Injuries can be your best friend and your enemy at the same time when you stream quarterbacks in 2QB leagues.
They’re you’re best friend when you get lucky enough on the waiver wire to grab that week’s flavor of the week but your worst enemy when you’re trying to stream a guy and he gets injured or he gets replaced mid-game (I’m looking at you Houston).
And this year there are plenty of options to stream — 30 different quarterbacks have put up at least one QB1 performance this year through 6 weeks, with 20 of those 30 quarterbacks accomplishing this feat multiple times. If we dive further, since we are talking 2QB leagues here, 33 different quarterbacks have put up QB2 numbers — and that’s not including QB1 results. Of those 33 occurences, 22 quarterbacks have finished as a QB2 multiple times.
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Note: QB1 performances mean a quarterback finished in the top-12 in points in a given week; QB2 means the quarterback finished in the 13-24 range. I’ll also be referring to elite performances within both of these categories: an elite QB1 finish means the quarterback finished within the top-six; an elite QB2 finish occurred in the 13-18 range. I suppose we could call that the “sweet zone” for streaming in 2QB leagues.
As we look at QB1 performances, guys like Colin Kaepernick and Josh McCown have finished as a QB1 on three occasions, while Peyton Manning has only notched one (good thing it’s his bye week). Andy Dalton (also on bye) leads the way with six QB1 performances, while five other quarterbacks have at least four such performances. Dalton and Tom Brady are the only two quarterbacks to post a QB1 performance in all of their starts so far.
Now, QB1 performances can be a little misleading, as a 30 point performance and a 14 point performance could both equal QB1 status in a given week. Thats why we look at elite QB1 finishes — 26 different quarterbacks have put up a top-six finish but only eight of them have done it at least twice while Brady is the only one to post four elite QB1 performances.
Having just a few elite options every year opens the door for streaming options even more. Sometimes you only get a QB2 performance, but every once in a while, your streamer puts up on of the best lines in a given week (see Matthew Stafford in Week 6).
I mentioned there were 33 different occurences for a QB2 finish, so naturally some quarterbacks will give you a little of the QB1 range and with the rest falling in the QB2 range. This includes Aaron Rodgers, who has four QB2 performances to go with his two QB1 performances. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Alex Smith are on both lists as well as each has put up an elite QB1 performance while posting multiple QB2 performances (four for Fitzpatrick and three for Smith).
Carson Palmer makes both lists too and has proven to be extremely valuable in 2QB leagues — he’s always knocking on the door of a QB1 performance as he’s put up five elite QB2 performances all since his elite QB1 showing in Week 1. Russell Wilson has landed in the streaming pool this year, but that’s not a bad thing. He has show he can put up QB1 numbers (two already this season) and has still put up four other QB2 stat lines, with three of them landing in the elite QB2 range. Additionally, even Jameis Winston has been a usable quarterback this season. He doesn’t have any QB1 weeks yet, but five finishes as a QB2 gives him streaming qualities.
So with all that information in mind, you’ll find my thoughts on all the starters this week below, as well as my top streaming option this week. Don’t forget to check out the 2QB crew’s ranks as well and find me on twitter if you have any specific questions too.
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Streamer of the Week: Landry Jones
Yes, I’m all in on Jones this week. There are reports currently stating that Ben Roethlisberger is going to be out one more week, so I’ll definitely take Jones as he faces the swiss cheese defense of the Chiefs. Granted their points against quarterbacks is a little inflated from Rodgers’ stellar game in Week 3, but they’ve still given up at least 17 points (standard scoring) in five of their six matchups.
And no, I don’t believe the Jones-to-Martavis Bryant connection is a fluke. Will Bryant race for another 88 yard touchdown again? That’s hard to predict, but while Jones hasn’t met Antonio Brown yet (much like Mike Vick), Jones can at least get the ball to his receivers. Plus, Jones did damage and snuck into QB2 territory on just 12 passes and limited playing time. I’m salivating at what he can do with a week’s preparation and what should be an easier secondary to match up against.
