Quarterback & Tight End Streamers: Week 12
Another crazy week in the NFL. Week 11 was a week to forget for many quarterbacks. At the start of the fourth quarter, Kirk Cousins had negative fantasy points but turned it around in a loss to the Chicago Bears. However, two of my recommendations, Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles finished the game in the hole. Mariota, to add injury to insult, left his game reaggravating his elbow. The worst quarterback of the week was Carson Wentz, who really stunk it up on the road in New Orleans. The Super Bowl Champs are not looking to repeat — they’re looking more and more like a team not ready to enjoy the postseason. The only decent streaming suggestion I made was Dak Prescott, who didn’t throw a touchdown but salvaged his day by running one in.
As for tight ends, it was my dark horse, Jonnu Smith, who was decent, even with Blaine Gabbert. My tight end streamer of the week, Jeff Heuerman was ineffective and Ricky Seals-Jones, well, to say he broke my heart again would be an understatement. With a plum matchup against the Oakland Raiders, he had only one catch for five yards. Yuck! On the whole, many fantasy teams scored fewer points. It was one of those weeks when guys that weren’t supposed to do much like Tre’Quan Smith, D.J. Moore and Gus Edwards dominated. The top tight end barely got 20 fantasy points and Antonio Gates happened to be the second-highest scorer at the position. Robert Toyan and Ed Dickson finished in the top eight and both combined for two receptions. We lost Alex Smith for the rest of the season, Marcus Mariota and Jimmy Graham perhaps for some time, and Kerryon Johnson exited his game and will be week to week. With injuries come new opportunities — perhaps some of them will be worth taking a chance on this week. Remember this is Thanksgiving week so let’s hope to give thanks to a streaming week that aims to be much more forgiving than the last!
Quarterback Streamer of the Week: Lamar Jackson (BAL) vs Oakland Raiders
If you are still streaming at this point in the season with the hope to make it into your fantasy playoffs then it is time to really go for it. In Lamar Jackson’s debut, he wasn’t exactly stellar as a passing quarterback but made up for it with his running. He still had a decent day when it was all said and done. Last week was a great matchup and this week it is just as good. The Raiders are not a good team that was lucky to beat a slightly better team in Week 11. The Baltimore Ravens are better offensively across the board and now that Jackson has got his feet wet, look for him to improve on his Week 11 performance. This game is crucial for the Ravens who still have aspirations of making the playoffs as a wildcard contender. Coach Harbaugh feels the pressure and Jackson is his ticket to the postseason as well as allowing him to hang on to his job for another season in Baltimore. Jackson has a decent floor due to his rushing ability and has a high ceiling if he can exploit the Raiders’ secondary which is pedestrian at best. Since Jackson can hurt opposing defenses in all phases and faces a team that has given up the fifth most points to quarterbacks, feel good about plugging this athletic phenom in your lineup. It’s now or never. You need to get into your postseason. As Kurt Cobain said, it is better to burn out than fade away. Sure, he could disappoint but if you decide to go safe, you might just get a Blake Bortles result from last week. Get some cajones and shoot for the stars!
Baker Mayfield (CLE) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Baker Mayfield has proven to be the ideal streaming darling. He isn’t lighting it on fire but also isn’t costing anyone games in fantasy. He’s a safe option this week against a defense that is hurting. Cincinnati has gone from possible division champs to AFC chumps. They still have a better than average offense and with A.J. Green most likely back, are the AFC version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Whenever you have a quarterback facing them, feel pretty good about starting that quarterback. The offense in Cleveland seems to be getting better every week under new OC Freddie Kitchens. Now that they have had a week to learn more of his strategies, look for the Browns to score points. There are so many weapons on this offense that can fire at any time — Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, David Njoku, Duke Johnson, and Rashard Higgins to name a few. Mayfield is getting better and better each week and has a dynamic running back in Chubb to help open up the passing game. Mayfield is the type of player that never quits and is, therefore, someone to consider starting this week against a team that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Dark Horse: Nick Mullens (SF) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nick Mullens is not Tom Brady. We now know that. But, he is better than most streaming options out there. He’s got George Kittle, who is playing out of his mind right now. Marquise Goodwin is also mixing well with Mullens. So is Pierre Garcon, Kendrick Bourne, and the 2018 surprise running back Matt Breida. Mullens also gets the luxury of not playing in primetime and finds himself against the easiest secondary to abuse. The Buccanneers have now surpassed the Atlanta Falcons as the best foe to face if you are a quarterback because they love handing over fantasy points to that position. If you are on the conservative side and don’t have the courage to stream a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, then Mullens could be your guy. San Francisco is averaging just under 30 points a game with Mullens under center and now they face the easiest competition in the league. Sometimes you don’t have to overthink it. Just play the guy no one heard of less than a month ago.
