Last week’s streamer picks began with a trio of duds at quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick was only 16 of 34 for 228 yards and a touchdown against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Alex Smith threw a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts, but left the game twice in order to be evaluated for a concussion. Kansas City claims he didn’t sustain one, yet they will be starting Nick Foles this week against Jacksonville. In relief, Foles went off for 223 yards and a pair of touchdowns which offers up a glimpse of what could have been for Smith. Sadly, Brock Osweiler was an outright disaster in a cake matchup facing Detroit at home.
The wide receiver selections weren’t great either. Cordarrelle Patterson and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings team didn’t show up for an embarrassing Monday night defeat in Chicago. Jermaine Kearse was alright facing New Orleans. His seven targets led all Seattle players while his four catches for 57 yards were second on the team.
At running back we got a hit with Mike Gillislee, who had a RB1 week with LeSean McCoy (hamstring) sidelined. Chris Thompson was a bust, while his teammate Rob Kelley put up RB1 numbers himself. In retrospect, Kelley should have been included in the write-up as well. Hopefully highlighting the poor Cincinnati Bengals defense placed him on your radar.
Finally, the weekly special at tight end was accurately called with C.J. Fiedorowicz. He reeled in five of his seven targets for 43 yards and a touchdown to put him well inside TE1 territory. This week has a number of key tight ends on bye, so let’s keep things rolling.
Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins, and Carson Palmer are all off this week. Those owners, as well the weekly QB streamer crowd, don’t have a lot to pick from. Having said that, do whatever you can to avoid Ryan Tannehill. He’s currently outside the top 20 quarterbacks in the Player Profiler Weekly Player Rankings, and for good reason. Since putting up strong numbers in Weeks 2 and 3, Tannehill has struggled to produce double-digit fantasy points on a weekly basis. Prior to the Week 7 bye, Tannehill averaged just 209 passing yards per game and only scored two touchdowns in a span of four games. Yes, the matchup at home against the New York Jets looks awesome. However, Tannehill had one really good game against them last year and one stinker.
Not only is Colin Kaepernick the top quarterback streamer this week at home against the woeful New Orleans Saints defense, he’s also a top-10 play at his position in the Player Profiler Weekly Player Rankings. Prior to Russell Wilson failing in a similar spot to this one last week against New Orleans, the Saints had given up multiple touchdown passes to four consecutive opposing quarterbacks. In his last two games, Kaepernick has rushed for 66 and 84 yards despite completing just 46 percent of his pass attempts. Sportsbooks have this game with the second-highest total on the slate. Considering that San Francisco is likely to be trailing all day, Kaepernick will post a big number as a lower-tier quarterback and mid-tier running back rolled into one.
If Kaepernick is not available look to Sam Bradford, who has attempted 78 passes over the last two games. His offensive line is dreadful and that is leading to protection issues. The running game isn’t providing much relief either. Thankfully, this matchup at home against the Lions is just what the Vikings need to get back on track in the wake of offensive coordinator Norv Turner suddenly offering his resignation. In addition to getting Jerick McKinnon (ankle) back to take the load off Matt Asiata and his comical 3.2 yards per carry average, Bradford has two impressive pass catchers to lean on. Stefon Diggs finally looks healthy again and got back into the end zone last week. Also, the Lions can not stop tight ends, making Kyle Rudolph a prime red zone target and two touchdown candidate.
Facing the Colts, Aaron Rodgers will command a lot of ownership in DFS this week thanks to seven passing touchdowns over the last two games and barely anything resembling a running game in the Green Bay backfield. To be contrarian in tournaments, I’ll go Cam Newton on the road against the Los Angeles Rams following his worst game of the season. Drew Brees is in the same price range, but the spot against the 49ers – even on the road – won’t catch anyone off guard.
When putting this article together each week I often come across players that are underowned, but don’t quite fall into the streamer category. For someone to get the streamer tag I’m looking near the sub-30 percent ownership range on ESPN and Yahoo. This week’s public service announcement for players that should be much higher owned are for Kenny Britt (45% on both sites) and Corey Coleman (52% Y!, 44% ESPN). Britt is the No. 1 wide receiver on the Rams while Coleman is…well, you know about Coleman because you are on this site. In fact, you probably already own Coleman. Moving on!