Carson Palmer – Palmer is a streamer’s delight as I referenced above. Larry Fitzgerald is the number-two receiver overall in both standard and PPR scoring, John Brown is a solid WR2 in fantasy and Michael Floyd is starting to get involved in the offense again. The Ravens make Palmer one of the juiciest matchups of the week and there may be only one or two matchups where I would be nervous starting him for the rest of the season.
Tom Brady – we’re looking at the best quarterback in fantasy football this season with apologies to Andy Dalton. Brady’s production may slip as he faces the Jets, but this is where talent supercedes the matchup. Even just 250 yards and two touchdowns should net Brady a QB1 performance this week.
Andrew Luck – great bounce back game for Luck against the Patriots in Week 5 vaults him back in the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks. He also gets the Saints defense; another 300+ yard passing game plus two or three touchdowns again is not out of the question.
Blake Bortles – the surprise of the year continues to shine and he faces a Bills defense that hasn’t been as formidable as last season.
Philip Rivers – I probably should have ranked Rivers higher than I did because he is a top-tier starter right now, especially with Dalton and Rodgers on bye. He’s QB4 on the season overall and has only put up less than 20 points (standard scoring) in two of his six starts. The Raiders are middle of the road in average points against, but part of that is due to Manning’s down performance in Week 5.
Drew Brees – he gets the Colts, who have given up at least 15 points per game to quarterbacks. While Brees has had a shaky season, this could be the perfect matchup to jump-start the rest of his season.
You Hope They Land in the QB1 Range:
Russell Wilson – Wilson hasn’t scored any rushing touchdowns yet this season, but is still the QB10 overall in standard scoring. I wouldn’t expect any rushing touchdowns this week against the 49ers, but even Wilson should be able to exploit their weak secondary that has allowed at least 15 points in five of their six games.
Matt Ryan – Ryan Tannehill and Matt Hasselbeck had their way with the Titans secondary, so I’m not too worried about Ryan and Julio Jones this week against Tennessee. I’m more worried about game flow and turnovers for Ryan than the Titans defense — so if Ryan takes care of the ball, he should still be able to put up enough points to finish as a QB1.
Cam Newton – the Eagles limited Eli Manning but couldn’t contain Kirk Cousins. Not sure what to expect from this matchup, but Cam Newton is starting to become a top option among quarterbacks on a regular basis with a limited recieving corp. However, Newton has had three rushing touchdowns in his last four games. Newton is a threat on the run or passing the ball and has finished as a QB1 in four of his five starts. Don’t sweat starting Newton this week.
Alex Smith – almost picked him as streamer of the week as the Steelers aren’t quite as good as their points against quarterbacks look. Granted, the Steelers held two quarterbacks to single digit point totals, but one game was against Nick Foles and the other was against Joe Flacco — neither are leading on-fire offenses this year. In their other four games, they Steelers have given up at least 16 points, so if you’re a little lost with quarterbacks this week, don’t forget about Alex Smith.
Ryan Tannehill – since J.J. Watt doesn’t play in the secondary, the Texans can be exposed by better quarterbacks. Tannehill doesn’t have a great offense under him, but he does have a few weapons in his receiving corp. Tannehill hasn’t made the jump to a top fantasy quarterback just yet (and may never will) but he is still a usable option this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – game flow could really dictate the result of Fitzpatrick’s performance this week, but the Patriots secondary isn’t exactly formidable either. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have made Fitzmagic look pretty good this season so far – it should be much different in Week 7.
Eli Manning – the younger Manning starts of the category of stream if you have to. The 49ers game bumped up Manning’s point total on the season pretty well, but he only manged 193 passing yards against Dallas in Week 1, resulting in just seven fantasy points for him. He has a game changer in Odell Beckham Jr., but could still land outside of QB2 territory if he can’t get Beckham the ball.
Matthew Stafford – the Chicago game gives Stafford a little breathing room as a streamable option, but not much though he has put up three QB2 performances this year. Minnesota has had a respectable year against quarterbacks, but their worst performance was against Stafford in Week 2, giving me a little more confidence of streaming Stafford this week.
