- The playoffs may be here, but the stream remains a viable source of fantasy production. Here are candidates to plug and play this week at quarterback, tight end and defense.
Quarterbacks killed it again on the stream in Week 14, with Josh McCown and Blake Bortles finishing with the second- and third-most points among signal callers, respectively. It may be the playoffs in most leagues, but the stream remains open for business.
For streaming purposes, 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) is a metric we rely on heavily to determine weekly matchup strength. As the season progresses and more data is available, aFPA becomes more and more reliable, using rolling 10-week data. Targets and efficiency metrics are also considered when coming up with weekly streamers.
To provide advice that you can actually use, candidates for streaming must be available in at least 50% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Josh McCown, Jets at Broncos (43% owned)
The journeyman has been on fire the last two weeks, score 25.10 points in Week 12, and 31.10 points in Week 13. He threw for 300-plus yards in both games, and totaled six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) against zero picks. Believe it or not, McCown is the No. 7 quarterback in standard-scoring leagues.
The Jets fly to the Mile High City this week, to face a Denver defense that simply isn’t what it used to be. Given the way McCown has played this season, as well as twin breakout seasons from Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, it’s a borderline shock that he’s so widely available. His ownership rate allows you to treat him as a streamer, but he’s a legitimate weekly starter.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers at Texans (16% owned)
In his first start with the 49ers, Garoppolo completed 26-of-37 passes for 293 yards. He didn’t throw any touchdowns, but he made a few big throws and consistently moved the offense into the red zone.. It wasn’t an earth-shattering performance, but nonetheless impressive for his first start.
The 49ers head to Houston in Week 14, taking on a defense that ranks 31st in quarterback aFPA. Looking forward, San Francisco has another nice matchup in Week 15 with the Titans, so grabbing Garoppolo now could benefit you in the next round, too.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Seahawks (34% owned)
The oft-roasted Bortles posted a strong line in Week 13, going 26-for-35 for 309 yards, with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yes, it was the abysmal Colts defense, but the Jaguars signal caller more than did his part in a 30-10 victory.
Bortles gets a much tougher opponent in the Seahawks on Sunday, but one that tends to play weaker away from home. The Seahawks are also without the services of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, which is significant for Bortles and the Jacksonville offense. You should only be looking to him if McCown and Garoppolo are both owned in your league, but he can be an acceptable fallback option.
Julius Thomas, Dolphins vs. Patriots (31% owned)
A streamer for the second week in a row, Thomas seems to have found his niche in the Miami offense. He’s been on the field for 73% of the Dolphins snaps over the past three weeks. Thomas has also put up starting tight end numbers in that same three-week span, ranking 12th at the position with an average of 9.4 PPR points per contest.
Miami stays home for a division tilt versus New England on Sunday, who sit atop the AFC East with a 10-2 record. The Patriots rank third in tight end aFPA, but have allowed a few big games to enemy tight ends, including Cameron Brate’s 17.8 PPR points in Week 5, followed by a 16.6-point game from Austin Seferian-Jenkins the next week. Thomas himself was able to score 10.2 PPR points in Gillette Stadium just two weeks ago.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals vs. Titans (32% owned)
Seals-Jones came down to earth in Week 12, but still managed to haul in two passes for 44 yards. He has been targeted 16 times in Arizona’s last three games, which ranks second only to Larry Fitzgerald in the Cardinals offense. Tennessee has been soft against the tight end in their past two contests, surrendering 79 yards and a touchdown to Houston’s Stephen Anderson last week, and 94 yards to Jack Doyle in Week 12.
David Njoku, Browns vs. Packers (6% owned)
Josh Gordon justifiably hogged the spotlight last week, but don’t overlook what Njoku did in that same game. The rookie tight end scoring the Browns only touchdown, finishing with four catches for 74 yards. Njoku has 10 targets over his last two games, a number that should over the team’s final four games. It’s only logical that the Browns would want to give a player who figures to be a major part of their future as much experience as possible in a hopeless season. Green Bay ranks 17th in tight end aFPA, and allowed Tampa Bay’s Cameron Brate to dance in the end zone twice last week.
Trey Burton, Eagles vs. Rams (1% owned)
Burton is in play here if Zach Ertz is sidelined due to the concussion he suffered in Week 13. In Ertz’s absence last week, Burton had seven targets, catching four of them for 42 yards. He also had two receptions for 41 yards and a score in Week 9 when Ertz sat with a hamstring injury. Neither the floor nor ceiling is as high for the tight end position in Philadelphia when Ertz is out, but the team clearly doesn’t wildly change the playbook without him.
Green Bay Packers, at Browns (41% owned)
Streaming defenses against the Browns, regardless of the identity of the defense, has been a fruitful tactic this season. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has thrown 15 interceptions, adn the Browns have allowed 39 sacks, the third-highest total in the league. All told, they rank 31st in defensive aFPA. The offense is more dangerous with Josh Gordon back, but that shouldn’t steer fantasy owners away from the Packers.
New York Jets, at Broncos (6% owned)
Denver is dead last in defensive aFPA, and it hasn’t much mattered who has been under center. The Broncos have scored more than 20 points in only two games, with an average of 12.8 points in the other 10. Now on an eight-game losing streak, Denver’s offense is a mess. The Jets should benefit from the chaos.
Buffalo Bills, vs. Colts (19% owned)
The Colts have been held to fewer than 18 points in all of their last four games, and now ranks 27th in defensive aFPA. They’ve also allowed a league-leading 51 sacks. Buffalo’s defense would be especially dangerous if the team can get a lead, putting the Colts in obvious passing situations. That may not happen, especially if Tyrod Taylor is unable to play because of the knee injury he suffered last week, but the Bills are still well worth a shot as a streaming defense this week.