Quarterback & Tight End Streamers: Week 4 (Fantasy Football)
Week 3 was supposed to be the week where the NFL was going to start making sense. Instead, it left us even more dazed and confused. It was also a week for the rookies. It began Thursday night when rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield came off the bench to lead the Cleveland Browns to their first win since 2016. The first-overall pick resembled a gritty veteran. On Sunday afternoon, hopeless Buffalo disgraced Minnesota at home with a rookie quarterback who has been condemned since draft day to be a first-round bust. Josh Allen did this without their best weapon (LeSean McCoy) and with arguably the worst offensive line and a forgettable wide receiver corps.
The top wide receiver for the week was Atlanta Falcons’ Calvin Ridley. He had seven receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad for a rookie that scored zero fantasy points in his first week. The top tight end on Sunday was not Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce but was Philadelphia Eagles rookie Dallas Goedert, who got 20 fantasy points, 19 more than he did in the previous two weeks combined. Then the night was capped off with rookie running back Kerryon Johnson who hit the century mark in rushing. It might sound like the least impressive of the bunch but Johnson was the first Detroit Lion to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game in 70 games, which is over four years.
So what is my point? As we enter Week 4, we should have a good idea of who is chalk to stream but unfortunately, we are as lost (and maybe perhaps more) than we were during the first week. Anything can happen and nothing is remotely guaranteed. Secondly, the rookies seem to be emerging. Therefore, I will begin with a rookie streamer that has erupted onto the scene after just playing one half of football.
Last week we got it right with Andy Dalton but missed with Mitchell “is he any good?” Trubisky. This is being written before our stream of the week, Fitzmagic, who plays Monday night. Therefore, we are hoping he exceeds the world’s high expectations. He should. He’s just too cool and macho not to. Regardless, due to his increased ownership, he won’t be in the stream conversation this week. However, Josh Allen is now in the conversation as is Ryan Tannehill. Unfortunately, Allen is traveling to Lambeau Field to play the Packers and Tannehill is visiting the frustrated Patriots. Don’t be surprised if these two get devoured by two of the best franchises who have just lost against inferior teams and are looking for blood.
Stream of the Week: Baker Mayfield (CLE) vs Oakland Raiders
Put a bid in for Baker Mayfield right now. As I write this article, he is 12% owned in Yahoo but by the end of the week, he will on a lot of fantasy teams. Hue Jackson has declared Mayfield as the team’s starter with Tyrod Taylor as the backup. Mayfield is his big ticket to keeping his job and will be yours if you get him and start him. Oakland just allowed a perennial streamer, Tannehill, to look like Aaron Rodgers. Tannehill got over 30 fantasy points. Mayfield looked confident and competent in the half he played against a decent defense in the Jets and could be what Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, David Njoku, and Duke Johnson need to elevate their game. Although it is a small sample size, this prolific college quarterback looks poised to carry over his talent to the big leagues. There is a good reason why he was the number one drafted player, so pick him up before it is too late.
Andy Dalton (CIN) vs Atlanta Falcons
We had Dalton as one of our streams in Week 3 and that turned out well. Although the Bengals lost and Dalton threw four picks, he still managed to score over 19 fantasy points. He threw for over 350 yards and two touchdowns. Atlanta’s defense is not as good as Carolina now that they have lost a bunch of key players. Don’t expect Dalton, who is only 33% owned, to throw up the same numbers Drew Brees did, but look for him to keep his solid 2018 campaign going strong. Tyler Boyd has turned into this year’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, albeit in his third year in the league. Dalton also has one of the best wideouts in A.J. Green, though you’ll need to monitor his injury status, and Tyler Eifert also turned up in Week 3. John Ross is ready to breakout and Joe Mixon could be back this week. And if he isn’t then Giovani Bernard is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. Dalton has the weapons, so don’t be afraid to use the Red Rifle in Week 4.
Joe Flacco (BAL) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh is at home which means Big Ben will help get the Steelers big points. Baltimore has shown that their offense is much improved. In the first three weeks, they scored 47, 23, 27 points. Joe Flacco is motivated. He has a first-round rookie ready to take his job away from him. He simply needs to keep playing well or it is bench time. Flacco is the 13th best quarterback in fantasy after three weeks of football. Remarkably, he has outscored Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson during that span. Certainly, the fear of Flacco turning back into the Joe Flacco we know too well is real but this is the first time since his big payday that he is playing for his job. And it seems to be working. John Brown is back to being a deep threat, Michael Crabtree is still a target hog, and despite not having a standout tight end, all three of his are productive, especially rookie Mark Andrews. And don’t forget Buck Allen. Like him or not, he’s an underrated pass-catching back that is often targeted by the 14% owned Flacco.
