Week 2 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Buying Into Joe Flacco
Quarterback streaming isn't for everyone, but if you're in a standard league -- like a 10- or 12-team league that features just one starting signal caller each week -- grabbing productive quarterbacks who have good matchups off the waiver wire is often doable.
Sure, you won't have the luxury of setting it and forgetting it with Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback, but when the top-end signal callers like Andrew Luck draw a tough matchup at the Denver Broncos, their upside can be matched by a waiver-wire option in a more favorable matchup.
If you're looking for some options from the waiver wire -- regardless of league size -- then we have you covered.
We had a fairly successful season-opening week as Alex Smith, our top streaming recommendation, finished as QB3 with 28.02 points in standard leagues. Matt Ryan, one of our secondary plays, was QB6 with 24.36 points, while Brock Osweiler (16.64, QB16) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (15.06, QB18) had not-awful weeks.
Ryan profiles as a solid play again this week as the Atlanta Falcons are at the Oakland Raiders, but he's owned in 40.9% of ESPN leagues, which puts him over of soft cutoff of 30% ownership. Matthew Stafford is available in nearly 25% of ESPN leagues, and he has a superb home matchup against the Tennessee Titans, so snag him if he's on the wire in your league.
As for some lesser-owned guys, let's check out the streaming options for Week 2.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
ESPN Ownership: 14.8%
Joe Flacco checks off a bunch of boxes this week in his matchup with the Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore Ravens are 7-point favorites with an implied total of 25, and the Browns just made rookie Carson Wentz look pretty good in his debut. Maybe Wentz ends up being bee's knees, but we'll roll the dice on Cleveland's defense being terrible.
Flacco didn't light it up in Week 1, but he was solid in his return from an ACL injury, completing 23 of 34 passes for 258 yards and a score. The best sign from that game was that Baltimore's receivers are all in good health. Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman are back from injuries, and Flacco hooked up with newcomer Mike Wallace for a 66-yard bomb. Even tight end Dennis Pitta, who hadn't played since Week 3 of 2014, made a surprise return to the field.
Not only is the Browns' defense not very good, but they're going to be on the field quite a bit if Cleveland's pace from Week 1 becomes the norm under Hue Jackson. The Browns ran a play every 24.80 seconds versus the Philadelphia Eagles, the fastest pace in the league in Week 1.
That's great and all if the Browns' offense is racking up points, but that's an unlikely scenario with Josh McCown under center and Josh Gordon still out against a Baltimore defense that held the Buffalo Bills to 3.7 yards per play last week. What that pace will more than likely lead to is the Ravens' offense getting to run more plays against a tired Cleveland defense.
We know quarterbacks perform better in fantasy when they're favored, and Flacco is no exception. Entering this season, he had put up an average of 18.55 points per game over his career when the Ravens were the favorite, compared to 15.91 points as an underdog. He's by far and away the top streaming option this week.
As an added boost, Flacco can be more than just a one-week stand as he has a pretty juicy schedule with clashes against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and Washington Redskins on tap over the following three games.
Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
ESPN Ownership: 4.4%
Playing one of the league's better defenses, Trevor Siemian wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible in the Denver Broncos' Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers. Things are much easier this week as Denver hosts the Indianapolis Colts.
Indy was carved up by Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions in Week 1, and the Colts rank dead last in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back through the season's first week. They were already without Vontae Davis, and Indianapolis lost two more starters to injury during the game. Even with Davis in the fold -- and he isn't expected back for this one -- the Colts are going to be a team to target this year, but that's especially true with him out.
Golden Tate, Eric Ebron, and Marvin Jones all had useful fantasy days against Indy, so Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas should feast, provided Thomas plays. With the likely positive game script and the Colts' rush defense being horrendous, as well -- they check in 29th in Rushing NEP per play so far -- C.J. Anderson is likely the best play for Denver. But Siemian has some appeal, especially if you're in a two-quarterback league.
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
ESPN Ownership: 7.2%
Jimmy Garoppolo had a pretty brutal Week 1 matchup at the Arizona Cardinals, but he flourished, completing 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards and a score. He finished the week sixth in Passing NEP per drop back -- and that was with Rob Gronkowski out of action.
Admittedly, there would be a lot more conviction behind this if Miami's defense didn't completely befuddle the Seattle Seahawks last week. However, it was the Dolphins' run defense that was exceptional.
Russell Wilson was serviceable -- going 27 of 43 for 258 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 pick -- but the Seahawks' running game couldn't do much with just 64 yards on 20 carries. If Miami's run defense proves to be legit, the Patriots could be forced to lean more heavily on Garoppolo and the passing game.
Like Siemian, Garoppolo isn't as safe as Flacco, but he could have a productive outing in a fairly enticing spot.