Week 9 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts

Week 9 Fantasy Football Sneaky Starts

By John Paulsen (Director of Forecasting), last update Nov 3, 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. 

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.

A good way to identify a potential spot start is to leverage 4for4’s signature strength-of-schedule metric, adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA). Many sites publish raw fantasy points allowed by position, but 4for4 goes a step further and adjusts those numbers for a defense’s relative year-to-date schedule strength. So if a defense has seen a murderer’s row of running backs, it will be reflected in the defense’s aFPA. As a ranker, I use this metric weekly when putting together our award-winning projections.

This week, it’s Byepocalypse II: Electric Boogaloo, with six more teams—the Bears, Browns, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers, and Chargers—on bye. Plugging in the right bench player or waiver wire pickup can be the difference between winning and losing. (Just ask my nine-year-old son, Max, who picked up JuJu Smith-Schuster last week and rode him to a 12-point win.)

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

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor, Bills (@ NYJ)

Taylor has historically been a better play at home, but this is a favorable matchup against the Jets (No. 28 in QB aFPA), even if it is on the road. Taylor posted 262 total yards and 2 touchdowns against the Jets in Week 1.

Jared Goff, Rams (@ NYG)

The Giants were already shaping up to be a solid matchup for Goff (No. 19 in QB aFPA), and now that top corner Janoris Jenkins has been suspended by the team, things are looking even better. Goff has accounted for at least 2 touchdowns in three of his last five games, with the exceptions being tough matchups against the Seahawks and the Jaguars.

Josh McCown, Jets (vs. BUF)

The Bills don’t represent a very good matchup (No. 5 in QB aFPA), but with this many teams on bye, beggars can’t be choosers. McCown has 10 total touchdowns in the last four weeks.

Jacoby Brissett, Colts (@ HOU)

It hasn’t been pretty, but Brissett is the No. 11 fantasy quarterback over the last four weeks. The Texans are No. 26 in QB aFPA after yielding 452 yards and 4 touchdowns to Russell Wilson two weeks after giving up 324 yards and 3 touchdowns to Alex Smith. Brissett should be able to post a serviceable fantasy line against the Texans.

Running Backs

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