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.
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. Also, ownership percentages are from Yahoo leagues.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
None of note
Top Streaming Options:
Jameis Winston (NO) (@CAR, 44%)
Jameis set an NFL record Sunday: the fewest ever passing yards (148) with 5 passing touchdowns. More importantly, he finished the game with 29.6 fantasy points — the 4th-most of any Week 1 QB. His historical volatility as a passer makes it tough to trust Jameis as your only QB, but thankfully this is a streaming article, so there will still be options for those who prefer to take a more risk-averse approach to the position this week. Regardless, Sean Payton’s offense could absolutely transform Jameis into a top-12 QB in both real life football and fantasy. That QB1 upside is certainly worth the risk of a potential benching should he return to his interception-prone ways, but he’s still a solid play this week against Carolina, as they gave up the 10th-most FPG to opposing QBs last year (20.5). Jameis is my favorite QB streaming option of the week, as there simply aren’t lesser-owned QBs with greater season-long upside.
Tyrod Taylor (Hou) (@CLE, 4%)
Taylor had an efficient day Sunday, completing 21 of 33 passes for 291 yards and 2 TDs, while adding another 40 rushing yards on 4 carries. Unlike the vast majority of other waiver wire options, Taylor has a clear factor that separates him from the pack: his rushing. In his three seasons as the starter in Buffalo, Taylor averaged 5.6 rushing FPG - a mark that would’ve ranked 5th among all starting QBs last year. That rushing output helps secure Taylor’s floor, making him one of the safer plug-and-play QB options of Week 2. And Houston are 12.5-point underdogs to Cleveland this week, which means Taylor will be all but guaranteed to attempt more than the 33 passes he did in Week 1. Those anxious over the volatility of Jameis Winston should consider Taylor their top waiver wire QB target of Week 2.
Sam Darnold (Car) (VS. NO, 15%)
This is the best situation of Darnold’s career. He’s still not a fantasy QB I get excited about starting, but we need to remember this Carolina coaching staff led Teddy Bridgewater to the best season (fantasy or otherwise) of his career. Despite earning his 3rd-worst career PFF passing grade, Bridgewater earned career-high marks in passing yards (3733), completion percentage (69.1%), yards per attempt (7.6), and FPG (16.1), finishing the year as QB19 largely thanks to what Joe Brady did as OC.
Through one week, we’ve already seen Darnold post a 19.1 fantasy point performance - a mark that would’ve been his 3rd-best game in 2020 under the coaching abomination that was Adam Gase. Week 2 certainly presents a tougher matchup against a stout Saints’ defense, but as 3.5-point underdogs, Darnold and Carolina should have plenty of opportunity to earn fantasy points through the air.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
In tough matchups: Dallas Goedert (Phi), (VS. SF, 8.1 FPG allowed in 2020)
Top Streaming Options:
Jared Cook (LAC) (VS. DAL, 26%)
Cook ran 36 routes (11th-most among Week 1 TEs) and converted that into 8 targets (4th-most) and 5 receptions (5th-most). I’m not very optimistic about Cook’s long-term prospects given his age (34) and the presence of Donald Parham, but for Week 2 it’s difficult to find a waiver-wire TE with a floor more secure than Cook. This game has the highest total (55.0) of the week, and Cook should finish in the top-15 among TEs in routes again, should this game be the shootout it’s expected to be. When streaming TEs, we are often just looking to avoid goose eggs, and no TE under 50% ownership gives you a better chance of that than Cook this week.
Cole Kmet (Chi) (VS. CIN, 34%)
Kmet was the entire show at TE for the Bears on Sunday, out-snapping Jimmy Graham 51-14 and catching five of his six targets for 42 yards. There’s little reason to believe that’ll change this season, giving Kmet low-end TE1 upside on a week-to-week basis and making him the most reasonable long-term waiver additions among the TEs listed in this article. Kmet’s floor is also rather sturdy, as once he earned the starting TE role in Week 13 last year, he recorded 6 or more targets in four of his five subsequent games. With a juicy matchup looming against a Bengals team that gave up the 6th-most fantasy points to opposing TEs last year (14.7 FPG), Kmet should absolutely be able to pull together a TE1 performance.
Tyler Conklin (Min) (@ARI, 5%)
Conklin ran the 7th-most routes of any TE this week (32) and drastically out-snapped backup TE Chris Herndon 38 to 8 while catching all four of his targets for 41 yards. Conklin’s clearly the Vikings “guy” at TE, and while it’s nothing flashy, that absolutely brings low to mid-end TE1 upside to the table. As punt TE plays go, Conklin’s one of my favorites in Week 2 and the reasons are fairly simple: he’s going to run a lot of routes and the Vikings are 4.5-point underdogs against Arizona with the slate’s 4th-highest total (51.0). Especially in deeper leagues, streaming TE often means just trying to prevent complete disaster at the position, and Conklin is one of the few sub-10% owned streaming-options with a high-enough target and route floor to likely prevent a goose egg.