a should-be-good matchup against the Lions and the probable return of Odell Beckham. If Beckham doesn’t return this week or clearly isn’t 100%, then cross Manning off this list.

Joe Flacco (vs. CLE) has historically played better at home—1.71 touchdowns at home versus 1.19 touchdowns on the road in the last three seasons—and he has a nice matchup with the Browns. Jared Goff (vs. WAS) and Trevor Siemian (vs. DAL) are both coming off of solid Week 1 performances and both have favorable matchups at home.

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