Strategy Guide to Streaming Quarterbacks (2021 Fantasy Football)
So, you want to stream quarterbacks? Then you’ve come to the right place. As NFL offenses become more pass-heavy, more quarterbacks are becoming viable starters in 1 QB leagues. Just take a look at how many quarterbacks averaged 18 fantasy points per game in 2020, compared to the five seasons prior.
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Quarterbacks to Average at least 18 Fantasy Points Per Game
*Excludes Marcus Mariota, who played just one game.
The point is, quarterback is deeper than ever, so there isn't nearly as much urgency to land an elite or very good passer on draft day.
Streaming at quarterback requires more strategy than just waiting to address the position in your draft. You need to have foresight and think a week or two ahead when making waiver claims. You need to know which matchups are the juiciest. And you need to adapt because things never go exactly as planned.
I've taken a look ahead and have mapped out a streaming strategy for the 2021 season. To help with this, I'm utilizing our awesome Quarterback By Committee (QBBC) Finder to identify the best matchups. For the sake of this article, I'm considering only QBs with a current ADP later than QB15.
Best Streaming Option: Trevor Lawrence at Houston
Does it get much bolder than starting your fantasy season with the No. 1 overall pick in his first career start on the road? Probably not. But Lawrence is probably the highest upside option available. The Texans should have an awful defense this season. Last season, they surrendered 30 passing touchdowns and picked off only three passes. They allowed an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. It wouldn't stun me if Lawrence put up a big day in his debut.
Alternate options: Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance at Detroit, Carson Wentz vs. Seattle, Sam Darnold vs. New York Jets
Garoppolo or Lance will face a Detroit defense that gave up 23.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Wentz is a viable option against a lousy Seattle secondary. And Darnold in a revenge game against a terrible secondary isn't a bad Plan D.
Best Streaming Option: Baker Mayfield vs. Houston
Are you sensing a theme early here? If I'm streaming QBs this season, I'll be looking to target whoever's playing Houston, as they could be historically bad on the back end this year. Mayfield took big strides last season and proved he can be a great starting option with the right matchup.
Alternate options: Cam Newton/Mac Jones at New York Jets, Jameis Winston at Carolina, Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater at Jacksonville.
We don't know who's officially starting for any of these teams right now, but whoever starts will have an enticing matchup.
Best Streaming Option: Tua Tagovailoa at Las Vegas
The Raiders were shredded by opposing quarterbacks last season, allowing 4,337 passing yards and 20 fantasy points per game. I'm not giving up on Tua after his rookie season. He'll have a great opportunity against this woeful defense.
Alternate options: Sam Darnold at Houston, Carson Wentz at Tennessee, Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater vs. New York Jets
The Titans just traded for Julio Jones, which is kind of an admission that they need to outscore teams to compete this season. Tennessee gave up 4,587 passing yards and 36 touchdowns last year.
Best Streaming Option: Ryan Fitzpatrick at Atlanta
It's not a streaming article until FitzMagic is mentioned. Assuming Fitzpatrick hasn't lost the starting job by Week 4 (certainly possible with his volatile style of play), he'll get a great matchup against a rebuilding Falcons secondary that gave up nearly 5,000 passing yards and 23.3 fantasy points per game.
Alternate option: Garoppolo/Lance vs. Seattle
Best Streaming Option: Kirk Cousins vs. Detroit
Streaming Cousins is always a flirtation with disaster. But he threw for 625 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions against Detroit last season. And the Lions secondary is very much a work in progress.
Alternate options: Lawrence vs. Tennessee, Newton/Jones at Houston, Andy Dalton/Justin Fields at Las Vegas
Best Streaming Option: Carson Wentz vs. Houston
Wentz is a huge bounceback candidate for me after a disastrous season in Philadelphia. He reunites with Frank Reich, the coach who got the most out of him in Philly. And he'll have actual protection and real weapons. If Wentz can restore his confidence, I think he could post an impressive season. At the very least, he's a top streamer against the woeful Texans.
Alternate options: Tagovailoa vs. Jacksonville, Lock/Bridgewater vs. Las Vegas
Best Streaming Option: Tagovailoa vs. Atlanta
This is a tricky week for streaming, so I'm banking on Tagovailoa showing positive signs at this point of the season and tearing up a weak Falcons secondary.
Alternate options: Winston at Seattle, Newton/Jones vs. New York Jets
Best Streaming Option: Wentz vs. Tennessee
Wentz could be a great streaming option this year, as he's good enough to tear apart favorable matchups.
Alternate options: Jared Goff vs. Philadelphia, Lawrence at Seattle
Best Streaming Option: Tagovailoa vs. Houston
This is a really good week for streaming, but I'm leaning with Tua because I believe Houston will have the worst defense in football in 2021.
Alternate options: Wentz vs. New York Jets, Winston vs. Atlanta
Best Streaming Option: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Detroit
Is it weird this is the first time I've mentioned Big Ben in this article? I'm not sure how much Roethlisberger has left. But assuming he's got something left, you can trust him to tear up the lousy Lions.
Alternate options: Wentz vs. Jacksonville, Winston at Tennessee
Best Streaming Option: Mayfield vs. Detroit
Alternate options: Newton/Jones at Atlanta, Tagovailoa at New York Jets, Winston at Philadelphia, Garoppolo/Lance at Jacksonville
Best Streaming Option: Dalton/Fields at Detroit
Who will be starting for the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving? I think Bears fans hope it's Fields. Either QB could be in store for a feast in this Thanksgiving showdown.
Alternate options: Newton/Jones vs. Tennessee, Lawrence vs. Atlanta
Best Streaming Option: Wentz at Houston
Alternate options: Cousins at Detroit, Fitzpatrick at Las Vegas, Garoppolo/Lance at Seattle
Best Streaming Option: Lawrence at Tennessee
As the playoffs get underway, make sure to be proactive. It doesn't hurt to secure next week's starter ahead of time to give yourself the best chance at success. Sure, trusting a rookie in a do-or-die game for your season is risky. But so is trusting any of the alternates below. Roll with Lawrence, who could start to cement the Rookie of the Year Award with this performance.
Alternate options: Winston at New York Jets, Bridgewater/Lock vs. Detroit
Best Streaming Option: Mayfield vs. Las Vegas
Frankly, I'm more worried about what the weather will be in Cleveland than how Mayfield will perform against this Vegas secondary. If the weather's an issue, there are plenty of other streaming options available.
Alternate options: Lawrence vs. Houston, Tagovailoa vs. New York Jets, Fitzpatrick at Philadelphia, Garoppolo/Lance vs. Atlanta
Best Streaming Option: Goff at Atlanta
The streaming options aren't ideal in Week 16. Who knows what Detroit's offense will look like with three weeks to play. But Goff is plenty capable of putting up a big game against this rebuilding Falcons secondary.
Alternate options: Lawrence at New York Jets, Zach Wilson vs. Jacksonville, Dalton/Fields at Seattle, Lock/Bridgewater at Las Vegas
Best Streaming Option: Wentz vs. Houston
If your fantasy title game is Week 17, then I've got good news: there are a lot of good streaming options. I opted for Wentz because I trust him the most and think he'll have one of the most favorable matchups.
Alternate options: Garoppolo/Lance vs. Houston, Tagovailoa at Tennessee, Newton/Jones vs. Jacksonville, Winston vs. Carolina, Fitzpatrick vs. Philadelphia, Goff at Seattle
Best Streaming Option: Wentz at Jacksonville
Alternate option: Winston at Atlanta
Do yourself a favor and don't end your season on Week 18. If you do, roll with Wentz one more time.
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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.