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, four teams—Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle—are on bye. In addition, owners lost Odell Beckham (fractured ankle) and Brandon Marshall (ankle) for the season, while Charles Clay is out for a few weeks after undergoing knee surgery. There are a number of other high-profile players—Travis Kelce, Matthew Stafford, Jordy Nelson, Bilal Powell, DeVante Parker, Marcus Mariota, Ty Montgomery and Rob Gronkowski—who are questionable for Week 6, and that has many fantasy owners are scrambling for decent-to-good options on the waiver wire.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few Sneaky Starts for Week 6.
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Jacoby Brissett, Colts (at Titans)
Over the last three weeks, Brissett is the No. 13 quarterback in fantasy, and that includes a not-so-good performance in a tough matchup at Seattle in Week 4. In favorable home matchups against the Browns and 49ers, Brissett produced 601 total yards and four total touchdowns (two on the ground), while posting an elite-level 9.88 yards per attempt. This week, Brissett travels to Tennessee for a good matchup against a Titans defense that is No. 31 in quarterback aFPA. Tennessee shut down Jay Cutler last week, but gave up a combined 706 total yards and nine total touchdowns (eight pass, one rush) to Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson in Week 3 and Week 4.
Alvin Kamara, Saints (vs. Lions)
The Saints traded Adrian Peterson away, and that should open up opportunity for both Mark Ingram and Kamara. Peterson saw 7.3 touches per game, and those should be distributed to both backs, with Kamara more likely to see the lion’s share of Peterson’s touches. In recent weeks, the Lions have given up a combined 129 receiving yards to the Carolina and Atlanta running backs, so at the very least Kamara is poised to have a nice day as a receiver. The last time we saw the rookie, he turned 15 touches into 96 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins in London.
Taylor Gabriel, Falcons (vs. Dolphins)
Mohamed Sanu is likely to sit out this week, so look for the Falcons to scheme Gabriel a few touches. The last time Sanu sat, Gabriel caught three passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He had a goose egg last week on five targets, so his floor is as low as they come, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores two touchdowns in Week 6, either.
Evan Engram, Giants (at Broncos)
Engram is coming off of a goose egg of his own against the Chargers, but he had 25 targets in the three previous weeks. He should be a primary target for Eli Manning against the Broncos given the disastrous attrition the Giants have experienced at receiver. The Broncos are tough to throw against, but they haven’t been great against the tight end position, ranking 23rd in tight end aFPA.