Sneaky Starts: Week 12
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.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 12...
Baker Mayfield, Browns (vs MIA, No. 27 in QB aFPA)
Mayfield scored three touchdowns against the Steelers on Thursday night, posting 193/2 as a passer, and added a rushing touchdown on a QB sneak. He has scored 17.1 or more fantasy points in three straight games and four of his last five. Up next are the Dolphins, who are playing better defense of late, but still yielded 256/3 to Josh Allen last week.
Jeff Driskel, Lions (@ WAS, 22)
Driskel has performed well since taking over for Matthew Stafford, posting 269/1 against the Bears and 209/2 against the Cowboys. He also added 88 yards and a touchdown as a runner. The matchup against Washington is pretty good after the Redskins gave up 293/4 to Sam Darnold and a 17.6-point outing to Josh Allen.
Sam Darnold, Jets (vs. OAK, 28)
Darnold has back-to-back good fantasy outings, scoring 25.4 (293/4) against the Redskins and 21.7 (230/1 plus a rushing touchdown) against the Giants. The Raiders are a quality matchup, yielding 207/2 to Philip Rivers, 406/3 to Matthew Stafford and 279/3 to Deshaun Watson in recent weeks.
Nick Foles, Jaguars (@ TEN, 21)
In his first game back, Foles threw for 296 yards and two scores against a pretty good Colts pass defense. The Titans pass defense has faltered of late, giving up 446/3 to Patrick Mahomes, 232/2 to Kyle Allen and 301/2 to Jameis Winston.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. JAX, 18)
In his last four starts, Tannehill has averaged 254 yards and 2.0 touchdowns and has added an average of 20 yards per game as a rusher. The Jaguars pass defense has been mediocre against the pass this year.
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