Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 1 QB Streamers (2022)
The 2022 NFL regular season kicks off in a few days. While some leagues are still drafting, many are preparing for Week 1. Since the beginning of fantasy football, streaming quarterbacks has been a popular draft strategy.
Instead of investing an early draft pick to secure Josh Allen or Justin Herbert, fantasy players wait until the final rounds to grab their quarterback. Every week they switch out their quarterback for a new one on the waiver wire. This strategy is designed to take advantage of good matchups each week instead of being forced to play the guy you spent an early draft pick to acquire. So, let’s look at the top streaming options for Week 1.
All the quarterbacks in this article are rostered in under 50% of ESPN 1QB leagues and under 25% in superflex leagues.
Streaming Targets in 1QB Leagues
Justin Fields (CHI) vs. San Francisco 49ers (45.2% Rostered)
Last year Justin Fields was the QB31, averaging only 10.6 fantasy points per game. While his rookie season wasn’t ideal, Fields played better as the year progressed. He averaged 16.4 fantasy points per game over his final five starts, scoring 16.9 or more in four contests. Furthermore, his touchdown production improved. After throwing only two touchdowns in his first seven games, Fields had five over the final five contests.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have a talented defense. However, they struggled against running quarterbacks last season, giving up the eighth-most rushing yards to the position. Fields had at least 35 rushing yards in six of his final seven games as a rookie. The Bears will likely be in negative game script for most of the second half, so expect Fields to have at least 50 rushing yards and 17 fantasy points in this matchup.
Jameis Winston (NO) vs. Atlanta Falcons (30.5% Rostered)
In his first year as the Saints starter, Jamies Winston was productive. He threw 14 touchdowns and had only three interceptions in seven games despite a lack of weapons around him. Furthermore, Winston scored 25 or more fantasy points in two of those games, including Week 1 against a talented Green Bay defense. While he is coming off a torn ACL, Winston should be 100% ready for this game.
More importantly, the Falcons gave up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and the third-most passing touchdowns last year. While they added Casey Hayward in the offseason, the Atlanta defense remains one of the worst in the NFL. With Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry and Alvin Kamara at his disposal, Winston has top-five upside in Week 1.
Streaming Targets in Superflex Leagues
Matt Ryan (IND) vs. Houston Texans (22.6% Rostered)
The former Atlanta starter lacks the rushing upside to finish the year as a top-five quarterback. However, fantasy players should expect to see Matt Ryan’s name on streaming articles all season long. Last year Ryan was the QB19, averaging only 13.1 fantasy points per game. However, he averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game in the five games Calvin Ridley played. Over a 17-game pace, Ryan would have been the QB12 last season with that average. More importantly, his Week 1 matchup is intriguing.
Last year the Texans gave up an average of 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They also surrendered 17 or more fantasy points in 58.8% of their games and 27 passing touchdowns last year, the 13th-most in the NFL. While they used their top draft pick on Derek Stingley Jr., he has barely played the past few years because of injuries. Furthermore, the Houston defense is one of the league’s younger and less talented units. Michael Pittman will have a big performance against the Texans, making Ryan an appealing streaming option.
Baker Mayfield (CAR) vs. Cleveland Browns (13.3% Rostered)
Baker Mayfield had a very quiet offseason, wouldn’t you agree? All jokes aside, the former Browns quarterback gets to take on his former team in Week 1. Last year he wasn’t pretty awful, averaging only 12.9 fantasy points per game. However, Mayfield dealt with injuries all season long, including a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that required offseason surgery. Yet, he was very productive in 2020.
That year Mayfield averaged 15.5 fantasy points per game, finishing the year as the QB18. He threw 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions, a career low. Meanwhile, the Panthers have an excellent duo of weapons with Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore. When they have been healthy, they have been two of the better players in the NFL. More importantly, the Browns gave up the ninth-most passing touchdowns last season with 29. Mayfield hasn’t been shy regarding his feelings about this game. He very well could have his best performance of the season on Sunday afternoon.
Streamer to Avoid
Mac Jones (NE) vs. Miami Dolphins (16.4% Rostered)
Typically streaming articles tell you which players to target off the waiver wire. However, I will give one quarterback each week that you should avoid.
Mac Jones had the best fantasy season of any rookie quarterback last year, as he was the QB18, averaging 13.2 fantasy points per game. All the other rookie quarterbacks from last year finished outside the top 22 by comparison. Meanwhile, the Patriots added DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton in the offseason, giving Jones two new weapons. However, Thornton will miss this game after suffering a collarbone injury in the preseason. More importantly, the matchup for Jones this week is awful.
Miami has an elite defense. Last year they gave up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, surrendering only 14.2 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, they held quarterbacks to only 1.4 passing touchdowns per game, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. Instead of being satisfied with their success from last year, the Dolphins added several players this offseason, including Melvin Ingram and Trey Flowers. They also used a third-round pick on linebacker Channing Tindall. Given how poor the New England passing attack looked in the preseason, Jones likely finishes outside the top-24 quarterbacks this week.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.