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  • Players flying under the radar who could surprisingly help fantasy owners get a win in Week 2.
By John Paulsen
September 13, 2018

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. 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.

Case Keenum, Broncos (vs. Raiders)

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.

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Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at Bills)

Ekeler finished with 10 touches for 126 yards and a touchdown in a wild Week 1 game against the Chiefs. Even though Melvin Gordon played all 16 games last year, there was a five-game stretch where Ekeler racked up 46 touches for 312 yards and four touchdowns. He has some standalone value and could see increased usage in the second half if the Chargers have a lead and elect to shut down Gordon. The Chargers are favored by 7.5 points in this one.

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Tyler Lockett and Brandon Marshall, Seahawks (at Bears)

Doug Baldwin is going to miss Week 2, leaving Lockett and Marshall as Seattle’s top two receivers. In a tough matchup against the Broncos, Lockett turned four targets into three catches for 59 yards and a score, while Marshall posted three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Lockett plays mostly in the slot, where he’ll match up with Bryce Callahan, who gave up six catches on six targets against the Packers in Week 1. Callahan doesn’t have the speed to stick with Lockett, so the key will be whether the Seattle offensive line can pass protect long enough to allow Lockett to get downfield. Marshall is likely to see a lot of the shorter routes and may be the better play in PPR formats.

Click here for all of John's Week 2 Sneaky Starts.

Jared Cook, Raiders (at Broncos)

In 17 games since joining the Raiders last season, Cook has accounted for 15.8% of Derek Carr’s targets and 21.4% of his passing yardage. The Broncos may try to key on him after Cook’s big Week 1, but Denver struggled to stop the tight end position last year and yielded four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown to something named Will Dissly and Nick Vannett last week.

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