The Dark Horse: Case Keenum (DEN) vs Kansas City Chiefs
Case Keenum so far has not been very good or consistent despite his team having two wins. Keenum started the season hot (26 fantasy points), then was lackluster in Week 2 (13.5 fantasy points), and last week was just plain awful (three fantasy points). Look for Keenum, who is only 27% owned, to bounce back. He’s against Patty Mahomes and one of the most generous defenses in the league. The Chiefs have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks after three weeks, and it isn’t even close. Even though Keenum has yet to discover his throwing mojo, this could be the week. He has veteran receivers in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, an emerging tight end in Jake Butt, and a couple of exciting rookies in Royce Freeman, Phillip Lindsay, and Courtland Sutton. The talent is there so don’t be surprised if the most prolific college quarterback in history can help you win your week.
The tight end position has been a lot more challenging to find an adequate stream of the week. If you went ultra-contrarian last week and started Dallas Goedert, then good for you. Considering he is only 2% owned, you didn’t. Don’t expect the same results this week. He’s against one of the best defenses in 2018 so far, the Tennessee Titans — a team that is atop the AFC South Division despite only scoring 49 points. Our picks, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Austin Hooper had quiet Sundays and Jesse James has yet to play.
Tight End Stream of the Week: Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs Atlanta Falcons
Tyler Eifert finally looked like himself. He’s (relatively) healthy and was productive. The only thing missing from his game in Week 3 was a TD. In the end, he had eight targets, six receptions and tallied 74 yards. He had more receiving yards this past week than he did in the first two weeks combined. He finished ranked as tight end number five for the week. All he is missing are touchdowns, something he is normally good at getting when healthy and on the field. A.J. Green left the game in the third quarter with a groin injury. If Green is out or playing hurt, Eifert should be busy again. It seems that Eifert is just starting to get going and finding his groove with Andy Dalton. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field. When he is, he’s one of the most prolific tight ends out there. He is still only 50% owned in Yahoo leagues but because of his recent play, he will be a favorite waiver wire add. Get him now.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (JAC) vs New York Jets
Can you say revenge game? ASJ has been on the precipice of breaking out in 2018. He seems to have a three-reception floor with a six-reception and touchdown upside. It is hard to figure out a tight end on a team that beat up on the best dynasty one week (Patriots), then disappears against a team whose starting quarterback is playing backup (Titans). We know that ASJ is athletic and can be a target monster but much of that depends on Blake Bortles, who has been inconsistent so far. The Jets have a mid-tier defense but seem like a good team to target since they are still trying to pick up the pieces after their loss to the Browns. Their coach, Todd Bowles, now finds his future on the line and Sam Darnold looks like the youngest rookie to play the game. I think the game will be a lot higher scoring than the game the Jaguars had with the Titans as both teams look to try to get out of their respective funk. ASJ, who is only 32% owned, could be one of the beneficiaries that finds himself having an attractive box score. Plus if I keep advocating him, he will eventually produce (I hope).
Ben Watson (NO) vs New York Giants
Although it has been slow, Ben Watson is emerging as Drew Brees’ number three favorite target. The 37-year old has garnered one more target more than he did each previous week. In Week 3, Watson had six targets and managed to haul in five receptions for 71 yards — good enough for a top 10 finish amongst tight ends. If he can get seven targets this week and throw in a touchdown for good measure then we are looking at elite tight end numbers. The New York Giants have been playing well on defense and are coming off of a victory. However, they played Jacksonville in Week 1 against ASJ, who was playing his first game with Blake Bortles. In Week 2, they played against Dallas with a committee of tight end no-names. This past week they defeated Houston, who also does not have a tight end of consequence. Watson will be their toughest challenge to date, on a team that has so many receivers to cover. Don’t be surprised if this old man, who is only 44% owned, has his second consecutive memorable week.
The Dark Horse: Jake Butt (DEN) vs Kansas City Chiefs
Is it time for the Butt Army to finally show his true colors? I think it might be. Butt is only 5% owned and is thus a true dark horse. He’s played against some average to stingy defenses so far and now he finds himself lining up against a soft group in the Chiefs. Two weeks ago he saw six targets and got 48 yards on four receptions. He hasn’t done much more than that but neither did Dallas Goedert who went off in Week 3. Butt is a favorite among the Denver fans and it would be exciting for him to finally give them payback for their undying loyalty. The former fifth-rounder, who is essentially a rookie after missing 2017 due to injury, could be the guy that finally has a big game in a contest that should be high scoring.