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Top Early-Season Streaming Quarterbacks to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)

May 16, 2022

Each year, fantasy managers study the stats and make sense of data for months in preparation for their drafts in August. One of the hardest things to predict with any real accuracy is how similar a team will be to the team they were the season before. No team stays the same from one year to the next. They draft players, they sign free agents and they change coaches. All that aside, I will try to use last season’s defensive numbers against quarterbacks to try to help make sense of things.


Top Early-Season Streaming QBs

For this article, I’ll be looking at streaming QB options to start the season out with if you don’t get a stud in your draft. These are all QBs being ranked as QB18 or worse in the current Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR) here on FantasyPros. They are sorted from what I think is the hardest to the easiest first four games. These QBs are less likely to get drafted in your 1QB leagues, making them prime streaming candidates for your later-round picks.

Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ) 

  • ECR: 23
  • First Four Games (2021 defensive rank against QB in fantasy): BAL (5), CLE (24), CIN (19), PIT (20)

Wilson starts the list of top early-season streaming QB options with his first four games against the entire AFC North. This might seem pretty tough on paper, especially with the Ravens and Bengals looking very different on defense from last year.

That being said, I really like what the Jets did in the draft by selecting Garrett Wilson (WR – NYJ) and Breece Hall (RB – NYJ) in the first two rounds. The defenses will be challenging, but Wilson finally has some solid offensive weapons to go along with Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ). He should come out of the gate hot with a chip on his shoulder, making him a good streaming option if you’re scrambling later in your draft.

Jameis Winston (QB – NO) 

  • ECR: 24
  • First Four Games: ATL (2), TB (15), CAR (23), MIN(6)

Winston makes my list of early-season streaming QBs because I think he’ll be throwing early and often to start the season. He doesn’t want to get benched again and is returning from an injury, so I think he’ll have something to prove, much like Wilson.

Also, like the Jets, the Saints added a Buckeye receiver to their team in the draft in Chris Olave (WR – NO). Add that to a returning Michael Thomas (WR – NO) and stud running back Alvin Kamara (RB – NO), and New Orleans could be a sleeper candidate for most points in the first part of the year. Being ranked 24th feels low to me, so I wouldn’t mind streaming him to start and seeing how things play out from there.

Mac Jones (QB – NE)

  • ECR: 22
  • First Four Games: MIA (27), PIT (21), BAL (5), GB (11)

Unlike Winston, Jones starts the season against two more formidable opponents, but then the schedule gets easier. I’m not sure I trust Jones against Miami, but the Patriots did address a few of their issues on the offensive side of the ball this offseason.

They ran the ball a lot last year, but with speedster Tyquan Thornton (WR – NE) joining the team, perhaps Jones can lean on him as a new target downfield. The backfield is a mess, but I think Jones should be an acceptable candidate as a QB2 or streaming option most weeks in a pinch. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either.

Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC) 

  • ECR: 19
  • First Four Games: WAS (1), IND (12), LAC (16), PHI (18)

Lawrence and the new-look Jaguars get the easiest matchup for fantasy points allowed to the QB in 2021 when they face the Washington Commanders. Again, this isn’t to say that the Commanders will be the easiest again, but it’s something to look at. Lawrence has a slew of new faces around him, from free-agent signing Christian Kirk (WR – JAC) to returning from injury Travis Etienne (RB – JAC) to new head coach Doug Pederson.

All of this change can only help the second-year signal-caller as he tries to live up to the hype he got prior to last year. With the lighter schedule to start 2022, Lawrence is a terrific QB streamer to start the year.

Matt Ryan (QB – IND) 

  • ECR: 20
  • First Four Games: HOU (10), JAC (8), KC (3), TEN (9)

Last, and certainly not least, is my favorite early-season streaming QB: Matt Ryan. Ryan played well but not great with a decimated Falcons team last year. Now he’s with Indianapolis and looking at a whole new world around him. Stud RB Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND) should keep defenses honest and make it easier for Ryan to throw.

When he passes, it’ll go to Michael Pittman (WR – IND) and rookie Alec Pierce (WR – IND) among others, who should be able to get open down the field. With his ECR of 20, he could also be available in your draft’s last couple of rounds, making him the perfect option to stream out of the gate, given his lighter schedule. He might be on a new team, but he’s still a solid QB with lots left in the tank.

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Andrew Hall is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his profile and follow him @AndrewHallFF.

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