The best fantasy QB options to stream for Week 15
It’s gotten ugly out there for fantasy quarterbacks. Only Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers managed to exceed 20 fantasy points this past Sunday (with Tom Brady joining Monday). Meanwhile, we got surprise QB1 performances from the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Trevor Siemian, Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz.
Several of the top scoring fantasy signal-callers over the course of the season failed to return QB1 value this week. That list included Drew Brees, Marcus Mariota, Dak Prescott and Derek Carr, representing 40 percent of the top 10 fantasy QBs for the season.
Specifically, if you followed my advice from Week 14’s QB streaming column, you were rewarded by starting Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins, but were left in the lurch by Jameis Winston, Carson Palmer and Eli Manning.
Things won’t get any easier as we enter the next round of fantasy playoffs. Looking ahead to Week 15, difficult road matchups await quite a few of this season’s most relied upon fantasy quarterbacks. The chart below is a sampling of those matchups that present cause for concern:
|Quarterback||Week 15 matchup||Opponent FPPG allowed to QBs||Opponent PFF Pass Cov. Grade|
|Marcus Mariota||@ KC||17th||8th|
|Drew Brees||@ ARI||4th||12th|
|Tom Brady||@ DEN||1st||1st|
|Andrew Luck||@ MIN||3rd||14th|
|Derek Carr||@ SD||11th||9th|
|Jameis Winston||@ DAL||16th||2nd|
|Dak Prescott||vs. TB||14th||17th|
|Matthew Stafford||@ NYG||2nd||3rd|
But alas, things aren’t all doom and gloom. Once again I’ve dug into the PFF data to uncover some noteworthy alternate streaming options out there for Week 15 — either on your waiver wire, or perhaps sitting right there on your bench.
As always around this time of year, keep tabs on weather forecasts before locking in those lineups.
Russell Wilson (SEA vs. LA) – 95.2% owned/53.0% started
While not someone that you can just pluck off the waivers, Wilson is listed here mostly to reinforce his month-plus stretch of solid play prior to the Week 14 implosion that saw him throw a career-worst five interceptions. Before abandoning ship, consider that of the eight times Wilson has tossed multiple picks in his career, here are his cumulative numbers in the following game: 131-of-187 (70.0 percent), 1,712 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs. Again, he had been humming along as fantasy’s No. 6 QB over the previous five weeks, and four drops by Seattle receivers certainly did Wilson no favors.
Wilson’s struggles under pressure against Green Bay (30.5 QB rating) were also not indicative of his season to date, considering he entered Week 14 as the league’s top QB under pressure in terms of both adjusted completion percentage (73.3) and passer rating (87.6). When the Seahawks take the field on Thursday, it will be against a sinking Rams team three days removed from firing head coach Jeff Fisher and short on preparation. What’s more, Los Angeles is allowing an average of 23 fantasy points to QBs over its past three outings.
Philip Rivers (SD vs. OAK) — 85.7% owned/43.8% started/11th in FanDuel salary
Like Wilson, Rivers is coming off a pretty uninspiring Week 14 outing, as he supplemented his two touchdowns against Carolina with three interceptions, two fumbles and five sacks. And while the 10-3 Raiders present a tough test in this AFC West division rivalry, Rivers will look to bounce back on his home turf in a game that Las Vegas oddsmakers have set the over/under at a lofty 50.5. Better yet, Rivers’ QB rating at Qualcomm Stadium this season is nearly 10 points higher than it is on the road (95.6 vs. 85.8). He also has a streak of six straight games with multiple passing scores.
Even with last week’s disastrous showing, Rivers found success throwing to the intermediate level (10–19 yards downfield), completing 5-of-8 passes including both of his touchdowns. With running back Melvin Gordon’s status in doubt due to a hip injury, the Chargers figure to air it out quite a bit (hence the 50.5 game total with San Diego as a plus-3 home underdog).
