Streaming Quarterbacks: Week 1
(Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire)
If you read my article on defensive streamers, then you know I’m one to wait on quarterback. I typically watch Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady fly off the board early while I greedily hoard running backs and wide receivers. In my perfect draft, I have 4 wide receivers and 4 running backs (at least) before I even think about quarterback. Why do I punt the NFL’s most prized position? It’s simple: math. When picking running backs, there are typically around 40 currently useful players at any given time due to some teams employing committees. This means that in a 12-team league, each owner might get 4. Once injuries start happening, it’s a mad scramble on the waivers for replacements. Wide receiver, though definitely deeper, faces the same issue. Everyone wants the elite talent, or they are racing to add the “hot hand” from waivers.
With quarterback, however, there are really only 12-18 guys being rostered at a time. Each team starts one quarterback and most don’t bother to hold a backup, though some inevitably will. I mean think about it: with your limited roster spots, would you rather have that lotto ticket at RB or a backup QB who may start once for you during a bye week? So, I wait at quarterback and pick through the “scraps” each week for my starter. Sometimes, you even get lucky enough to find a long term starter. Last year, I grabbed Carson Wentz off waivers early and rode him through until his season-ending knee injury. This year, I am back on the waiver train and I already have my first streamer lined up. To begin, here are quarterbacks on my radar that are currently owned in 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues:
|Quarterback||Week 1 Opponent||Percent Owned|
|Blake Bortles||NY Giants||33%|
|Andy Dalton||Indianapolis Colts||29%|
|Eli Manning||Jacksonville Jaguars||27%|
|Case Keenum||Seattle Seahawks||25%|
|Mitch Trubisky||Green Bay Packers||18%|
|Tyrod Taylor||Pittsburgh Steelers||12%|
|Sam Darnold||Detroit Lions||9%|
|Ryan Tannehill||Tennessee Titans||7%|
|Joe Flacco||Buffalo BIlls||7%|
|Nick Foles||Atlanta Falcons||6%|
|Sam Bradford||Washington Redskins||4%|
Each week, I will pick some top names from the list and discuss why I like them this week. You may only hold onto them for a single game, but that’s all we need. Without further ado, here are my week 1 streamers:
Andy Dalton (29% owned, pick of the week)
At the risk of losing you before we even get started, I am beginning with Andy Dalton as my first streamer. The Bengals offense did not look great last year, but I am expecting a rebound. A.J. Green returns, John Ross has looked impressive (and healthy) in camp, and Joe Mixon is lean and mean, down 12 pounds from last year. Even Tyler Eifert is healthy right now. Okay, Andy Dalton is still throwing to them. Okay, Marvin Lewis–for some reason–is still the head coach. However, the Bengals get to face the Colts in week 1. The Colts have the worst rated secondary in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and that is why we are here. Bad defenses have a way of making mediocre talents look like superstars. I expect Dalton and the Bengals to have a strong performance on Sunday, and I would be happy starting Dalton this week over a LOT of guys.
Mitch Trubisky (18%)
Patrick Mahomes has proven to be a favorite fantasy breakout candidate this year. He has a wealth of weapons (Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt), he is young, athletic, and full of potential, and he is in an Andy Reid offense that made Alex Smith look like an MVP candidate last year. The only problems are that he is 88% owned right now and facing a stout Chargers defense. If only there was another quarterback who was young and athletic, had a plethora of weapons (Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen), the benefit of the Andy Reid offense (hello new head coach and Andy Reid pupil Matt Nagy), and wasn’t facing such a stout defense (Packers secondary ranks 27th in PFF preseason rankings). I like Mitch Trubisky as a streamer this year for the aforementioned reasons, as well as his athletic profile. Trubisky can run, and this always gives a safer floor to quarterbacks. Heck, even Tim Tebow was a fantasy stud for a time, and he didn’t know how to throw the ball. While the Packers have some young impressive talent at corner, I’m guessing it takes a few weeks for them to fully mesh. Trubisky is definitely riskier than Dalton, but I think the ceiling is higher in week 1. He was my second choice for streamer of the week.
Tyrod Taylor (12%)
Tyrod Taylor seems to be perennially disrespected. It was clear the Buffalo Bills never really wanted him. They traded away Taylor’s best weapon (Sammy Watkins) before the start of last season, and traded Taylor away this off-season for a 3rd round pick. However, Taylor has been a good fantasy option when he is starting. In both 2015 and 2016, Tyrod finished 7th in the league for QB fantasy point per game. He probably won’t last the whole season, but he has a wealth of options (Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, David Njoku), and he is available in almost all leagues right now. I haven’t even mentioned his huge rushing upside yet…400+ rushing yards in each of his last three seasons and more than 500 in 2015 and 2016. Tyrod Taylor might have be my pick of the week if not for his injured non-throwing hand, and the uncertainty of what the Cleveland offense will look like. Maybe I’m being overcautious, but I’ll avoid an already-injured player in week 1 when I can.
Blake Bortles (33%) and Joe Flacco (7%)
We finish up with two “last chance” quarterbacks facing mediocre defenses, but ones who just might be hampered by uncooperative game scripts. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars are facing the Giants, and this could prove to be a blowout. If it is, I’m guessing the Jags won’t have Bortles throw much. Instead, it will be a heavy dose of Leonard Fournette and controlling the clock. If it stays close, though, Bortles has proven to be a useful fantasy asset many times before. He finished out last season with multiple touchdowns in the last 4 fantasy weeks and 300+ yards in 3 of those weeks. He just met have helped you to a championship. I’d be fine with Bortles as my streamer if the above options are gone.
With Joe Flacco, I am less excited about the actual player. However, he is also the guy most likely to be available in your league. I really don’t even get how he is 7% owned with so many other better names out there. That being said, Flacco has some upgraded weapons (Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead) and an emerging running back (Alex Collins) to help keep drives rolling. The Ravens are also playing the Bills, which makes for a choice matchup. However, much like in the Jacksonville game, I could see the Ravens running away early and not needing to pass much. Flacco should be motivated with a talented rookie waiting behind him, but I am curious if the Ravens even need him throwing this weekend. This is my last chance option in case the others are somehow all gone.