- Quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses who can help you win your Week 1 fantasy football matchup.
With the draft season chapter of this fantasy season closed, it’s time to turn to the next page of the book: Week 1. It’s entirely possible that your roster may already need a little help. Specifically, your starting lineup for Week 1 could improve with a jolt from the waiver wire. It’s never too early to start streaming at quarterback, tight end or defense. Streaming can help bail you out of a bad pick, get your team through a rough bye week, or, in the case of Week 1, simply be part of an overarching, season-long strategy.
For streaming purposes, 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA) is a metric we rely on heavily to determine weekly matchup strength. Since aFPA requires a minimum of three to four weeks of data to provide truly reliable results, streaming options in these early weeks will be selected based on a combination of predicted fantasy points allowed, projected usage, and track record.
To provide actionable advice, candidates for streaming must be owned in no more than 40% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Colts (23% owned)
Perennially undervalued for fantasy purposes, Dalton starts off 2018 with a favorable tilt against the Colts, the 29th ranked defense in aFPA from a year ago. The 30-year-old threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns when these two teams met in 2017, and with a healthy arsenal of weapons could produce a top-10 performance on Sunday in Indianapolis. Rostered in just 23% of Yahoo leagues, Dalton makes a great stream this week if you’re in need. As a bonus, after a tough matchup in Week 2, the Bengals face a string of defenses soft against the quarterback position, so hanging on to the eight-year veteran could make sense through the first quarter of the season.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars at Giants (34% owned)
Another player constantly overlooked in fake football, Bortles makes for a solid streamer to kick off the season. Jacksonville heads to New York to battle a Giants defense that allowed 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 201, the 21st-ranked unit in quarterback aFPA. With Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook more developed entering their sophomore seasons, and newcomers Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Donte Moncrief, this offense could certainly produce against a friendly Colts secondary in Week 1. Bortles ended 2017 with the 13th-most fantasy points at his position and could find himself in QB1 territory after Sunday’s contest.
Tyrod Taylor, Browns vs. Steelers (12% owned)
The hype train stopped in Cleveland this year, and with good reason. With the additions of Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde and Taylor, this offense should see vast improvement this season. It could start in Week 1, albeit with a tough matchup against the Steelers. Armed with shiny new pass-catching toys on his home field, Taylor is a worthy play against the 14th-ranked defense in quarterback aFPA from 2017. At just a 12% ownership across Yahoo leagues, there’s a good chance he’s there for your streaming pleasure.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars at Giants (33% owned)
When Marqise Lee suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, he left behind 96 targets from last year, which led the team. Blake Bortles will most likely spread Lee’s volume around, but Seferian-Jenkins is in a solid spot in Week 1, facing a Giants’ defense ranked 29th in tight end aFPA last season. In 2017, Marcedes Lewis had the highest red-zone target share on the Jaguars, getting 16.7% of the looks. Seferian-Jenkins was one of the most-discussed players at Jaguars camp, and there’s a clear void in Jacksonville’s passing game entering the season.
Charles Clay, Bills at Ravens (34% owned)
Clay could be the top pass-catcher in Buffalo’s anemic offense, giving him plenty of potential to start the season. While his quarterback situation may not be ideal, inexperienced Nathan Peterman will likely look to the veteran to make some key plays and get this offense moving the chains. Clay starts out against a Baltimore team that finished 2017 as the third-worst defense in tight end aFPA, giving up 14.8 PPR points to the position weekly. In just 13 games, the 29-year-old was ninth in targets per game at his position with 5.7, and first in targets per snap on Buffalo’s offense among relevant players, with an impressive 12.8%. Clay could be a difference maker on opening weekend and is on the waiver wire in 66% of Yahoo leagues.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals vs. Redskins (27% owned)
Washington allowed 12.9 PPR points to tight ends per game in 2017, ranking 23rd in aFPA. Seals-Jones was impressive in limited duty last season, catching 12 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He enters this season as the unquestioned starter in Arizona, an offense that’s flying underneath the radar right now. Seals-Jones is currently available in 73% of Yahoo leagues and is worthy of a stream in larger leagues with shallower waiver wires.
Detroit Lions vs. Jets (36% owned)
New York yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing defenses last season, averaging an aFPA of 9.6 per game. The Jets should be improved on the offensive side of the ball, but could still struggle to move the chains effectively until rookie Sam Darnold gets a bit more experience at the NFL level. The Lions make a solid streaming option to kick off the season and are on the waiver wire in 64% of Yahoo leagues.
Green Bay Packers vs. Bears (30% owned)
The Packers get a home game to start their 2018 campaign, against division rival Chicago on Sunday night. The Bears have a completely new offense that has generated plenty of optimism in Chicago, but the group hasn’t proven anything yet. While sophomore signal caller Mitchell Trubisky is working with a bolstered offense thanks to newcomers Allen Robinson and Trey Burton, the Bears offense could struggle a bit out of the gate against Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Tennessee Titans at Dolphins (15% owned)
There’s some hype surrounding the Dolphins this season, but it’s just as easy to fade this offense filled with “if’s.” If Ryan Tannehill can put it together, if Kenyan Drake is for real, if DeVante Parker can stay healthy, then this will be a dangerous offense. It’s worth betting against those if’s in Week 1 by streaming the Titans’ defense.