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: Tua Tagovailoa (elbow)
Tough matchup: Joe Burrow (@ PIT, 15.7 FPG allowed last season)
Top Streaming Options:
Daniel Jones (NYG) (VS. ATL, 20%)
Jones has averaged an impressive 25.4 FPG through two weeks, and should get an opportunity to air it out in Week 3 as 3-point underdogs to Atlanta. The Falcons appear to be one of the softest matchups for QBs thus far, as they’ve allowed the most FPG (29.1) to the position this season. That obviously bodes well for Jones, but the 3rd-year QB also presents an underrated floor, as his 12.1 rushing FPG through two weeks ranks 2nd to only Lamar Jackson’s 15.7. I don’t think Jones will finish the season as fantasy’s 2nd-most productive rushing QB, but he’s a capable-enough runner that 5-7 rushing FPG is a realistic expectation. That’s an obviously secure floor, and Jones’ 29.5-point performance last week showcased an impressive ceiling. All-around, he’s the best QB waiver addition of Week 3.
Sam Darnold (CAR) (@ HOU, 15%)
Darnold averaged a respectable 19.0 FPG through his first two weeks, and certainly appears more comfortable in Carolina than he did with the disastrous New York Jets. While it doesn’t seem that impressive, 19.0 FPG would have made Darnold the QB15 last season — and 19.0 FPG is still a 6.1 FPG improvement on what Darnold did during his Jets career.
Can we really be surprised? OC Joe Brady did an outstanding job calling plays in 2020. Despite earning his 3rd-worst career PFF passing grade, Teddy 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 QB22 (in FPG) largely thanks to what Joe Brady did as OC. This is the best offense Darnold has played for, and it’s really not close.
With a 25.75 implied team total against Houston, Darnold and this Carolina offense should have no problem putting points on the board, and that should mean a solid fantasy outing for Darnold.
Jared Goff (DET) (VS. BAL, 15%)
Goff is averaging a career-high 23.7 FPG through two weeks, and it’s difficult to see him slowing down given just how bad this Detroit defense is. The Lions have allowed 38.0 points a game to their opponents this season, 2nd-worst in the NFL behind the Atlanta Falcons. And that’s led to a league-leading 102 dropbacks for Jared Goff. Goff’s efficiency hasn’t been great (94.6 paser rating and 67.8 PFF passing grade) but with just his sheer volume of dropbacks, he’s presenting a solid floor based around how much he’ll put the ball in the air. As 7.5-point underdogs to Baltimore this week, Goff seems destined for another 45 or more dropbacks in Week 3.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
In tough matchups: Robert Tonyan (@ SF, 8.1 FPG allowed in 2020)
Top Streaming Options:
Jared Cook (LAC) (@ KC, 43%)
Cook ran a route on 65% of Justin Herbert’s dropbacks last week, catching 3 of his 5 targets for 28 yards. While I’m still skeptical of Cook’s season-long value given the presence of Donald Parham, it’s clear Cook is an excellent streaming option in Week 3 against Kansas City. This game against the Chiefs offers the week’s highest total (56.0), and historically, Cook’s played well in high total games, averaging 12.0 FPG when the game total is higher than 50.0. Cook’s the top pass catching TE on a team playing in one of the best shootout environments of the week — making him the top streaming option at the position for the 2nd week in a row.
Juwan Johnson (NO) (@ NE, 36%)
Week 2 may be the week that Johnson finally usurped Adam Trautman as New Orleans’ receiving TE, as Johnson ran more routes (16-11) and saw more targets (3-0) than Trautman on Sunday. Johnson’s still not used as a run blocker (just 4 run blocking snaps this year), so his receiving role is likely his only path to playing time this season.
Historically, the Saints have given us TE1 outputs from Jared Cook (TE7) in 2019, Benjamin Watson (TE11) in 2017, and Jimmy Graham, who was no worse than the overall TE2 from 2011-2014. Cook, specifically, ranked top-8 among TEs last year in deep targets (10) and end zone targets (10) despite seeing the 20th-most targets. Over the past two seasons, Cook hit double-digit fantasy points 17 times. Only Darren Waller and Travis Kelce did it more. That’s serious upside for Johnson if he can monopolize this TE receiving role.
He’s not as strong of a play in Week 3 as Jared Cook, but Johnson’s season-long upside couldn’t be stronger, making him the best possible TE waiver addition for those searching for a boom or bust bench TE.
Pat Freiermuth (PIT) (VS. CIN, 7%)
Freiermuth has taken an even larger role than many analysts anticipated so far through two weeks, as he’s run almost as many routes as Eric Ebron (37-35) and has seen 5 targets to Ebron’s 3. This isn’t a fluke, as the Steelers seemed determined to move on from Ebron (and his egregious run blocking) when they selected Freiermuth in Round 2. Given that Freiermuth has played 25 run blocking snaps to Ebron’s 12, it appears the writing is on the wall for the 8-year veteran in Ebron. For fantasy purposes, I’m expecting Freiermuth’s receiving role to continually improve each week while Ebron transitions to a more part-time gig. Freiermuth doesn’t offer the season-long upside of an excellent athlete (and former WR) like Juwan Jennings, but he could become a consistent-enough fantasy contributor this season to earn high-end TE2 numbers. Regardless, he’s set up to play and see at least a target or two, and that should help us avoid the dread goose egg at the position this week.