After a lackluster performance by the streaming suggestions you found here for Week 6 things turned right back around with a number of successful plays in Week 7. Let’s review:
At quarterback, Alex Smith was a serviceable with 214 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, he’s doing very little rushing this season, which is dropping an already limited ceiling. However, Smith remains an option yet again this week traveling to face the Indianapolis Colts and their 29th ranked pass defense per Football Outsiders DVOA. Also suggested was Cody Kessler, who was 9 of 11 for 82 yards prior to being knocked out of the game with a concussion that he suffered in the first quarter.
Despite the lame narrative of Kirk Cousins being bad on the road, Washington had a cake matchup indoors against the hapless Detroit Lions. That opened the door for a number of streaming opportunities: Jamison Crowder (9 targets, 7 receptions, 108 yards), Pierre Garcon (5 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards), and Chris Thompson (19 touches, 113 combined yards).
Without Carlos Hyde (shoulder), San Francisco couldn’t do much on the ground with their running backs against Tampa Bay’s mid-tier run defense. However, both of the streaming suggestions scored. Mike Davis found the end zone early to extend the Buccaneers streak of rushing touchdowns allowed to five games. Shaun Draughn scored on a reception while leading the team in receiving, albeit with just five receptions for 37 yards.
Finally, Cameron Brate‘s (3 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards) issues with run blocking is now costing him playing time and left him unable to produce in a juicy matchup against the Niners. Thankfully, the other streamer option went off. Jack Doyle took full advantage of the Colts limited receiving options to catch nine passes of 10 targets for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Despite six teams being on a bye week there aren’t many holes to fill at quarterback. However, a number of favorable matchups put some nice options on the menu for owners streaming QBs. In addition to the aforementioned Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brock Osweiler are worthy of consideration.
Enough talk about “angry” Tom Brady. Now we have angry Fitzpatrick, who had this to say: “The biggest thing in this game is to have belief in yourself. Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.” That sounds like a guy ready to shred the Cleveland Browns, owners of the 30th ranked pass DVOA. Every quarterback that has faced the Browns thus far has left the field with mulitple touchdowns, including three scores in four of the last five.
To this point, Brock Osweiler has been terrible against the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos. All three teams are well coached on defense and were played on the road. It’s hard to blame most quarterbacks for struggling in those matchups. This week, Osweiler returns home to face the Lions and their league worst DVOA against the pass. If you include the rushing touchdown by Cousins last week, every quarterback that has faced Detroit has scored multiple touchdowns. Through seven games they’ve only managed three interceptions while yielding an astounding 117.3 passer rating against; that’s even worse than last year’s New Orleans Saints.
Jameis Winston is going to be heavily owned in cash games, but for just $300 more Carson Palmer will still let you play most of your core plays while gaining a slightly contrarian twist in tournaments. Last week against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense, Palmer completed 29 of 49 passes for a season-high 342 yards. He didn’t score a touchdown, but wasn’t intercepted either. This week he’ll face the Carolina Panthers on the road, a defense that will funneling action into their porous secondary. The run defense is currently sixth in DVOA while pass defense sits down at 27th. Prior to the bye last week, Drew Brees went off for 465 yards and four touchdowns against the Panthers. Back in Week 4, Matt Ryan recorded 503 yards and four touchdowns.
Don’t look now but Cordarrelle Patterson was recorded six or more targets in three consecutive games and scored a touchdown in each of the last two. Unfortunately, he’s also in the concussion protocol. If he can’t go, the streaming preference shifts to Adam Thielen. Minnesota will be on the road to face the Chicago Bears, 18th in DVOA against the pass. The aerial attack could prove to be a big part of the Vikings game plan with Jerick McKinnon (ankle) currently in a walking boot.
He’s a clear third in the pecking order for targets behind Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, but Jermaine Kearse is as good a desperation streamer as you can find this week. Seattle faces the Saints in the Superdome, a paradise for fantasy points. Kearse is an extremely volatile deep threat that can pop off in these types of games. To highlight how anything is possible against New Orleans, they’ve given up 100-yard receiving games to guys like Sterling Shepard and Dontrelle Inman this year.
The Lions expect to have Theo Riddick (ankle) and Eric Ebron (ankle, knee) back this week to face the Houston Texans. That puts a halt on the Golden Tate revival, right? Not so fast. Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has been talking Tate up all year and recently stated that he’ll remain a focal point of the offense going forward. Despite Riddick and Ebron missing the last two weeks, Marvin Jones was only targeted six and five times, respectively. On the flip side, Tate was targeted 10 and 12 times. While it’s fair to assume that Tate’s usage drops with the returning players, it’s also a great contrarian opportunity. Bank on the red hot Tate having turned his season around and remaining a big factor.
OK, let’s give this Mike Gillislee thing another try. All signs pointed toward LeSean McCoy (hamstring) being rested last week against the Miami Dolphins for a key showdown with the New England Patriots in Week 8. However, Buffalo made the mind-numbing decision to have a clearly compromised McCoy play and aggravate the injury to the surprise of absolutely no one. In retrospect, this is the team that had Sammy Watkins play the first two games of the season with a broken foot that was not healing properly. In any event, Gillislee could be asked to the shoulder a heavy load for a very depleted offense.
Reoccurring fumbling issues got Matt Jones benched last week. Now a knee injury could put his trip to London to face the Cincinnati Bengals in jeporary. In his absence would be Chris Thompson, who excelled with his extended opportunity last week. I had Thompson as a legitimate streamer for that one even with Jones as the assumed starter. There’s no reason to switch things up here against a Bengals defense that has fallen off the face of the Earth.
If you didn’t sell high on C.J. Anderson back in Week 1, shame on you. Now in the wake of Anderson’s knee surgery, everyone is playing Devontae Booker in DFS this week and Spencer Ware makes for an outstanding cash play. That opens the door for a number of high-priced contrarian running backs. Christine Michael has a great matchup and David Johnson is seemingly matchup proof. Ezekiel Elliott has exceeded 130 rushing yards in four straight games, but faces a Philadelphia Eagles defense that has only allowed a single 100-yard rusher thus far. Another pricey option in a seemingly bad matchup is Devonta Freeman. The opposing Green Bay Packers have great numbers against the run, but in fairness haven’t faced much competition. The exception was Elliot, who carried the ball 28 times for 157 yards against them in Week 6. All signs point to Tevin Coleman (hamstring) sitting out and leaving his 11-plus touches up for grabs. Most, if not all, of those additional chances will be placed on Freeman’s plate in the week’s most explosive game in terms of excepted points scored according to the online sports books.
It’s been a down year for the tight end position as a whole, but those streaming the position haven’t noticed. The weekly special for Week 8 is C.J. Fiedorowicz of the Texans. Over the last three weeks he’s averaged 7.3 targets, 5.0 receptions, 60.3 yards per game and scored his second touchdown of the season. The Lions, meanwhile, have allowed seven touchdown receptions to opposing tight ends in as many games. Vernon Davis was not one of them, but he caught all six of his targets for 79 yards last week in a vintage performance a week ago.
The DFS price tags on Fiedorowicz and Gary Barnidge make either guy a very appealing cash game option. The move in tournaments, like most weeks, will be paying up at tight end. Jimmy Graham will carry a fair amount of ownership while Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen make for more contrarian options.