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.
I use Yahoo’s player database for the ownership numbers, but they weren’t available on Tuesday morning. I look at the ownership numbers each week for our Waiver Wire article so I did my best to find players who I thought would be widely available.
Players to consider benching this week
Top options if they’re available…
Cam Newton (vs. Ari) — Cam is coming off his second 300-yard passing game of the season last week, and he threw a touchdown pass for just the fourth time this season. Unfortunately, he failed to run for a touchdown, which is what we’re hoping for when we play him in fantasy since he has nine rushing TDs in as many games. The Cardinals have allowed multiple passing TDs to four straight QBs, and they’ve been one of the most generous defenses against running QBs. Six of the last seven QBs they’ve faced have run for 20+ yards, a list that includes Joe Flacco.
Players to consider streaming the next couple of weeks
Taysom Hill (@Den, @Atl) — Hill scored more FP (25.42) in his first career start than Drew Brees scored in any of his nine starts in 2020. Taysom was playing against the league’s friendliest fantasy defense to quarterbacks, but Hill showed his fantasy upside with his rushing and downfield passing ability, areas where Brees doesn’t excel. Hill posted 10/51/2 rushing last week, which gives him four consecutive games with 35+ rushing yards, and he completed all three of his passes that traveled 15+ air yards on his way to averaging 10.1 YPA. Hill is locked in as a QB1 option for as long as he starts this season, and he’ll likely get at least two more starts with Brees on the IR through Week 13 unless Taysom totally bombs this week against the Broncos.
Daniel Jones (@Cin, @Sea, vs. Ari) — Jones and the rest of the Giants have started to turn a corner in recent weeks to climb back into the NFC East race. Jones has scored 18+ FP in three of his last four games, and he ranks third in QB rushing yards with 384 yards. It’s a low threshold but the Giants offense has scored 20+ points in six straight games after failing to reach that mark in their first four games against a brutal opening month of matchups. The Giants have an implied team total sitting around 24 points this week, which would be their third-highest output of the season. The Bengals could be in trouble with Ryan Finley at quarterback, which could give Jones and the Giants offense an extra scoring opportunity or two with some shorter fields this week. He also has matchups with the Seahawks and the Cardinals in the coming weeks so Jones is back on the streaming radar after a disastrous start to the season.
Players to consider streaming this week
Derek Carr (@Atl) — Carr’s fantasy production had been crushed in Weeks 8-10 when he averaged just 24.0 passes per game in victories, but playing against the Chiefs last week helped him to find some volume with 275/3 passing on 31 attempts. The Falcons offense will hopefully show up this week to push Carr and the Raiders like we saw Patrick Mahomes do last week. The Raiders enter this week as three-point road favorites in a game totaled at 55.5 points so Carr has a chance to throw 30+ times to give himself a chance to come through as a streamer. It doesn’t hurt that the Falcons are a pass-funnel defense with their excellent run defense as opponents are throwing at the sixth-highest rate (61.7%). Seven different QBs have thrown for 300+ yards against the Falcons and Taysom Hill scored 25.42 FP against Atlanta last week in his first career start so fire up Carr once again.
Tight End Streamers
Top options if they’re available…
Austin Hooper (@Jax) — The Browns might actually play in good conditions this week after playing in rain and/or wind in three straight contests in Cleveland. We haven’t really seen exactly what this passing attack will look like with Odell Beckham out of the lineup, but we should get our first taste this weekend against a decimated Jaguars defense. Hooper has just 4/44 receiving on seven targets since returning to the lineup off of his appendectomy in Week 10, but you should consider adding and playing him this week if he’s dropped. The Jaguars have allowed a league-high eight TDs to the position, including 4/36/1 receiving and seven targets to Eric Ebron.
Robert Tonyan (vs. Chi) — Tonyan snapped out of a little funk last week with 5/44/1 receiving against the Colts. He had hit double-digit FP just once in his last five games since blowing up for three scores against the Falcons in Week 4. Tonyan has a chance to keep the momentum going this week against a Bears defense that’s tough overall, but they’ve been attacked at the TE position by opposing quarterbacks. Kyle Rudolph had his best game (4/63) of the season against the Bears the last time Chicago took the field, and the Bears have allowed 50+ receiving yards and/or a touchdown to a TE in every game this season.
A player to consider streaming the next couple of weeks
Jordan Reed (@LAR, vs. Buf, vs. Was) — Reed figures to be a featured part of this passing attack down the stretch for as long as he stays healthy, and he has a pretty solid slate to post some production starting this week against the Rams. Reed posted 5/62 receiving on six targets (15.4% share) against the Saints before his bye week. He ran 22 routes compared to Ross Dwelley’s 18 routes, but Nick Mullens clearly had an eye for him since Reed saw a target on 33.3% of his routes in Week 10. The 49ers enter this week as seven-point road underdogs so they could skew a little more pass-heavy like they did against the Saints two weeks ago, which will get Reed on the field a little more. The Rams have faced the third-most TE targets this season, which includes when George Kittle saw 10 targets for 7/109/1 receiving against L.A. back in Week 6.
Players to consider streaming this week
Jordan Akins (@Det) — Akins stepped into a bigger role in this passing attack last week when Randall Cobb (toe) and Kenny Stills (leg) picked up injuries, which helped Akins to a season-best 83 yards against the Patriots. Akins is still contending with Darren Fells and Pharaoh Brown for snaps and targets, but he easily paced the group with 24 routes last week with Brown (13) and Fells (9) combining for 22 routes. Deshaun Watson is playing about as well as any QB in the league so it’s smart to grab pieces of this passing attack since they have a non-existent running game without David Johnson (concussion, IR). The Lions had allowed the second-most FPG to TEs in Weeks 7-10 (18.0) before facing a Panthers offense that doesn’t feature TEs in the passing game.
Dalton Schultz (vs. Was) — Schultz isn’t a sexy option in this loaded Cowboys offense, but he’s still soaking up targets as a check-down option in the middle of the field. He has 14/126/1 receiving over his last three games with three different QBs. With Andy Dalton back in the lineup, he scored the game-winning touchdown against the Vikings last week as he finished with 4/25/1 receiving on six targets (18.8% share). He now has 4+ catches in seven of his last nine games to give him a solid PPR floor, and he saw two end-zone targets last week to give him a little better ceiling heading into his matchup with the Football Team on Thanksgiving. He mustered just 2/22 receiving against Washington in Week 7 when the Cowboys managed just 142 total yards and three points when Dalton got concussed, but the Dallas offense should be in better shape this week.