Quarterback & Tight End Streamers: Week 1 (Fantasy Football)
Now that most drafts are in the books and some have decided to go heavy on the running back and wide receiver positions, streaming season is officially now open. If you play in a 12-team league or smaller, some potential values are lurking amongst the columns of your waiver wire at the quarterback and tight end positions. Remember that it is the beginning of the season, so nothing is concrete and established. We are essentially guessing with some confidence, not with total faith. We are using last year’s defensive statistics to gauge what this year’s defenses will hopefully look like, but we all know that some teams will have much better defenses than last year while other teams will have defensive regression.
Therefore, take everything at this time of the year with a grain of salt. As more games are played in 2018, we will garner more information and have a better chance of getting it right. That being said, let’s look at Week 1’s potential streamers for the quarterback and tight end positions.
QB Stream of the Week: Blake Bortles (JAC) vs. New York Giants
Did you know that Bortles has been a top-12 quarterback in fantasy for the past two years? The football fantasy community has always had a beef with Bortles, but he’s honestly has gone about his game and has delivered for the most part. Now he has last year’s worst defense in Week 1 versus the quarterback. The New York Giants allowed 18.7 points against quarterbacks in 2017. Now, it is possible that they have improved, but feel comfortable starting Bortles this week based on this information.
Most likely he is not owned by your league mates so you can pick him up and plug him in. Though Marqise Lee is out for the year, Bortles has a good arsenal to throw to even if it is nebulous. Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief, and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins all want the ball. He also has New England in Week 2. The Patriots gave up the seventh-most fantasy points (17.4) last year. Therefore, Bortles could be a good two-week streaming rental.
Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. Indianapolis Colts
If you cannot stomach ever having Bortles on your team, another quarterback that is most likely available on the waiver wire is Dalton. He was pretty awful last year but has shown signs in the not-so-distant-past to be one of the better quarterbacks. The Bengals are against the 10th-worst defense against quarterbacks, the Indianapolis Colts. Indy allowed quarterbacks to get 17 points per game in 2017.
Sure, the Colts addressed a lot of holes in their defense by drafting heavily in that area, but it does take time for new players to adjust to the league, therefore, it is the best time to try to exploit the tentative situation. With a healthy John Ross, Tyler Boyd, and Tyler Eifert, the arrow is going up for Dalton to throw against a team that will also be more productive. Don’t be surprised if this game ends up being a shootout, which means a lot of potential passing touchdowns for Dalton.
Nick Foles (PHI) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Many have the Atlanta Falcons as being a much better defense this year, but they were very generous towards quarterbacks based on last year’s statistics. The Falcons allowed 16.8 points against quarterbacks in 2017. The Eagles are an elite offense even without Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery being sidelined. Foles is no slouch backup quarterback either. Remember, he was able to beat the best team in the Super Bowl last year.
Philadelphia has great options to throw to as well. Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, and rookie tight end Dallas Goedert are all hungry. Another sneaky play would be Mike Wallace. He should be able to replace Jeffery for the first few weeks and stretch the field. The best thing is that Foles should be almost 100% available in your league.
Ryan Tannehill (MIA) vs. Tennessee Titans
Tennessee looks to have a better secondary this year and Tannehill is a year removed from playing, but he could surprise in his 2018 debut. Miami is a team that is slated to do poorly this year, but do have enough offensive weapons to hush their critics. The Titans allowed 16.2 points last year to quarterbacks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB) vs. New Orleans Saints
The Saints had a surprisingly formidable defense in 2017, but were around league-average against quarterbacks, allowing 15.6 points. Fitz might be a backup, but he knows the Bucs offense and was as good or better than Winston in most games last year. Plus, the Bucs have so many offensive weapons, which help his cause.
TE Stream of the Week: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (JAC) vs. New York Giants
Yes, I am picking on the New York Giants this week, basing it on last year’s defense. Now, if you are convinced that they have improved their personnel this year, then just move on to the next streaming possibility. However, in 2017, the Giants were the second worst against tight ends, allowing 15.8 points per game in fantasy. ASJ will not be owned in most leagues since the tight end pool (like the quarterback position) is quite deep. Sure, he’s on a new team, but he showed last year that he could be a viable fantasy option if he can keep his off-the-field life in check.
The Giants do boast a decent secondary core so instead of expecting the wide receivers to tear it up, ASJ could be the surprise target hog. He’s athletic, and if he can somehow establish a report with Bortles, then he could have a monster game with a touchdown thrown in for good measure.
Ricky Seals-Jones (ARI) vs. Washington Redskins
My next choice might be owned in some deeper leagues or leagues in which owners have two tight ends, but RSJ has a good chance to start his breakout as early as week one. The Redskins gave up 14.1 points per game last year to tight ends, which was the sixth most. Sam Bradford really favors throwing short to intermediate passes which helps the RSJ argument. He also showed last year in a small sample size that he can be a YAC monster.
Therefore, even if he does not garner 10-12 targets, he can still manage to rack up fantasy points because of his ability to gain yards after the catch. Last year, RSJ was also prolific in the red zone, so there is also a good chance that he might find himself scoring in this game too. Washington does not have a great defense on the whole, so this is a good week to put RSJ in your lineup and hope he gets you double-digit points.
Jared Cook (OAK) vs. L.A. Rams
I am amazed how so many fantasy football experts have really ignored Cook this year. At the moment, he is not being drafted in most leagues despite leading the Raiders in receiving yards last year. I am not kidding. He was ahead of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in 2017.
Although the Rams look to be one of the elite defenses this year, they are not infallible. Last year, they ranked 15th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends at 11.8. Cook might not be a red zone threat like many other tight ends, but he gets many targets which usually translates to receptions. With Crabtree gone and Martavis Bryant cut loose, the only other viable receivers on Oakland are Cooper and Jordy Nelson. Nelson is 33 years old and has definitely lost a step from the days when he dominated with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Los Angeles did vastly improve their secondary by bringing in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and therefore could pose problems for Cooper and Nelson. Cook could be the beneficiary of their coverage on the wide receivers. I see Cook having a solid first outing against the Rams.
Nick Vannett (SEA) vs. Denver Broncos
I would have Vannett in the top three based on the opportunity, but he has not proven to be a go-to option for Russell Wilson yet. That being said, with Ed Dickson out for the beginning of the season along with a below-average receiving corps, Vannett could surprise this season, let alone this week. The Broncos allowed 14.7 points to tight ends last year — fourth most in the league.
Charles Clay (BUF) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Clay might be owned in your league, so there’s a chance he is not an option. However, gobble him up if he is free because he might be the best receiving option on the Bills, period. The Ravens had a staunch defense, but gave up 13.1 points per game to tight ends last year, which was eighth most. When Clay is healthy, he is productive, and he’s healthy at the moment.