Sneaky Starts: Week 2

Sneaky Starts: Week 2

By John Paulsen (Director of Forecasting), last update Sep 14, 2018

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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.

Last week, I mentioned Tyrod Taylor, James Conner, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, Tyler Lockett, Chris Godwin, Ted Ginn and Quincy Enunwa in this space. Let’s see if we can dig up a few more gems for Week 2.

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor, Browns (@ NO)
It wasn’t pretty, but Taylor was the No. 6 fantasy quarterback in Week 1 thanks to 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Saints are likely to jump out to a lead in this one, which should put Taylor in the position of playing catch up. As I mentioned last week, Taylor has posted fantasy QB1 numbers over the last few seasons and is playing with the best receiving corps of his career. While the Saints improved defensively in 2017, they yielded 417 yards and four touchdowns (plus 36 rushing yards and a score) to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1.

Case Keenum, Broncos (vs. OAK)
Setting aside the three picks, Keenum’s debut with the Broncos went pretty well: 329 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders gave up 233 yards and two scores to Jared Goff in Week 1, but that doesn’t include two pass interference penalties on Oakland for 87 total yards.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars (vs. NE)
Bortles didn’t really deliver against the Giants, but he’ll be asked to do more against the Patriots, who will almost certainly put up more than 15 points in Jacksonville. Last year in the playoffs against the Patriots, Bortles threw for 293 yards and a touchdown while adding 20 yards as a runner.

Running Backs

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