Week 9 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Colin Kaepernick Is in a Great Spot
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 Ryan Fitzpatrick who finished with 14.12 points and ranked as QB17 for the week. Fitzpatrick had a pretty sweet matchup with the Cleveland Browns, but he was unable to turn in a big day. Fitzpatrick was solid nonetheless, and for the year, our top streaming recommendation is averaging 19.0 points per game, which ranks 11th among quarterbacks to play at least three games.
Before we get started, it's worth mentioning that Alex Smith is available in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues, and he has an outstanding home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Smith is cleared to play, he'll be taking on the 25th-ranked defense, per our metrics, at home. He'll be a top streaming option, but Smith is owned in too many leagues to qualify for this piece.
Let's check out the streaming options for Week 9 among quarterbacks owned in less than 30% of ESPN leagues.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
ESPN Ownership: 8.0%
Go back to the 2013 season, when Colin Kaepernick was dazzling with the San Francisco 49ers and Chip Kelly's first year with the Philadelphia Eagles was going extremely well. If I told you Kap would one day play for Kelly -- man, we'd be so excited about Kaepernick's fantasy potential. We're talking overall QB1 stuff.
Obviously, a lot has changed since then -- almost all of it bad for both Kaepernick and Kelly -- but things haven't gone horribly, from a fantasy perspective, in Kaepernick's two starts this season. He is averaging 16.11 fantasy points per game, and his legs -- he's run for 75 yards per game -- have given him a nice floor.
This week, the 49ers get the New Orleans Saints, and anytime a quarterback is facing the Saints, we want some of that action. It's a dream fantasy matchup for every player involved as San Fran and New Orleans rank first and third, respectively, in pace. The game features a tasty 52-point over/under with the 49ers boasting an implied total of 24.5 points.
Usually, a quarterback being an underdog isn't a good thing, but Kap is averaging roughly 18 more rushing yards per game in losses. The floor is solid, and Kaepernick is always capable of a rushing touchdown, so the ceiling is pretty appealing, too.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
ESPN Ownership: 15.7%
Ryan Tannehill gets a home matchup against a New York Jets defense that just let Josh McCown put up 35 fantasy points. The Jets have the 23rd-ranked defense, per our metrics, and they've really struggled against the pass, checking in 29th in schedule-adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back.
Sliding Tannehill into the starting lineup usually results in a little gagging, but he has scored at least 15 fantasy points in five of seven games. The Miami Dolphins are 3.5-point favorites with a decent implied total of 23.75 points, and the Jets are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Miami being a favorite is a key thing to note as Tannehill has played much better throughout his career in wins. In Miami victories, he's averaged 7.69 yards per attempt with 53 touchdown passes and 15 picks. In losses, Tannehill has posted 6.5 yards per attempt with 41 scores and 46 interceptions.
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
ESPN Ownership: 15.0%
If starting Tannehill results in gagging, moving Sam Bradford into the starting lineup has to cause you to spew out your lunch. With that said, if you're ever going to use him -- and it probably needs to be a deep league or a two-quarterback format -- this is the week.
The Detroit Lions' defense is bad -- like "2015 Saints defense" bad. Our metrics have them as the worst overall defense and the worst unit against the pass. Unsurprisingly, they've given up the second-most fantasy points to signal callers.
At the helm of a Minnesota Vikings offense that is far from a high-flying unit, Bradford has yet to break the 20-point mark. He has, however, surpassed 15 points in three games -- all of which were home games like this one is. In fact, Bradford's been a pretty good quarterback at home, averaging 8.44 yards per attempt and tossing 5 touchdowns with no picks in three games.
The sample size is small, but Bradford has been useable at home, and he won't see a better home matchup this year.