You’re not playing fantasy football right if you’re not streaming in any of your leagues. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, streaming is the act of rotating starters at a position and playing someone off the waiver wire based on a favorable matchup. There’s a good chance you should be streaming at least one of your positions each week unless you drafted the perfect team this summer — there’s a chance you did since you subscribed to this site!
I’m almost always streaming defenses in all my leagues during the season so I highly encourage you to check out Justin Varnes’ weekly streaming defenses piece. I’m also not afraid to stream at the typical one-starter skill positions like quarterback and tight end. Every week in this space, I’ll take a look at some lesser-owned players you might want to start based on a matchup, increased opportunities, and/or other factors that might boost their value in a given week. I’ll also highlight some typical weekly starters that you might want to shy away from because of a tougher matchup, an injury, and/or playing time issues.
These are not strict Start/Sit recommendations. This article is meant to give you players who are widely available and are looking better than usual this week. Conversely, I’ll also give you players who are widely owned and are looking a little worse than usual this week. Also, ownership percentages are from Yahoo leagues.
Players to consider benching this week
On bye: Josh Allen
Top options if they’re available…
Cam Newton (@Hou, 63%) — Jakobi Meyers has breathed some life into this passing attack over the last three weeks, which has helped Cam climb out of a mini-rut with 16+ FP in three straight games. The Patriots should have success running the ball against the league’s worst run defense this week as the Texans are allowing a league-high 167.4 rushing yards per game. Newton has topped out at 21 rushing yards in three of his last four games, but his down performances came against good run outfits in the 49ers, the Jets, and the Ravens. He should get back on track this week against the Texans, and I’d wager that he reaches double-digit rushing TDs this week as he currently has nine rushing TDs through eight games.
Matthew Stafford (@Car, 61%) — I’m a bit hesitant to fully endorse Stafford if Kenny Golladay has to miss another game for his groin injury, but the veteran QB is in much better shape now that D’Andre Swift is the main man in this backfield and the one-dimensional Adrian Peterson has taken a secondary role. Stafford is also starting to heat up since Marvin Hall started stretching the field as Stafford is averaging more than 8.0 YPA in three of his last four games after doing it just once in his first five games. Stafford has thrown for three TDs in two of his last three games, and the Panthers’ secondary is now a unit to attack as they’ve allowed 280+ passing yards in four straight games.
Players to consider streaming the next couple of weeks
Jameis Winston (vs. Atl, @Den, @Atl — 3%) — Winston got exactly what he wanted when he took a lesser, $1.1 million deal to rehab his career with the Saints as he’s going to play at least a couple of games with Drew Brees (ribs) out of the lineup. We’ll see if he’s actually a different player after spending the last four months practicing and learning from Sean Payton and Brees. He wasn’t asked to do much in the second half last week with the Saints playing from ahead as his aDOT sat at just 6.0 yards after it sat at 10.9 yards with the Buccaneers last season. Expectations need to be kept in check for Winston over the next couple of weeks because he’s going to be more of a game-manager than we’ve ever seen before. Taysom Hill is also going to be heavily involved, as well, but at least Winston will get the friendliest fantasy matchup against a Falcons defense that’s allowing 26.9 FPG to QBs this season.
Derek Carr (vs. KC, @Atl, @NYJ — 37%) — Carr has posted three fantasy duds in a row after hanging 20+ FP in four of his five games from Weeks 2-7. Carr’s fantasy backslide has coincided with Las Vegas’ suddenly hot rushing attack, which has churned out 160+ rushing yards in three straight games. The Raiders have been able to run at will on their last three opponents, but Carr should be forced to the air more against the Chiefs this week and against pass-funnel defenses in the Falcons and the Jets in Weeks 12-13. Carr had his best fantasy performance of the season against the Chiefs back in Week 5. He completed 22/31 passes for 347 yards (11.2 YPA), three touchdowns, and one INT, and this week’s total is the highest in the league at 56.5 points.
