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Quarterback & Tight End Streamers: Week 1 (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Marc Mathyk | @Masterjune70 | Featured Writer
Sep 8, 2021

Welcome to another NFL season! I thought I would approach the beginning of this season a little differently. Instead of my usual plan, I looked at the last three seasons to see which defenses were most generous towards quarterbacks and tight ends. I wanted to identify any trends or patterns. I only went back three years because a team’s defenses can change rather quickly. I concentrated on the ten worst defenses against both quarterbacks and tight ends from 2018-2020.

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Starting with quarterbacks, I noticed that Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas landed in the bottom-10 each season. Houston finished in the bottom-10 in the last two seasons. Although Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Seattle only finished in the bottom-10 once, it was last year, and they all got progressively worse. It’s hard to believe that Jacksonville was one of the best defenses overall only four years ago. I also noticed that Cleveland and Carolina never finished inside the bottom-10, but they all consistently finished just outside of it.

So now I have 10 teams to target for early season quarterback streaming:

Detroit Lions
Atlanta Falcons
Las Vegas Raiders
New York Jets
Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
Seattle Seahawks
Cleveland Browns
Carolina Panthers

Quarterback Streamer of the Week:

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) at Detroit Lions
I understand that Trey Lance is the fantasy football community’s darling. I understand that they want Garoppolo out and the rookie in. I am part of the very small camp that believes Jimmy Garoppolo will stick around longer this season, and his Week 1 matchup will help his case. The Lions enter the 2021 season as perhaps the worst team next to Houston. I am also part of another small camp that believes Detroit won’t be that bad. However, I am going to set up my tent with San Francisco this weekend. Let’s face it, Garoppolo isn’t fighting for his future in San Francisco. He is fighting for his future as a starter in the NFL. This is set up very nicely for him. Despite having a lukewarm preseason, I think Garoppolo will get off to a banging start and post big numbers to help solidify his case for finding a new home later this year or in the offseason. At 8% rostered, I have a feeling that he’ll win a few brave people some money this weekend.

Alternate Quarterback Streamer of the Week

Sam Darnold (CAR) vs. New York Jets
I have never been a Sam Darnold truther. Far from it. However, I have warmed up to the kid. I love his situation, and I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He has never had talent like D.J. Moore or Terrace Marshall around him before. He has the league’s best running back now. His offensive line is better. I am not sure if his coach is as good as we expected, but he is definitely a huge upgrade over Adam Gase. His confidence was shot in the Big Apple. He has new life down South on a team that traded for him because they believed in him. He has no excuses. Despite all of this, people are still ranking him as if he plays for a Gase-led Jets team. He is only 14% rostered in Yahoo Leagues. He will face a young aspiring Jets team that has a defensive-minded coach. They may surprise everyone this season, but it will take some time. It is a “revenge” game, although every person Darnold should seek revenge on is no longer with his former team. Nevertheless, his revenge will be sweet. I expect Darnold to begin the season in style. Carolina will get off to a strong start, and it will all start in Week 1.

Dark Horse Quarterback

Zach Wilson (NYJ) at Carolina Panthers
If you know me, you know that Zach Wilson is my guy. Carolina is also on my list of teams to stream a quarterback against. This game could be sloppy and full of mistakes, but it won’t be boring or defensive. Wilson was great, but he was a bit too conservative for my liking during the preseason. I hope that his leash isn’t as short in this game. Say what you will about comparisons, but if Maroon 5’s Adam Levine moves like Jagger, Wilson moves like Mahomes. I just hope his offensive line does fall apart at times so he can show the doubters that he works best off-platform. With Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, and my other bae, Elijah Moore, the Jets have a sneaky offense full of upside. Don’t be surprised if we start calling him 2021’s version of Justin Herbert sooner rather than later. He is a dark horse because he is an underrated, unappreciated rookie. At least for now. Only 18% have him rostered, but I have him everywhere.

Tight Ends

Of course, my findings weren’t as definitive at tight end. Cleveland was the only defense to find itself in the bottom-10 all three years. A few teams finished as bottom-10 units twice, but none of them did so consecutively. However, I did notice that three teams hovered around the bottom-10 area all three years, including the Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Jets. I also found that the Bears, Jaguars, and Falcons have all progressively gotten worse at defending tight ends since 2018.

So now I have seven teams to target for early season tight end streaming:

Cleveland Browns
Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Jets
Chicago Bears
Jacksonville Jaguars
Atlanta Falcons

Tight End Streamer of the Week

Blake Jarwin (DAL) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I think that Jarwin has been one of the most disrespected tight ends this offseason. His ADP is low. Many forget how good he was before getting injured. Even more insane is that people have forgotten the team that he plays for. I know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a formidable defense, but they have looked vulnerable against tight ends. Fortunately, Dak Prescott looks ready for Week 1. Jarwin is only 18% rostered. He has top-10 upside, and I have a feeling that he won’t remain a streaming option for much longer. He may be the tight end you pick up this week that you never relinquish. I understand that the Cowboys are loaded with receiving talent. Many have CeeDee Lamb as a WR1 with Amari Cooper not far behind. Many also see Michael “Gallup” as a “dark horse” (pun intended). That said, it makes sense to choose Jarwin over any other riff-raff tight end because of the offense he plays in. It just makes too much sense.

Alternative Tight End Streamer of the Week

Zach Ertz (PHI) at Atlanta Falcons
I feel like I’m repeating myself in this paragraph because Zach Ertz has been another of the most disrespected tight ends this offseason. While I think Dallas Goedert is Philadelphia’s bonafide TE1, I don’t see the chasm as wide as others do. Philadelphia may have tried to trade Ertz this offseason, but they never really seemed as interested in offloading Ertz as much as we did. DeVonta Smith is the shiny new toy in this offense, and many of us are hoping for Jalen Reagor to rebound, but it’s possible that Jalen Hurts’ favorite two targets won’t be wide receivers early in the season. This is the week to test that theory. Atlanta had one of the worst defenses last year, and instead of improving it, they decided to spend their first pick on a tight end. As excited as I am about Kyle Pitts, I’m also excited for the 31% rostered Zach Ertz this week.

Dark Horse Tight End

Austin Hooper (CLE) at Kansas City Chiefs
It is only Week 1, and already I am having trouble finding a dark horse candidate. I’m not very high on Austin Hooper, to be honest. I’m not all that high on Cleveland’s passing offense, either. However, if the Browns want to recoup the ridiculous amount of money they paid Hooper, he should be their guy. If he is, he should have a great week. As good as the Chiefs are, their defense has always been suspect in the middle, allowing tight ends to benefit in the past. Second-round rookie linebacker Nick Bolton might be the answer, but I don’t see it this early in the season. Hooper could have himself a good payday if he can stave off David Njoku and Hunter Bryant — and if OBJ doesn’t rediscover his rookie form.

We’ll see how this early season strategy fares. Regardless, I love the “me-against-the-doubters” Garoppolo pick, the “me-against-the-league” Darnold pick, and the “me-against-the-world” Wilson pick. As for tight ends, I believe that Blake Jarwin is a no-brainer, Zach Ertz is still viable, and Austin Hooper is a true dark horse. Enjoy your first week as you take in all of the games!

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Marc Mathyk is a featured writer at FantasyPros and is a member of The Undroppables. For more from Marc, check out his archive and follow him @Masterjune70.

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