Quarterback & Tight End Streamers: Week 8 (Fantasy Football)
Apart from the Monday night contest between the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants, Week 7 is done and dusted. It was another thrilling ride that kept the overtime streak alive as the Cleveland Browns lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Chandler Catanzaro kicking an epic 59-yard winner. Did you know that there have been 10 games that have been decided in extra time in 2018 already? So far at least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first seven weeks, which is the first time that’s happened in NFL history. And four out of the 10 involve the Browns.
Speaking of the Browns, my quarterback streaming recommendations were the best they’ve been to date. My stream of the week, Baker Mayfield was a low-end QB1. My other two options fared even better. Mitchell Trubisky earned the second most quarterback fantasy points, while Joe Flacco placed seventh. All three did well in fantasy but all three lost. My tight end streamers were not so fortuitous. My streamer of the week, C.J. Uzomah salvaged his day by scoring a touchdown but only had two targets and two receptions on a day his team was behind from the get-go. Ricky Seals-Jones was ineffective before leaving his game injured and Austin Hooper has yet to play. Like in past years, trying to figure out the tight end position outside of Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce has truly been a dumpster fire.
However, I don’t have time to bask in the warm glow of quarterback recommendations nor do I have time to dwell in the frozen bottomless pit of tight end purgatory. Now that Week 7 is finito, it is time to look ahead to Week 8. All three quarterback recommendations (Mayfield, Trubisky, Flacco) are now over 40% owned in Yahoo. Therefore, they are too popular to stream. Two out of my three tight end picks last week (Uzomah and Hooper) are also untouchable. Only RSJ is still worthy of living the stream, but he’s hurt and for the most part wildly inconsistent. The pool is getting so shallow, it is getting downright muddy. There’s no way we escape Week 8 clean. Bring some soap and grab a towel. Close your eyes and hope for the best. It’s okay if you feel dirty plugging any of these gentlemen into your lineups. Just do us all a favor and wash up afterward.
Here are my streaming recommendations at both the quarterback and tight end positions as we reach closer to the mid-point of the 2018 NFL season.
Quarterback Streamer of the Week: Derek Carr (OAK) vs Indianapolis Colts
You know that if Derek Carr is my streamer of the week, then this is not a good week to stream at the quarterback position. Last week I had Baker and Biscuit. Now I have Carr. Oakland is sitting in the cellar of the AFC West having only one win to date. Their Week 7 bye could not have come sooner. They are a team in disarray and seem to be heading in the wrong direction. However, a week off can only help, right? Of course, Amari Cooper has been shipped out and Marshawn Lynch is on IR. After seven weeks of games, Carr is currently the 32nd best quarterback in fantasy based on average points per game. Yuck. Next to Marcus Mariota and a few rookies, Carr is the worst. So far I am not making a good argument as to why you should choose him this week, but bear with me. If you ignore the Colts dominance last week in which they dismantled the Buffalo Bills, their defense has been generous. As bad as Carr has been, he’s definitely an upgrade over Derek Anderson. If you eliminate their “home” game which was played in London, the Raiders are actually 1-1 at home. Their only loss was against the best team in football, the LA Rams, and their win was (you guessed it) in overtime versus (good guess again) the Browns. This game should be on the side of “higher scoring” and one thing we like when streaming quarterbacks is higher scoring. And now with the Amari drama squelched Oakland might just go and play some football. I warned you this would get dirty.
Sam Darnold (NYJ) vs Chicago Bears
Although Sam Darnold has not been lighting it up on a team that cuts a wide receiver (Terrelle Pryor) after catching a touchdown in back-to-back weeks and is coming off of a three-interception game against the Vikings, Darnold faces a defense that is in a funk of their own. The Bears gave up an average of 16.25 points in their first four weeks including Green Bay and Tampa Bay. However, in the past two contests, they have allowed an average of 34.5 points including the Brock Osweiler led Miami Dolphins. Kalil Mack is banged up and Chicago’s overall dominance has disappeared. This is the perfect time to grab Darnold before the Bears regain their early-season form. You need not worry who he will throw to just as long as he plays as he did against Denver and Indianapolis – the two games before his embarrassing show last week against Minnesota. Don’t expect him to “go off,” but grab him off the waiver wire with the expectation that he will be semi-effective during this streaming week of dread.
