Week 8 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Back on Board With Ryan Fitzpatrick
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 -- 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 Drew Brees as your quarterback, but when the top-end signal callers draw a tough matchup, their upside can be matched by a waiver-wire option in a more favorable situation.
If you're looking for some options from the waiver wire -- regardless of league size -- then we have you covered.
Last week, our top recommendation was Colin Kaepernick, who finished with 14.12 points and ranked as QB16 for the week. As we expected, Kaepernick's rushing ability -- he had 9 carries for 84 yards -- provided a safe floor, but he failed to do much of anything with his arm. For the year, our top streaming recommendation is averaging 19.64 points per game, which ranks ninth among all quarterbacks.
Our other two picks for Week 7, Alex Smith and Marcus Mariota, were QB10 and QB11, respectively, for the week. Both players have really nice matchups again this week -- Smith plays at the Indianapolis Colts and Mariota hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars -- and neither is owned in more than 55% of ESPN leagues. If you're in need of a streamer, they are ideal candidates, but they're now owned in too many leagues to be included in this piece.
Let's check out the streaming options for Week 8 among quarterbacks owned in less than 30% of ESPN leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
ESPN Ownership: 14.2%
There is no way to sugarcoat it: this hasn't been a good year for Ryan Fitzpatrick. After finishing the 2015 season as QB11, Fitzmagic has been more Fitztragic in 2016, checking in as QB23. He was benched in favor of Geno Smith, but now that Smith is out with a torn ACL, Fitzpatrick is back under center for the New York Jets.
He regains the starting role just in time for a tasty road matchup with the Cleveland Browns, who are allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Per our schedule-adjusted metrics, Cleveland ranks 27th in Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play and 30th in Defensive Passing NEP per play. We've targeted the Browns three times already this season, and the average point total from those three streaming plays is 20.1 points.
The betting lines for the game haven't been released -- most likely due to Cleveland's uncertain quarterback situation -- but it's safe to assume the Jets won't have one of the higher implied totals on the slate. Despite that, with six teams on a bye this week, Fitzpatrick against one of the worst pass defenses in the league is difficult to pass up.
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
ESPN Ownership: 11.5%
What happens when the league's worst starting quarterback faces the worst defense? We're about to find out.
Brock Osweiler kinda stinks. No, he definitely stinks. He's been the worst quarterback not named Blaine Gabbert, ranking 32nd in Passing NEP per drop back among the 33 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs. He's done that despite a pretty darn good surrounding cast of Lamar Miller, Will Fuller, and DeAndre Hopkins.
But Osweiler is in play this week because the matchup is so ripe. Osweiler and the Houston Texans host the Detroit Lions, who have been the league's worst defense. Detroit ranks dead last in both Adjusted Defensive NEP per play and Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. The Lions have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and they just let Kirk Cousins complete 30 of 39 passes for 301 yards.
It won't be fun looking at your roster and seeing Osweiler at the top of it, but if you're hurting for a signal caller this week, he's not a terrible option.
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
ESPN Ownership: 14.8%
Chicago has been much improved defensively this year, but they're still a pretty average unit. The Bears rank 19th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play and 17th in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play.
Bradford has played well in his first season with the Vikings. Among passers with at least 100 drop backs this year, Bradford is 15th in Passing NEP per drop back.
He doesn't have a high ceiling, and he's coming off a clunker in Week 7 against a good Philadelphia Eagles defense. But prior to his dud last week, Bradford had scored at least 15 points in three of his last four games, and Minnesota is a healthy 5.5-point favorite with an implied total of 23.
Again, Bradford is only a viable option in deep leagues as his upside is capped in a run-oriented attack. However, if you're in a 14-team league or a two-quarterback format, he's a decent desperation play.