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:
In danger of missing: Baker Mayfield (Shoulder)
Top Streaming Options:
Derek Carr (LV) (VS. PHI, 53%)
Outside of a Week 5 dud against Chicago, Carr has averaged 21.1 FPG so far this year - a mark that would make him the QB10 on the season. Fears that Jon Gruden was responsible for Carr’s strong performances this year can likely be set aside, as Carr achieved his highest passer rating (134.4), PFF passing grade (90.6), and adjusted completion (83.3) in his first game without Gruden calling plays. And Carr is playing some of the best football of his career this season. His current PFF passing grade of 87.2 ties with his career high from 2016, and he’s on pace for career highs in yards per attempt (8.4), passing yards (5,514), and most importantly: FPG (18.8). If Carr keeps this play up, he’ll be somewhere between a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 for the remainder of the season. A Week 7 streamer with long term stash potential.
Week 7 itself ushers in a more neutral matchup for Carr, granted one with shootout potential, as he’s facing an Eagles secondary that ranks 16th in PFF coverage grade in the 3rd-highest total game of the week (49.5). Given his lack of rushing upside, the potential for Carr to be the highest scoring QB in any individual week is quite low, but he’s absolutely a starting-caliber QB in 12+ team leagues, and I wouldn’t expect him to be available in half of Yahoo leagues for much longer.
Daniel Jones (NYG) (VS. CAR, 33%)
Jones is coming off back-to-back sub-5-point fantasy outings. He was concussed early-on against Dallas, so that’s an easy one to write off. This past Sunday, however, was a complete disaster for Jones and this Giants offense. Jones completed 29 of 51 passes for 242 yards and 3 interceptions. Is Jones dust now? Well, probably not. That performance came in his first game back from what looked like a pretty severe concussion (I know he was medically cleared, but come on), and the Giants were without Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton, and Kadarius Toney was reinjured almost immediately. Factor in an outstanding Rams pass rush and it’s easy to see why Jones flopped in his first game back.
We can’t forget, however, that Jones averaged 23.6 FPG through his first four games, largely thanks to elite tier rushing production (7.7 rushing FPG). 23.6 FPG would currently make Jones the QB7, ahead of both Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford. In a more neutral matchup against Carolina (20.0 FPG allowed, 13th-worst), Jones is a high-risk, high-reward streaming option.
Taylor Heinicke (WAS) (AT GB, 27%)
Heinicke has been a bit disappointing from a fantasy perspective as of late, scoring just 9.9 and 9.3 fantasy points in his last two games. Still, he’s averaged 17.5 FPG in his five full games, good for QB19 on the season. Heinicke’s floor isn’t elite, but it’s certainly better than other commonly available waiver wire statues like Ben Roethlisberger or Tua Tagovailoa, as Heinicke has averaged a respectable 4.5 rushing FPG this season. Given Heinicke should be forced to throw as much as any other QB this week as a 9.5-point underdog in Green Bay, he shapes up as a mid-range QB2 this week, and is a strong streaming option in deeper leagues.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
Top Streaming Options:
Jonnu Smith (NE) (VS. NYJ, 40%)
Smith isn’t an exciting waiver addition at this point, but he is a player that will almost assuredly help you avoid the dreaded ‘goose egg’ at the position. His volume has stayed consistent, seeing at least 2 targets in every game this season, and 5 or more targets in four games. He’s tied with Kendrick Bourne for 4th on the team in total targets (23) and is tied with Nelson Agholor for the team lead in red zone targets (7). He’s seeing respectable, mid- to low-end TE2 usage, and offers decent TD upside given 30% of his targets have come inside the red zone. Teams desperate for a TE waiver fill-in that can’t grab Ricky Seals-Jones, Jonnu Smith is your next best bet this week.
Ricky Seals-Jones (WAS) (AT GB, 30%)
Ricky Seals-Jones last two weeks:— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) October 18, 2021
* 141-of-142 snaps
* Slot or wide 88 times
* 83 routes on 93 Heinicke dropbacks
* 15 targets for 18.7% share
* 9-99-1 result
RSJ has seen some of the best usage of any TE over the last two weeks. In Weeks 5 and 6, Seals-Jones ranked 6th among TEs in targets (13), 3rd in routes (78), 2nd in red zone targets (4), tied with Mark Andrews for 1st in end zone targets (3), and 9th in FPG (12.5).
The Washington Football Team has trailed on a league-high 84% of its offensive snaps this season.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 18, 2021
Seal-Jones having an 89% route share and playing on a team that’s managed to trail as much as Washington has sets him up as a low- to mid-tier TE1 until Logan Thomas returns from IR. With Washington as 9.5-point underdogs to Green Bay, a still-readily available RSJ gets to see more of the negative gamescript that’s helped earn him the 3rd-most routes of any TE over the last two weeks. He’s the top TE streaming option of the week.
Mo Alie-Cox (IND) (AT SF, 8%)
Alie-Cox is currently the TE22, largely thanks to elite red zone and end zone usage. Of his 16 total targets, 7 have come in the red zone (44%), and 4 have come in the end zone (25%). That provides Alie-Cox with some of the best TD equity of any TE, as 7 red targets ties for 12th among TEs, and 4 end zone targets ties for the league lead at the position. Great TD equity with sub-par overall usage (2.7 targets per game) suggests Alie-Cox will be one of the more volatile week-to-week TEs this season. A low-floor, medium (or maybe high)-upside streaming option. Those in deeper (14+ team) leagues without RSJ or Jonnu Smith available should absolutely consider Alie-Cox as a fill-in for Week 7, as he sees enough volume to likely avoid the dreaded 0 while still presenting somewhat-compelling upside.