The best fantasy QB options to stream for Week 16
Raise your hand if you were one of the 0.6 percent of ESPN leaguers who started Matt Moore in Week 15. Ok, now put your hand down, fibber.
In replacing the injured Ryan Tannehill, all Moore managed to do was post 23 fantasy points on Sunday, second only to Drew Brees’ 31. In fact, Moore’s average of 1.21 fantasy points per dropback marked the top single-game rate of any QB this season.
Along with Moore, Robert Griffin III and Matt Barkley were surprise finishers among Sunday’s top-12 fantasy quarterbacks. Meanwhile, several of the top-scoring fantasy signal-callers over the course of the season failed to return QB1 value on Sunday. That list included Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton and Blake Bortles, representing exactly half of the QB1 field through the season’s first 15 weeks.
In the Week 15 edition of QB streamers it was cautioned to stay away from Mariota, Stafford, Carr and Tom Brady due to their tough matchups, while the majority of our featured streaming options proved start-worthy.
|Week 15||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Rank||PFF Passing Grade|
Looking ahead to the all-important Week 16, once again I’ve dug into the PFF data to uncover some noteworthy alternate streaming options out there — 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. Also keep in mind that with Christmas day falling on Sunday this year, Week 16’s slate of games will be played on Saturday.
Philip Rivers (SD @ CLE) – 85.4% owned/43.3% started/fifth-highest FanDuel salary
Rivers is the quarterback with the highest ownership whom we’ll dissect this week, but like the others featured below, he was benched in more than half of ESPN leagues in Week 15 against Oakland. This past Sunday also marked Rivers’ seventh straight game with multiple touchdown passes, while his lone interception came while being hit on a 4th-and-long on the final drive. Our analysts assigned an 80.6 grade in a game that Rivers was pressured on 42.4 percent of his dropbacks and had three drops by receivers, all in all a fine bounce back after disappointing against Carolina the previous week.
In Week 16, Rivers and the Chargers hit the road to face a Cleveland defense that has yielded the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs (19.4) and is PFF’s 28th-worst-graded pass-coverage unit. And while the Browns are a team that is easily run on, the Chargers don’t have much of a running game at the moment with Melvin Gordon nursing hip and knee injuries. As for Rivers, he is actually averaging more yards per attempt on the road (7.71) than at home this season (7.65).
Jameis Winston (TB @ NO) – 73.6%/34.6%/eighth-highest FanDuel salary
Winston continues to mix moments of greatness with moments of futility from week to week. In Sunday’s loss to Dallas, he showed plenty of moxie in picking apart the Cowboys’ zone to help Tampa Bay erase an 11-point third-quarter deficit. However, he also struggled with accuracy at times and posted a mere 8.8 QB rating under pressure. It also marked Winston’s first outing with multiple interceptions since Week 4.
But things should get better in Week 16 when he faces the Saints in The Big Easy. Las Vegas has set the over/under at a generous 52.5, with the Buccaneers getting three points. The Saints are our worst-graded defense in pass coverage and have allowed 17.6 fantasy points per game to opposing passers, sixth-most among defenses. If you have any reservations about starting Winston in a road game for your fantasy title matchup, know that he has eclipsed 15 fantasy points in 5-of-7 road games this season and has thrown more TDs (13) than at home (12).
Colin Kaepernick (SF @ LA) – 36.4%/15.0%/13th-highest FanDuel salary
The enigmatic Kaepernick had a bounce-back game in Atlanta on Sunday, although once again he left fantasy owners wanting more as the 49ers offense went into a shell after a quick start. Kaepernick flashed his vintage mobility when completing a 45-yard pass to tight end Blake Bell after being flushed out of the pocket, although his 21 rushing yards were his second-fewest in a game this season.
While Kaepernick did turn in his best-graded game as a passer this season, ultimately, fantasy owners trusting him in the championship round will be banking on 5-10 points as a rusher in order to supplement his limited passing volume. This week’s opponent, the Rams, pose a capable pass rush, however Kaepernick is the type of quarterback who can use his legs to exploit open running lanes. The Rams have also allowed four of their past five opponents to throw for multiple scores, including three TDs in each of the last two weeks.
Eli Manning (NYG @ PHI) – 72.3%/23.3%/(Thursday night game)
Manning was razor-sharp in Sunday’s 17-6 win over the Lions, completing 20-of-28 passes for 201 yards with two TDs and no turnovers. While Manning didn’t take many shots downfield – he attempted just seven throws longer than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and completed five of them for 92 yards and a score – he was effective both while pressured and while operating from a clean pocket.
This week, the Giants take on an Eagles defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season (26.3). Of course, the Giants have a few good receivers, led by Odell Beckham Jr., who will go to work against a Philadelphia defense that has fallen to our No. 25 pass-coverage grade. Out of 121 qualifiers, rookie Jalen Mills is our worst-graded cornerback on the season, while fellow corners Leodis McKelvin (No. 76) and Nolan Carroll (No. 110) have not fared much better. On the back end, safety Malcolm Jenkins ranks 70th in coverage grade out of 90 qualified safeties. In short, there are big plays to be had whenever facing the Eagles.
Blake Bortles (JAX vs. TEN) – 55.2%/9.9%/21st-highest FanDuel salary
Despite posting a season-worst 3.29 yards per attempt in Week 15, Bortles will keep his starting job, interim Jaguars coach Doug Marrone confirmed on Monday. It’s been well-documented that Bortles is about as risky a starting play as there is, so I’ll avoid rehashing all of his Week 15 numbers. In short, they were awful.
Over the last three weeks, Bortles has managed only one passing touchdown against three interceptions, and he has thrown for less than 200 yards per game in that span. But it’s also important to note that his last three opponents (Denver, Minnesota, Houston) have been three of the stingiest defenses on the season. Bortles’ previous four-game stretch included three tough road contests and another matchup with Houston – again, not the friendliest of schedules.
This week, however, he’ll be at home against a Tennessee defense that has PFF’s sixth-worst pass-coverage grade on the season and has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs (17.9). For all of his warts as a passer, Bortles has posted more fantasy points this season than the likes of Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson and several other notable names. He did also have four completions over 10 yards in the air against Houston.
Matt Barkley (CHI vs. WAS) – 1.8%/0.4%/20th-highest FanDuel salary
My apologies if you were expecting to see Matt Moore in the honorable mention section after he managed four touchdowns on 12 completions while stepping in for Ryan Tannehill. Instead, I’ll go with Barkley, who has been rather steady over a longer sample size and who will host a beatable Redskins’ secondary playing on a short week. Barkley did toss three interceptions against the Packers this past weekend, but he also threw for 362 yards with two touchdowns and a 74.4 adjusted completion percentage. He got Alshon Jeffery involved (6-89-1) while Deonte Thompson and Cameron Meredith both went over 100 yards receiving.