Streaming. If you play fantasy sports, you’ve probably occasionally heard the term thrown around. Fantasywired.com provides a great definition: “In short, streaming is the strategy of plucking a player at a specific position (usually QB, DEF, K, or TE) off the waiver wire ahead of a favorable matchup the following week.” Many people criticize the strategy claiming it uses hindsight to validate it, but I’ve been a successful streamer in several leagues at several positions over the last 20-ish years of playing fantasy football. Each week I will provide you with a few options at Quarterback, Tight End and Defense, with my top pick at each position. I can assure you I’ll be using these picks myself on at least one of my nearly 30 fantasy teams.
If you’d like to see my methodology or the player pool I’ll be choosing from, I covered both extensively in the week 1 installment. You can find the detailed breakdown here.
WEEK 9 STREAMER OPTIONS
Alex Smith, Washington Redskins
Not the sexiest name for fantasy, but he’s in a good spot this weekend. A home favorite against a Falcons team that is typically bad on the road and is also decimated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons are allowing an NFL third-worst 306 passing yards per game and have given up the 5th most passing touchdowns. That’s good enough for an average of 24.9 fantasy points per game thus far.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield would have been my first choice this weekend, but with the firing of both the Browns’ head coach and offensive coordinator, it’s hard to feel confident not knowing what the Browns will be doing. The Chiefs will score, that’s what they do, and if the Browns have any hopes of staying in this game, they’re going to need to put up some points themselves. Most of that (hopefully) will come from Mayfield and the passing game.
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers are awful at defending opposing tight ends. Other teams know this and target them heavily when facing Pittsburgh (except for Cleveland last week, and we saw how that worked out for them). Even with the Return of Hayden Hurst last week, Andrews saw a season-high four receptions and five targets, and I look for that to continue in this contest.
Luke Willson, Detroit Lions
Let everyone else target Michael Roberts after his two-touchdown performance last week, Willson is still out snapping him at a 2-to-1 ratio over the previous two weeks. The Vikings will be focused on stopping Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, and have allowed a stat line of 39/504/3 to opposing tight ends this year, more than 13 fantasy points per game.
New York Jets
In the game with the third-lowest point total of the week, give me the team facing Brock Osweiler. Ole Brock is due to come back to earth at some point and as we’ve seen in the past can implode at any moment. Turnovers are good for fantasy defenses, and there is a chance the Jets defense can force several of them.
Why look elsewhere when we can keep it in the same, low-scoring game. Sam Darnold was turnover prone in college and thus far into his early pro career, things haven’t changed much. The Jets are only projected to score 21 points this week, the worst in the NFL outside of the usually offensively terrible Bills and Titans.
At least someone got fired as a result, but Baker Mayfield was obviously underwhelming last week against the Steelers. He was a QB19 last week, with 14.1 points via two touchdowns and an interception to go along with 180 passing yards. So, it wasn’t terrible, but it coulda/woulda/shoulda been better. Case Keenum was my backup plan, and he was a hair better, finishing as QB18 last week with 15.4 points. (Streaming Quarterback ranking on the season: QB 11, 148 points)
C.J. Uzomah was awful, scoring you nothing. On the plus side, it was a weird week at the position, with others in top matchups on paper (like David Njoku) scoring zeros, and players like Jordan Thomas and Ed Dickson cracking the top-10. Jeff Heuerman would have gotten you 7.4 points as my second choice on the back of a one-catch, one-touchdown performance, good enough for TE20 last week. (Streaming Tight End ranking on the season: TE 17, 52 points)
Nothing special here, but a nice, solid performance from the Chiefs, tallying eight fantasy points. The Chiefs got five sacks to go along with a single interception and a single fumble recovery. The 49ers defense fared slightly better as my back up plan, with 9 points. (Streaming Defense ranking on the season: Dst 1, 92 points)