If don’t have Britt and he’s not available in your league then you can stream Brian Quick and his league-best Production Premium and Target Premium. The opposing Carolina Panthers are fifth in Football Outsiders DVOA against the run, but 27th against the pass. Prior to last week’s bye, Quick had his best game of the season with four catches on nine targets for 92 yards.
The Philadelphia Eagles only needed two days to release Josh Huff after he was arrested for gun and drug charges. Huff’s departure opens the door for Dorial Green-Beckham (not Nelson Agholor) to become the team’s top outside receiver. Last week’s nine targets more than doubles the number of opportunities Green-Beckham saw in any game this season. Unfortunately, the snap percentages had been fluctuating in recent weeks. Now a clear path for consistent playing time is here for Green-Beckham going forward.
While I would not play Tannehill this week, Kenny Stills is among the best desperation plays at wide receiver. The Jets have allowed nine pass plays of 40-plus yards, tied for second-most in the league. In between a pair of games with eight targets a piece, Stills saw just seven total opportunities in a span of three games. If a Miami receiver is going to make a big downfield play this week, it’s very likely to be Stills. He already has deep touchdown receptions of 66 yards and 74 yards on his resume this season.
Finally, the San Diego Chargers are dealing with knee injuries to both Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. If one or both are unable to suit up against the Tennessee Titans and their 24th-ranked DVOA against the pass, Dontrelle Inman will find himself peppered with targets.
The mid-range is full of great values this week in DFS, particularly Donte Moncrief and Michael Thomas. At the very top, Antonio Brown is very affordable and it appears that Ben Roethlisberger will be making the start. You can be contrarian a lot of different ways this week at wide receiver. At the high end look for Dez Bryant against the Browns. With Ezekiel Elliott set to command a ton of ownership, Bryant is the perfect leverage play. Fade Elliott in tournaments and bank on Bryant to find the paint instead.
Prior to a hamstring injury sustained in training camp, the hype on C.J. Prosise was getting out of hand. Then he broke his hand in the season opener. Now fully healthy, Prosise returns to action and compiles over 100 yards of offense in just his third professional game. Yet the fantasy community that was drooling over Prosise in June and July is leaving him available in more than 80 percent of leagues. Aside from a big performance against the 49ers back in Week 3, Christine Michael has been lackluster in gaining yardage. This matchup against the Buffalo Bills is far from ideal, but the likelihood for double-digit touches makes Prosise more than serviceable in a streaming setting given the surprising availability.
We keep hearing about the Baltimore Ravens wanting to get Kenneth Dixon more involved, yet over the last three games he’s only seen nine touches. Coming off a bye week, perhaps now is finally the time. In their last two games, the Pittsburgh Steelers were steamrolled by Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount on the ground. Dixon is more stash than streamer, but a worthy roll of the dice if you are in a pinch.
The desperation play at running back is actually Packers fullback Aaron Ripkowski. Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, Ripkowski led the Green Bay backfield with six carries for 34 yards. James Starks (knee) is getting close to returning, but is not expected back this week against the Colts. The best case scenario for Ripkowski would be a pass interference call in the end zone which sets him up for a goal line score.
A road matchup against the Vikings sounds intimidating, but there’s a lot to like with Theo Riddick as contrarian running back. For starters, Minnesota ranks 23rd in DVOA against the pass to opposing running backs. On Monday night we saw Jordan Howard level the Vikings for 153 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, but also record 49 receiving yards on four catches. Meanwhile, Riddick has been targeted six or more times in four consecutive starts, including a season-high 11 last week. At a reduced cost and likely minimal ownership, Riddick has a great opportunity to exceed 100 yards of offense and score a touchdown.
It’s really tough week at tight end, which makes it even harder to unearth an attractive streaming option. Let’s look at Lance Kendricks of the Rams. Over the last two weeks he’s been targeted 17 times and the opposing Panthers defense has surrendered six touchdown receptions to tight ends in seven games. While Kendricks has surpassed 60 yards just once in seven contests, he’s seen six or more targets on four occasions.
Outside of Delanie Walker and Kyle Rudolph there’s very little at tight end that interests me in DFS this week. Paying up at the position is always a contrarian move, especially this week with expensive quarterbacks and expensive running backs likely to see a lot of ownership. Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, and Travis Kelce will all come in very low owned.