Quarterback and Tight End Streamers: Week 1
September 7, 2017 | Matt Terelle
Join one of our FREE 2017 Reader Leagues! and win prizes!
Hey there Fake Footballers! In this space each week, we will be taking a look at some of the top streaming options at quarterback and tight end. With more and more fantasy owners opting to wait on the quarterback and tight end positions in drafts, streaming each position has become a viable option in most 10-12 person fantasy leagues. This is made easier by the fact that there are usually solid options on the waiver wire. Each week this column will scour the waiver wire and look for quarterbacks and tight ends who are owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo! leagues and also a deep sleeper at each position who is owned in 20% of leagues or less and could be useful in deeper leagues.
Generally, several factors go into selecting a streamer, including recent performance, overall upside, talent, opponent matchup, and Vegas totals. I like to use Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric as a reference point to compare opposing defenses to identify plus matchups for players. All references to DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average) come from rankings on www.footballoutsiders.com. A detailed explanation of DVOA can be found here.
Week 1 usually isn’t the most popular of streaming weeks in fantasy football, but the cancellation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Miami Dolphins game has left some fantasy owners without a possible starter or two.
Week 1 Quarterback Streamers
Listed in order of preference.
Sam Bradford (MIN): 22% ownership vs. New Orleans Saints
Bradford draws a plus Week 1 matchup against a Saints pass defense that was extremely generous to opposing passing offenses in 2016. Football Outsiders had the Saints pass defense ranked 30th in DVOA in 2016 and isn’t much higher on them in 2017, projecting them to be the worst defense in the league. Bradford didn’t set the world on fire in 2016 but he was extremely efficient, setting a new NFL record for completion percentage. The Vikings had one of the toughest schedules in 2016 and are projected to have a much easier slate of opponents in 2017. Vegas has the Vikings’ implied team total set at a solid 25.5 points. Bradford is an excellent option this week, especially if you drafted Jameis Winston to be your starting quarterback this season.
Tyrod Taylor (BUF): 50% vs. New York Jets
Taylor saw the rug pulled out from underneath him this preseason when the team traded away Sammy Watkins, his top downfield threat in the passing game. They replaced him with another solid receiver in Jordan Matthews, although Matthews’ skill set seems to play more into a timing passing system, while Taylor has had more success as a deep ball guy in his career. Either way, the reason we always like Taylor is because of his running ability. Taylor is one of the better running quarterbacks in the league. The Jets boasted a stout run defense in 2016 but their pass defense was a bottom-10 unit in the league. The Bills want to lean heavily on running back LeSean McCoy this season but that may not be in the cards in Week 1 if the running game stalls out. That would benefit Taylor streamers as he would see more of the offensive responsibility fall to him in that instance.
Brian Hoyer (SF): 13% ownership vs. Carolina Panthers
Hoyer is our deep sleeper at the quarterback position this week. He isn’t in an especially great spot against a solid Panthers defense, but he has a track record of performing well with Kyle Shanahan. He has been an underrated quarterback when given the chance to play over his career and he at least has a reliable receiver in Pierre Garcon to target. The 49ers aren’t expected to be good this season so there’s a good chance they are behind early in this game, which would force Hoyer to throw the ball often in garbage time. He’s not a great option in one-quarterback leagues but he can be utilized as a QB2 in two-quarterback formats this weekend.
Week 1 Tight End Streamers
Listed in order of preference.
Coby Fleener (NO): 50% ownership @ Minnesota Vikings
Fleener was a popular sleeper option in 2016 when he joined the Saints as a free agent. Things didn’t go as planned as he only mixed in a few big weeks while being largely ignored on offense for long stretches. He could be in for a big post-hype season in 2017. There should be a few more targets to go around in the offense with Brandin Cooks playing for the Patriots now. The Saints replaced him with Ted Ginn, but Ginn has never been known for his efficiency and it’s doubtful Sean Payton wants to target him with the frequency he used to with Cooks. The Vikings have a strong defense but they did show vulnerability to the tight end position in 2016, ranking just 24th against the position in DVOA. Streaming an option in a Drew Brees-led passing attack is always a good idea.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (HOU): 41% ownership vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Fiedorowicz is coming off a strong season which saw him catch 59 passes for 559 yards and four touchdowns. The fourth-year tight end was second on the Texans in red zone targets in 2016 with 12. The red zone targets didn’t exactly translate to touchdown scoring success for C.J. but he also had Brock Osweiler as his quarterback. Fiedorowicz will continue to be one of the team’s top red zone options, along with DeAndre Hopkins, which gives him an excellent chance to score in any given week. The only drawback here, and the main reason he’s listed below Fleener, is that the matchup isn’t quite as tasty. The Jaguars were pretty average against tight ends in 2016, ranking 16th in DVOA.
Evan Engram (NYG): 21% ownership @ Dallas Cowboys
The first round rookie pick will make his NFL debut in a prime time game against the Cowboys in Dallas. The Cowboys were the top team to target with opposing tight ends in 2016, allowing the most fantasy points per game to the position. That gives Engram appeal as a deep sleeper as he has a good chance at coming up big in his first game. According to reports, the rookie tight end should play on around 60% of the team’s offensive snaps on Sunday. With Odell Beckham, Jr. looking more and more doubtful as Sunday’s game approaches, Engram could slide in as one of Eli Manning’s top options in the passing game this weekend. Engram is a solid choice in deeper leagues, two-tight end leagues, and tight end premium formats where you can flex the position.
Thanks for reading and good luck in your streaming endeavors this week.