Quarterback and Tight End Streamers: Week 2
September 12, 2017 | Matt Terelle
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 2 Quarterback Streamers
Listed in order of preference.
Sam Bradford (MIN): 25% ownership @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Bradford definitely paid off in Week 1, looking like one of the best quarterbacks in the opening week of NFL action. Bradford passed for 346 yards and three touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Granted, the Saints don’t employ a great defense, but Bradford looked completely confident and in control for the first time in a long time. He’s the top streaming option in Week 2 in a road game against the Steelers. Pittsburgh allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2016 and allowed Browns rookie DeShone Kizer to pass for 222 yards and one touchdown while rushing for another. The Steelers did sack Kizer seven times, but many of those can be blamed on Kizer for holding the ball too long. Don’t expect the same problem to affect Bradford as he will be getting the ball out quickly to his budding star receivers, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
Jared Goff (LAR): 7% vs. Washington Redskins
Goff showed well in a revamped Rams offense led by offensive-minded head coach Sean McVay. The Rams hung 46 points on the Colts on Sunday (although two touchdowns came from the defense), the most points a team scored in Week 1. Of course, the Colts don’t have a very good defense, but neither do the Redskins, especially against the pass. Washington allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2016 and Football Outsiders ranked their pass defense 24th in the league in DVOA. Goff may end up reaching the promise that enticed the Rams to use the first overall pick on him in 2016 and he could settle in as a high-end QB2 and every week starter in two-quarterback formats.
Alex Smith (KC): 23% ownership vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Smith played like a man possessed this past Thursday, leading all Week 1 quarterbacks in fantasy points after throwing for 368 yards and tossing four touchdowns. Perhaps as a response to the Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes, Smith showed more aggression against the Patriots last week than he has in a long time, attacking the defense with downfield passes instead of settling for check-downs and short passes. Look for him to stay hot against the Eagles in Week 2 in a game with sneaky shootout potential. Similar to Goff, Smith may settle in as a high-end QB2 if he continues to play the way he did last week.
Week 2 Tight End Streamers
Listed in order of preference.
Charles Clay (BUF): 11% ownership @ Carolina Panthers
Clay benefitted from a stripped down Bills passing attack this past Sunday against the Jets, operating as Tyrod Taylor’s top target and leading Buffalo with nine targets. He turned those looks into four catches for 53 yards and one touchdown. At a tight end position that can be tough to get solid production from, anyone seeing close to double-digit targets needs to be strongly considered in fantasy.
Jared Cook (OAK): 19% ownership vs. New York Jets
Speaking of the Jets, Jared Cook is next in line to face off against their weak pass defense. New York ranked just 31st in pass defense DVOA in 2016 and finished 19th in the league against the tight end position. Cook had a strong debut for the Raiders in Week 1, catching all five of his targets from Derek Carr and finishing with 56 receiving yards. Cook may not be one of the primary targets in Oakland’s passing game, but he could wind up third in line behind Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in one of the more explosive pass offenses in the NFL.
Jesse James (PIT): 7% ownership vs. Minnesota Vikings
James finished with one of the most surprising stats lines of Week 1. The 23-year-old tight end wound up being Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite red zone target, catching 6-of-8 targets for 41 yards and two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns. James is best streamed in deeper leagues as there are a few concerns here. First, he has never been a big yardage guy, so he won’t have much value if he doesn’t score. Second, there are a lot of mouths to feed in Pittsburgh and James is, at best, fourth in the pecking order among Steelers pass catchers. Either way, he’s worth keeping an eye on in two-tight end leagues and tight end premium formats.
Thanks for reading and good luck in your streaming endeavors this week.