Teddy Bridgewater – I fell flat on my face with this one last week. Bridgewater still finished as a QB2 (barely) but his two interceptions could very well have cost you your matchup if you went with my recommendation. He’s not in dropsville for me just yet (he’s got Chicago and Oakland over the next few weeks) but if he can’t do much against Lions (consistently giving up 16 or more fantasy points a week), than he will have a tough time even being a matchup play this season.
Colin Kaepernick – has the 49ers quarterback found his magic once again? Kaepernick has posted two games in a row of 20 points or more in exploitable matchups but Seattle will be another test for him. The Seahawks have given up 18 points on four different occasions this season, so even if Kaepernick just posts a 250 yard, two touchdown performance, he will still be a quality streaming option this week.
Joe Flacco – the Cardinals got ate up in limited exposure to Landry Jones in Week 6 but Flacco has either been a QB1 or a bust each week and his best performance in Week 5 was saved by two rushing touchdowns. I’m expecting that the Cardinals will be able to limit damage done by Flacco, but Flacco will still put up a decent line. There are definitely worse options you could find to stream this week than Flacco.
Derek Carr – I almost bumped Carr up a category this week but I’m still uncertain about the Oakland offense. The Chargers aren’t quite as good against quarterbacks as their average may suggest. Teddy Bridgewater struggled in Week 3 and Mike Vick (not surprisingly) laid a dud as well in Week 5. Outside of holding Stafford to 13 fantasy points, the Chargers have given up at least 19 points in their other three matchups. Carr has the potential of a high-end QB2 finish if he gets the offense going right away Sunday.
Jameis Winston – the Redskins have been an odd team against quarterbacks so far. They limited Tannehill in Week 1 and didn’t allow a passing touchdown from Matt Ryan in Week 5. Yet they allowed 23 points to Sam Bradford and 25 to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston has yet to still wow us but still puts up QB2 performances. He’s not a bad streaming option at all if you have limited options.
Brian Hoyer – I have Hoyer in the “cautious” category because the Dolphins have looked solid against quarterbacks in three of their five matchups. However, Tyrod Taylor and Blake Bortles had their way against the Dolphins too. Hoyer does have DeAndre Hopkins (the top receiver in fantasy football) on his side, but game flow could hurt his stats too. I understand wanting to streaming Hoyer this week, but I’d rather go with other options if possible.
Titans Quarterback – The Falcons have been one of the better teams against quarterbacks on average, even if a little inconsistent. Drew Brees in Week 6 and Brian Hoyer in Week 4 have made them look bad, but they’ve had their good games too. Throw in the uncertainty of Marcus Mariota‘s injury (and five interceptions over the last three weeks) in addition to the poor performances of Zach Mettenberger last season and I’m trying to stay away from this situation if possible. Where’s Jake Locker when you need him?
Kirk Cousins – despite my holdings against a Titans quarterback, I’d still lean one of them over the widely inconsistent Cousins. Granted, the Buccaneers won’t be the hardest secondary he’s faced, but he’s been a poor streaming option this year. His QB1 performance was anchored by a rushing touchdown and his two QB2 performances barely made it. Keep your expectations low if you have to settle for streaming Cousins.
Don’t Go Down This Road:
Sam Bradford – the Eagles offense is still figuring it out with Bradford. Week 4 and 5 were good for Bradford, but he’s also thrown five interceptions in his last two starts. Since he draws the Panthers this week, I’m not expecting much use out of him.
Nick Foles – only one game above 200 passing yards makes it really hard for me to stream Foles. Granted he had three touchdowns against Arizona, but not much else before or after. The Browns have really only struggled against Philip Rivers and the two rushing touchdowns from Flacco make Week 5 look worse than it really was. I have zero trust in Foles this week.
Josh McCown – the Rams have held Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers all in check. I’m taying away from McCown as much as possible in Week 7.
E.J. Manuel – with Tyrod Taylor not starting (again), Manuel is not a quarterback I’d entertain starting in a 3QB league.