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: Baker Mayfield (Shoulder)
Top Streaming Options:
Daniel Jones (NYG) (AT KC, 28%)
Jones has had a rough stretch of performances since he was concussed in Week 5 against Dallas, averaging just 8.5 FPG over his last three games. Still, Jones is currently the QB15, and he averaged 23.6 FPG through the first four weeks of the season. He’s on the more volatile end of fantasy QBs, but he’s proven time and time again he’s capable of QB1 performances. Not to mention his strong rushing floor, as the 5.0 rushing FPG Jones has averaged this season ranks 6th among all QBs.
And now Jones faces the Chiefs, a defense that’s allowed the 2nd-most FPG to opposing QBs (24.9), ranks 2nd-worst in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA (34.7%), and has allowed the 5th-most PPG to opposing offenses (29.0). In my opinion, there won’t be a better streaming opportunity for Jones this season. If you are going to play him, this is the week. He’s the top streaming option of Week 8, and should be viewed as a mid- to low-end QB1, with more upside if any of his injured top WRs (Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard) can get clearance to play.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) (AT BUF, 47%)
Over the last two weeks, Tua ranks 6th in PFF passing grade (86.7), 3rd in passing yards (620), 3rd in TDs (6), 1st in pass attempts (87), and — most importantly — 7th in FPG (24.0). Small sample, sure, but Tua is coming off the best two game stretch (fantasy or otherwise) of his entire career. He draws arguably one of the most difficult matchups for a QB in Week 8 against Buffalo, but as a 13.5-point underdog, the Dolphins are going to be forced to throw the ball. And it’s not like the Bills defense is impervious to QB fantasy scoring, as Taylor Heinicke (who is likely a worse QB than Tua) scored 20.4 fantasy points. Beyond that, Buffalo’s had an easy run of QBs, facing the completely washed Ben Roethlisberger, Jacoby Brissett, Davis Mills, a struggling Patrick Mahomes (who still scored 19.0), and Ryan Tannehill in a game he only threw 28 passes because Derrick Henry took over.
The tougher matchup prevents me from declaring Tua the top streaming option of the week, but he’s still a strong choice given his recent play and the likelihood Miami will need to be incredibly pass happy on Sunday.
Teddy Bridgewater (DEN) (VS. WAS, 20%)
Bridgewater is currently bordering on the best fantasy season of his career, as he’s currently the QB18 averaging 15.8 FPG. He’s playing more aggressively than ever before (perhaps the Courtland Sutton/Tim Patrick effect?), posting a 9.4 aDOT, much higher than his previous career high of 7.9 from his rookie season with Minnesota in 2014. As a result, Teddy is on pace to set a career high in TDs (29) and tie his career high in interceptions (12). He’s been a consistent mid- to low-end QB2 this season. But now he gets arguably his best matchup of the year. And he’s expected to get Jerry Jeudy (ankle) back this week.
The Washington Football Team has given up the most FPG to opposing QBs this year (30.0), they rank 2nd-worst in PFF pass coverage grades (37.0), 4th-worst in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA (29.2%), dead last in PPG allowed (30.0), and last in passing YPG allowed (300.6). This matchup is so strong that Teddy should be considered a high-end QB2 this week, making him an excellent Week 8 streaming option in 12+ team leagues.
Players To Consider Benching This Week:
In danger of missing: Rob Gronkowski (Ribs), Dawson Knox (Hand)
Top Streaming Options:
Ricky Seals-Jones (WAS) (AT DEN, 53%)
Another week, another RSJ write-up. Since taking over as the starter in Week 4, RSJ ranks 7th among TEs in targets (23), tied for 7th in red zone targets (6), 1st in end zone targets (5) and 2nd in routes run (152). He’s become Logan Thomas, which means he should be considered a mid- to low-end TE1 depending on his matchup until Thomas returns from IR. He hasn’t been very efficient, but he doesn’t need to be with that level of volume to maintain fantasy relevancy, or even be worthy of starting. Week 8 ushers in a tougher matchup against a Denver defense that’s only allowed 5.1 FPG to opposing TEs (5th-toughest), but the 7.3 targets per game that RSJ has averaged over the last three weeks provides him with an easily trustable floor, even if the difficult matchup does limit his upside this week. And to be honest, I’m not so sure we can put a ton of stock in his upside being limited, as RSJ has more end zone targets this season than any other TE (in just 4 games), giving him quite impressive TD equity, and thus increasing the probability of a ceiling performance. It’s just really tough to argue against RSJ as anything other than a top-12 TE this week.
RSJ should be owned in all leagues (until Thomas returns) and I’m confident this is the last week I’ll have to write him up, because by next week the market should finally recognize the TE1 that is Ricky Seals-Jones.
Jared Cook (LAC) (VS. NE, 44%)
Jared Cook is actually on pace for the 3rd best fantasy season of his entire career. He ranks 10th among TEs in routes (181), tied for 2nd in end zone targets (4), and 15th in FPG (9.4). Given backup TE Donald Parham hasn’t seen the increase in routes many (myself included) think he deserves, it’s safe to say Cook’s role as the TE1 offense is secure, likely for the remainder of the season. That’s important to note, because while Cook doesn’t present an incredible ceiling, his floor is quite solid, as he’s seen at least 3 targets in every game this year, and 7 or more targets in three games. When streaming TEs, we are often looking to just avoid complete disaster, and Cook’s baked-in target floor helps us do exactly that. He's a low-end TE1 against New England in the 4th-highest total game (50.0) of the week.
Tyler Conklin (MIN) (VS. DAL, 10%)
Conklin has eerily similar numbers to Jared Cook, with the crucial exception of being available in about 34% more Yahoo leagues. Conklin currently ranks 13th among TEs in targets (29), 16th in receiving yards (240), 13th in routes (174), and 14th in total fantasy points, averaging 8.7 FPG. He’s earned at least 3 targets in every game, and 4 or more targets in five of his six outings. That’s mid-range TE2 volume for a player who’s basically free in almost all leagues. And he’s playing in the best scoring environment of Week 8, as the Vikings matchup with Dallas has a total of 55.5. Over the last three years, the Vikings starting TE has averaged 9.2 FPG when the game total is more than 52.0. Not an earth-shattering number by any means, but absolutely good enough for a bye week fill-in. Conklin is the clear top waiver wire TE option in deeper leagues this week.