Sneaky Starts: Week 5

Sneaky Starts: Week 5

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. As of Week 4, the aFPA Hot Spots reports that you see on the site are now using 2019 data, so we can now pay more attention to positional strength of schedule.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top Sneaky Starts for Week 5...

Quarterbacks

Jacoby Brissett, Colts (@ KC, 13th in QB aFPA)

Through four weeks, Brissett is fantasy’s No. 9 quarterback, thanks in no small part to multiple touchdowns every game and an average of 14.3 rushing yards per contest. The Chiefs are mediocre aFPA-wise, but they’ve yielded the 13th-most passing yardage, the 11th-most passing touchdowns and typically near the top of the league in opponent passing attempts. (They are 11th in that metric so far this year.)

Andy Dalton, Bengals (vs. ARI, 28)

Dalton was the No. 10 fantasy quarterback heading into a disastrous Monday night matchup against the Steelers. Back at home against a non-divisional opponent with a generous pass defense, Dalton is set up nicely for a bounce-back game. The Cardinals are giving up an average of 290 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns per game, and have yet to pick off a pass.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (@ NYG, 25)

Prior to facing the QB-less Redskins, the Giants got shredded in the first three weeks, yielding an average of 346 yards and 2.7 touchdowns to Dak Prescott, Josh Allen and Jameis Winston. The Minnesota passing game is something of a mess, and Adam Thielen voiced his concerns after a rough loss to the Bears in Week 4. Mike Zimmer still wants to run the ball, but Cousins should find more success through the air in Week 5.

Chase Daniel, Bears (@ OAK, 26)

Mitch Trubisky is out for a while, and Daniel acquitted himself well against the Vikings in Week 4, completing 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown against a pretty good Minnesota pass defense. The Raiders have yielded an average of 235 yards and 1.7 touchdowns to Jacoby Brissett, Kirk Cousins and Joe Flacco so far this season.

Running Backs

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