Tyrod Taylor (BUF vs. CLE) – 58.8%/14.1%/14th in FanDuel salary
Rex Ryan on Monday found himself having to endorse Taylor as the Bills’ starting quarterback moving forward, saying that Taylor “gives us the best opportunity to win.” Despite a rough showing in the snow against Pittsburgh, in which he took five sacks, Taylor’s 15 fantasy points were just two points shy of a top-five fantasy QB performance on Sunday, which should illustrate the dire straits we’re in at the QB position.
As it stands, Taylor does have a couple of things working in his favor. For one, Sammy Watkins is officially “back,” after playing 94.2 percent of the offensive snaps on Sunday and finding the end zone. Watkins has been targeted 15 times in the two weeks since his return from injury. Second, the Browns, with three qualified (25 percent of snaps played) safeties ranked in the bottom-10 of our positional coverage grades for the season, have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (19.6) on the season along with a league-high 30 passing TDs.
As noted in our recap of the Bills’ Week 14 loss to Pittsburgh, Taylor was hardly the culprit for the outcome. He posted a 145.8 QB rating against the blitz (8-of-11 for 115 yards and two TDs) and was 4-of-6 on intermediate passes, as he averaged 15.2 yards per completion on the day. And let’s not forget, Taylor has rushed for 471 yards (6.2 YPC) and six TDs.
Carson Palmer (ARI vs. NO) – 76.0%/31.1%/15th in FanDuel salary
Yet another Week 14 game in which weather was a factor, Palmer turned in one of his worst performances of 2016 under, at times, monsoon-like conditions in Miami. Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh led a Dolphins pass rush that pressured Palmer on 15 of his 37 dropbacks, but Palmer should have little problem finding the hot read this week against a Saints defense that is our second-worst graded unit in pass coverage by PFF analysts this season.
Vegas has set the over/under for this matchup at 50.0, and while Palmer has no doubt been up and down throughout the season, keep in mind he was a top-10 fantasy QB over his previous five games (19.2 ppg). Palmer has also been a vastly superior passer at home this season (93.9 rating) compared to on the road (70.5).
Colin Kaepernick (SF @ ATL) – 36.7%/7.9%/17th in FanDuel salary
Now we’re into the no-guts-no-glory options. The highest game total of the week (51.5), the game script for this one figures to have Kaepernick either in shootout mode or in catchup mode. Granted, the Falcons looked awfully imposing on both sides of the ball this past week, and the 49ers, well, didn’t.
Still, Kaepernick did help San Francisco jump out to a quick 14-0 lead against the Jets in Week 14, but for one reason or another, the offense went into a shell thereafter. He attempted only six passes beyond nine yards, completing one of those, and averaged 1.4 yards per target when under pressure. Curiously, Kaepernick was far more successful on 21 dropbacks against the blitz (98.6 rating) than on his eight dropbacks when not blitzed (56.3 rating). With Carlos Hyde ripping off 193 yards on 17 carries, coach Chip Kelly chose to play things close to the vest, perhaps far too close. The San Francisco offense likely will not have that luxury this week.
In fact, the game plan practically screams for the 49ers to open things up against an Atlanta defense that has allowed the most fantasy point per game to opposing QBs (19.7) this season. And lest we forget, from Weeks 6-12, Kaepernick ranked as a top-six fantasy QB with 22.5 points per game.
Joe Flacco (BAL vs. PHI)
After tossing four TDs in Week 13, Joe Flacco was expected to come back down to earth facing a tough Patriots defense on the road on Monday night. This week, Baltimore will face an Eagles defense that has struggled in coverage all season long. Flacco also owns a 93.3 QB rating at home this season compared to a 71.7 rating elsewhere. Folks, home/road splits don’t get much more drastic than that.
Sam Bradford (MIN vs. IND)
You know the QB position is a mess when Bradford sits among the highest fantasy scorers, as he did in Week 14. Those in need of a desperation play that’s not really all that desperate, know that not only are the Colts allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, they’re also ranked dead-last by our analysts in both pass coverage grade and pass rush grade for the season. Bradford has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in six straight.