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.
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 given how much parity there often is at the bottom-half of both positions. Every week, I’ll take a look at some lesser-owned QBs and TEs 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.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
In danger of missing: Kyler Murray (Ankle)
Tough matchup: Kirk Cousins (AT LAC, 15.1 FPG allowed), Ryan Tannehill (VS. NO, 17.0 FPG allowed)
Top Streaming Options:
Matt Ryan (ATL) (AT DAL, 56%)
Ryan is currently the QB16 by FPG but he draws an outstanding matchup in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have allowed the 9th-most passing FPG to opposing QBs (17.6) and the 8th-most passing yards per game (270.5).
More importantly, this game boasts the highest total of Week 10, at 55.0. In his career, Ryan has averaged 20.6 FPG when playing in games with a total of 50.5 or more. 20.6 FPG would be good for QB10 this season, just behind Patrick Mahomes and just ahead of Kirk Cousins. With the Falcons as 9.5-point underdogs, Ryan should need to throw as much as any QB this week, and when combined with a favorable matchup in a great scoring environment, it’s easy to see why he’s the top streaming option at QB.
Taylor Heinicke (WAS) (VS. TB, 9%)
Heinicke is averaging 17.1 FPG in his starts this season, a mark that’s good for QB17 on the year. He presents a solid floor thanks to his rushing ability and impressive athleticism, averaging 3.9 rushing FPG - good for 9th among starting QBs, and just behind the 4.1 rushing FPG Kyler Murray has averaged thus far. Heinicke has also shown decent upside, scoring over 20.0 FPG in 4 of his 7 starts this season. His Week 10 opponent, Tampa Bay, represents a neutral matchup as they’ve allowed the 12th-most FPG to opposing QBs this season (20.5). With Washington as a 10.0-point underdog, this is a game where Heinicke will need to air the ball out. And the last time these teams met, Heinicke had one of the best performances of his career, scoring 24.8 fantasy points and almost upsetting the Bucs in the playoffs. Heinicke’s rushing floor combined with the high likelihood of a pass-heavy gamescript for Washington makes Heinicke the top streaming option in deeper leagues, as he’s available nearly everywhere at just 9% ownership.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) (VS. BAL, 32%)
Tua is dealing with a finger injury that's left him questionable, but should he play, he’s a solid streaming option for those unable to grab either Ryan or Heinicke. From Weeks 6 through 8, prior to injuring his finger, Tagovailoa ranked 12th in PFF passing grades (75.9), 5th in passing yards (825), 7th in TDs (6), and 9th in FPG (21.0). Those are low-end QB1 numbers, and that stretch includes a game against Buffalo — inarguably the toughest defense for opposing QBs allowing just 13.2 FPG.
The Ravens rank middle of the pack in most important pass defense metrics, but Tua has struggled massively under pressure this season (43.1 PFF passing grade under pressure). That’s important as the Ravens blitz at one of the league's highest rates. So, that’s my major concern with Tua this week. The risk of a high-turnover, low fantasy output performance is certainly higher than with Ryan or Heinicke. Still, Tua’s outstanding recent play and the spread of this game (Miami are 7.5-point underdogs) suggests a high-volume passing attack for Miami with strong upside. Tua’s a high-risk, high-reward streamer this week.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
In danger of missing: Rob Gronkowski (Back spasms), Dawson Knox (Hand)
Top Streaming Options:
Dan Arnold (JAX) (AT IND, 27%)
Dan Arnold has played five games with the Jaguars. The first game (Week 4) he hadn’t had time to get acclimated to the new offense, and played just 18 snaps and earned just two targets. Since then, he’s been an outstanding fantasy commodity.
Over the Jags’ last 4 games, Arnold is tied for the team lead in targets (26), tied for 2nd on the team in routes (122), leads the team in receiving yards (219), and leads the team in YPRR (1.80). Among TEs over that timespan, Arnold’s numbers rank 3rd (tie), 6th (tie), 5th, and 10th. And he’s turned that into 10.0 FPG, a mark that ranks 13th on the year - just behind Dallas Goedert, and just ahead of Hunter Henry. And he’s had 60 or more yards in three of his last four games. He’s seeing the volume, and generating the production, of a low-end TE1.
Indianapolis is on the plus side of matchups for TEs, allowing the 2nd-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs over the last 5 weeks (+7.9), and allowing the 8th-highest target share to TEs (24.6%). Arnold is the top streaming TE option of Week 10, and he’s a reasonable long term hold should this usage continue.
Tyler Conklin (MIN) (AT LAC, 37%)
Conklin has seen remarkably consistent volume this season. He’s earned at least four targets in 7 of his 8 games this season, and has eclipsed 40 receiving yards in 5 of 8 games. The major knock on Conklin is his red zone and end zone usage, and thus his game-to-game TD equity, as he’s only seen 6 red zone targets and 2 end zone targets this season. While that may cap his overall upside, his consistent targets absolutely keep him valuable for fantasy purposes.
In Week 10, Conklin also draws one of the best possible matchups — the Chargers. LAC ranks 9th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing TEs over the last 5 weeks (+3.5), 4th-worst in FPG allowed to opposing TEs (17.3) and worst in target share allowed to opposing TEs (34.5%). A six or more target outing for Conklin is absolutely within reason, and that makes him a high-end TE2 this week.
Pat Freiermuth (PIT) (VS. DET, 41%)
Freiermuth has been on a tear since Eric Ebron was hurt, averaging 16.1 FPG and 6.7 targets per game. Among TEs over that stretch, those numbers ranked 2nd and 12th. Unfortunately for Freiermuth, Ebron is scheduled to return from his hamstring injury this week. Still, Ebron is one of the league’s worst run-blocking TEs, and he’s 28 and is heading to free agency this offseason. The Steelers have nearly every incentive to give Freiermuth an expanded workload regardless of Ebron’s status. And if Freiermuth can hang onto 80% of his workload from the last three weeks, then we are looking at 12.9 FPG and 5.4 targets per game, numbers that would still make him a low-end TE1 or a high-end TE2. Detroit’s TE defense ranks middle of the pack, and this game has one of the lower totals of the slate at 42.5, so this isn’t something I would consider a plus matchup. Even so, Freiermuth’s recent domination and the Steelers clear incentive to give him more playing time over Ebron makes him an intriguing streaming option for those looking for a high-end TE2 this week. Just remember: he’s the riskiest Week 10 play of the three TEs I’ve mentioned today.