The Dark Horse: C.J. Beathard (SF) vs Arizona Cardinals
The ugliness at streaming quarterback ensues. While Beathard looked capable in the Green Bay game, he resembled the 2017 quarterback we all know too well in Week 7 against the LA Rams. He threw for less than 200 yards, had two picks and managed to fumble the ball twice. Not exactly the kind of quarterback you want starting on your fantasy roster. That being said, he is against a far worse defense or at least against a tired defense that is always on the field due to the ineptitude of their offense. The Cardinals finally fired Mike McCoy, but don’t believe that David Johnson will all of a sudden turn back into a top-four running back in just a week. Beathard has the weapons to throw no matter how close or far. Short and steady passes to Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, and Kyle Juszczyk; intermediate throws to revelation George Kittle, Pierre Garcon, and Trent Taylor; longer tosses to an almost healthy Marquise Goodwin. Prior to Week 7, Beathard threw two touchdowns per game, which included a victory over the hopeless Arizona team in which he was a fringe fantasy QB1. At this time of the year, beggars can’t be choosers so if you are stuck with Beathard, you could do worse. There’s a reason why he’s my dark horse quarterback streamer after all.
Tight End Streamer of the Week: Vance McDonald (PIT) vs Cleveland Browns
Due to the Week 7 bye week, many dumped Vance McDonald. This will be the last week he will be streamable since he is 39% owned in Yahoo as I write this. McDonald has been one of the best tight ends this season. On average he is a low-end TE1. I never thought I would say this but out of all of the streamers this week, I have the most confidence in a tight end, a position that has reeked all season. Pittsburgh is at home which is always good for Big Ben which means it is good for Big Ben’s receivers. If McDonald can dominate the tight end targets from Jesse James, who is clearly less talented, then look for this to be one of the best pickups for the week and possibly the rest of season. The reason why I am insisting that you grab McDonald for now and later is because it is now time to start thinking about the playoffs. From weeks 14 to 16 he faces Oakland, New England, and New Orleans. He also faces a Browns team that gave up eight receptions and 90 yards to Buccaneer tight ends in Week 7. McDonald is resembling a discounted George Kittle who resembles a discounted Travis Kelce. Sounds pretty good to me.
Ben Watson (NO) vs Minnesota Vikings
I have been touting Watson all season as he improved week by week since reuniting with Drew Brees. Last week he had six receptions which were his high-water mark. Best of all, Watson got the end zone monkey off his back, scoring for the Saints. He’s old and he’s injury prone but when he’s on the field, he’s as steady as they come. And like Week 7, his dependability comes with some upside. He isn’t flashy like Jordan Reed or Evan Engram but is averaging the same fantasy points per game as the more highly-touted duo. Not bad considering he is only 40% owned, whereas Reed is 91% owned and Engram 86% owned. Since he is coming off of a stellar game of double-digit fantasy points, now’s the time to get him. He will be too popular to stream next week.
The Dark Horse: Ed Dickson (SEA) vs Detroit Lions
This is the darkest horse yet since I am advocating a player who hasn’t even seen the field in 2018. Ed Dickson has been on the PUP list even though it has been argued that it was not necessarily injury-related. Seattle is desperate to fill the void left by Jimmy Graham last year. Will Dissly was a pleasant surprise while he lasted but fell victim to the injury bug and now is on the IR. Preseason sleeper Nick Vannett has not done much and most of us are starting to believe that perhaps he isn’t all that good a football. Dickson has proven to be a worthwhile catch as recent as last year when he had 30 receptions for 437 yards. The best thing is no one is talking about it. You will be able to pick him up everywhere since he is 0% owned. He is a gamble this week since he is just coming back, but if you are a high-risk high-reward kind of fantasy player, he might be just the guy you are looking for in Week 8.