Keep your eye on Colt McCoy (WAS) vs Dallas Cowboys
I wouldn’t recommend Colt McCoy this week but it will be worth watching how he fares against the Cowboys in Week 12. Dallas has a strong defensive unit and is tough to play at home. However, is Washington’s offense this bad or were they in fact hindered by the mediocre, safe play of Alex Smith, who is now an observer for the rest of the season after he suffered a brutal season-ending injury? We’ll find out this week. McCoy has experience and has done well when called upon. Washington is still leading their division so there will be a lot of pressure on McCoy, but he could turn out to be better than many expect. If he is an improvement over Smith, then he might be in the running for this year’s end-of-season quarterback to pick up and roster.
Tight End Streamer of the Week: Jeff Heuerman (DEN) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
I believe this is the first time all season that I am advocating the same tight end for my streamer of the week two weeks in a row. It might seem illogical based on the fact that Heuerman did not have a great Week 11, only catching four passes for a measly 20 yards. However, hear me out. First off, last week he faced a stingy Chargers defense that is not very kind to tight ends. This week, he faces the Steelers who allow the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Secondly, there is a huge discrepancy between Heuerman’s usage when Denver wins and Denver loses games. In the team’s four wins, Heuerman has averaged 2.25 targets per game. When the Broncos lose, he averages six targets a game. Although Denver surprised the Chargers by beating them, don’t expect them to win against Pittsburgh, who have found their offensive mojo and have broken free from the dramatic Le’Veon Bell era. Pittsburgh is now in the conversation as being one of the top three AFC teams, along with Kansas City and New England. Losing does not bode well for the team, but it does factor in nicely with Heuerman’s individual success. Heuerman also has some flattering matchups in the playoffs so it might be a smart move to pick him up this week and hold on to him, especially in case the Broncos lose more games.
Jonnu Smith (TEN) vs Houston Texans
As Marcus Mariota was transcending, so was Jonnu Smith. So why the allure with this young and athletic tight end now that it looks as though he will be tethered to Blaine Gabbert for this week and perhaps longer? Well, despite Mariota going down during the second quarter in Week 11 against the Colts, Smith’s production did not wane. Gabbert was able to find him for half of his six receptions. In fact, it was Smith, Tajae Sharpe, and Anthony Firkser, not Corey Davis and Dion Lewis. Now, we must temper our touchdown expectations, after all, it is Blaine Gabbert we are talking about. However, Smith had eight targets, six receptions for 44 yards. Smith seems to be one of the more consistent receivers on the Titans as well as one of the more consistent tight ends to currently stream. The Texans are not the greatest matchup with regards to tight ends, however, look for Gabbert to resort to his safer options. And Smith appears to be just that.
Dark Horse: Chris Herndon (NYJ) vs New England Patriots
Chris Herndon is having a decent 2018 campaign despite playing for a team and organization that seems lost at the moment. Based on the matchup, Herndon should find a lot of success. The Patriots currently are ranked sixth when it comes to their generosity towards tight ends. New England is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Titans, who in turn, got smoked themselves only a week later. Even though Brady might want to act out his revenge on the Jets’ defense, he has no influence on his team’s defense, which is quite porous. Herndon has been New York’s best receiver for the past two games with two different quarterbacks. Therefore, it should not matter if it is Sam Darnold or Josh McCown under center because Herndon has been able to get involved with both. He also has a knack of finding the end zone which is exciting when talking about tight end streamers.
Hopefully, this Thanksgiving week provides the streaming community with more feast than famine. There’s a cornucopia of choices. It’s all about knowing which player will carve himself a hefty slice of fantasy goodness. And if he can throw an extra touchdown or garner double-digit receptions, well, that’s just the gravy on top!