Week 11 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Trusting Alex Smith

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, we had Joe Flacco as the top streamer, and he finished as QB7 with 22.14 fantasy points. That brings our season-long average to 19.63 points per game, which ties for eighth among all passers (less than a point behind Cam Newton and Andrew Luck).

We also recommended Jay Cutler and Alex Smith. Neither of those went so well, with each ranking outside of the top 20 signal callers for the week. Cutler went full-on Cutler while Smith was ultra-conservative, even by his standards, completing 25 passes for a meager 178 yards. Despite that, both had appealing matchups, and the process behind selecting them was sound.

While Week 10 presented us with several streaming options who looked good on paper, Week 11 is a little tougher. With that said, let's take a look at the top options for this week among quarterbacks owned in less than 30% of ESPN leagues.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

ESPN Ownership: 27.9%

I get it. It's Alex Smith. He's like using Bing to search the web. You know it's not the best option, but it can be serviceable in a pinch. The streaming gawd, Smith was put on this Earth for us streaming degenerates, and weeks like this are exactly when we want to use him.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 7-point favorites with a 25.5-point implied total for this weekend's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, including overall QB1 performances (to Derek Carr and Matt Ryan) in Week 8 and Week 9.

The Bucs have actually been decent against the run -- checking in 15th, per our schedule-adjusted metrics -- so the Chiefs may have to rely on Smith a little more than usual.

The only blemish here is the health of Jeremy Maclin, Smith's top wideout. If Maclin sits again this week, it would ding Smith's value. However, without many quality streaming options, he'd still be a worthwhile play sans Maclin.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

ESPN Ownership: 14.1%

Since the San Francisco 49ers' bye in Week 8, Colin Kaepernick has put together two quality fantasy performances, finishing as a QB1 (top-12 performer) in both Week 9 and Week 10.

Opponent Passing Yards Rushing Yards Total TDs Points (Weekly Rank)
Week 9 New Orleans 398 23 2 22.22 (8th)
Week 10 Arizona 210 55 2 23.9 (5th)

Kaepernick torched the New Orleans Saints in Week 9, throwing for 398 yards, and he put up another good fantasy day in a tough matchup at the Arizona Cardinals last week, running for 55 yards and 1 score.

Posting quality fantasy numbers in a difficult matchup against the Cards -- where the 49ers were 13.5-point underdogs -- bodes well for this week's clash with the New England Patriots, a game where San Fran is a massive 13-point underdog.

Kaepernick's legs give him a pretty safe floor, and if the 49ers get down big (they probably will), the additional drop backs will gave Kap more chances to run. The Pats are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Kaepernick has become difficult to sit in two-quarterback leagues.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

ESPN Ownership: 18.0%

This isn't a great spot for Ryan Tannehill -- playing on the road against the Los Angeles Rams -- but if you're in a tough spot this week, he's worth checking out.

Tannehill low-key balled out last week against the San Diego Chargers. He totaled 19.2 fantasy points and unfurled one of the best touchdown throws you'll see all year, taking a shot to deliver an inch-perfect deep ball to Kenny Stills.

Tannehill doesn't have an enticing ceiling, only breaking the 20-point barrier one time this year, but he's scored at least 15 points in five of his nine starts.

He's facing a Rams defense that has allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to passers, so again, he's not a great option. But he's a better play than Jay Cutler going on the road with a short-handed offense, Sam Bradford versus Arizona, or Brock Osweiler doing anything.