Players to consider streaming this week
Kirk Cousins (vs. Dal, 29%) — Cousins is always difficult to completely trust since HC Mike Zimmer would love to run the ball on every single play, especially this week against a Cowboys team they could dominate (the Vikings enter as 7.5 point home favorites). Cousins and this passing attack are heating up, though as he’s thrown for 220+ yards with multiple TDs in four of his last five games. Justin Jefferson is now averaging 18.1 YPR after his huge game on Monday night in Week 10, and the Cowboys secondary is allowing a generous 13.8 YPR to WRs. Cousins is leading the league in deep-ball rate at 17.6%, and he’s going to give Jefferson and Adam Thielen a couple of chances for big plays if you’re comfortable with a boom-or-bust QB streamer this week.
Tight End Streamers
Players to consider benching this week
A player to consider streaming the next couple of weeks
Taysom Hill (vs. Atl, @Den, @Atl) — You can skip this blurb if you don’t play in ESPN formats since Hill is only listed at TE in leagues with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. New Orleans’ Swiss Army knife figures to see more usage going forward with Jameis Winston in the lineup. He played a season-high 22 snaps last week, which included nine snaps at QB after Drew Brees left. Hill’s production actually went down with Teddy Bridgewater in the lineup last season, but this year’s scenario is much different with Winston. Bridgewater spent an entire season and an entire off-season in 2018-19 with the Saints before he took over the offense so Sean Payton trusted much more to run his offense. Hill also signed a contract with $16 million in guaranteed money this off-season so he’s going to see the field more with Brees out of the lineup. I’m expecting Hill’s 5.0 FPG average to be on the rise for as long as Brees is out of the lineup.
Logan Thomas (vs. Cin, @Dal — 36%) — Thomas barely reached 10+ FP last week with 4/66 receiving on six targets, but his stat line was still good enough to finish as the TE6 last week. The tight end position is so gross for fantasy right now but Thomas has a pulse with 40+ receiving yards in three out of his last four games. He’s also seen at least four targets in every game this season, which shouldn’t change going forward with Alex Smith at quarterback. To no one’s surprise, Smith ranks dead last out of 35 quarterbacks in aDOT at 5.3 yards, and Thomas’ role could grow if Smith would stop throwing so much to J.D. McKissic, who’s seen an absurd 29 targets the last two weeks. Thomas gets a matchup against a Bengals defense that’s allowing the second-most FPG to TEs (16.4), including the second-most receiving yards to the position (64.8).
Dalton Schultz (@Min, vs. Was — 16%) — It looked like Schultz’s stay as a fantasy-relevant could be done after Dak Prescott went down for the season, but he’s been revived over Dallas’ last two games. With Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci at quarterback, Schultz posted 10/103 receiving on 15 targets in Weeks 8-9 before their bye. Schultz is typically a player I’d avoid like the plague because of his limited ceiling and his scary floor playing with backup QBs and an elite WR corps. However, beggars can’t be choosers with the current state of the fantasy TE position since Schultz has 4+ catches in six of his last eight games. The Vikings weren’t tested by Chicago’s passing game in Week 10, but Minnesota had allowed 12+ FP to TEs in three straight games before last week.
Players to consider streaming this week
Kyle Rudolph or Irv Smith (vs. Dal, 5%/7%) — Rudolph had an eventful Week 10 with Irv sitting out with a groin injury as he lost a fumble against the Bears, which was his first lost fumble on 443 career catches over 137 games. He also set season-highs in catches (4) and receiving yards (63) on his way to a TE10 finish. I prefer using Smith over Rudolph if both Vikings TEs are healthy enough to play this week, but I’d much rather use Rudolph without Irv in the lineup once again. The Cowboys have allowed 11+ FP to Eric Ebron and Logan Thomas over their last two games to give Rudolph a chance to come through for a second straight week.