Week 14 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Alex Smith Is Here for Us
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.
It's hard to overstate how ugly things were for us last week. Colin Kaepernick, our top recommendation, completed just one pass on his way to a 2.16-point day, which ranked him as QB30 for the week. We also tabbed Ryan Fitzpatrick (1.54 points) and Matt Barkley (7.98 points) as good plays, and you could say those didn't go well.
Week 13 was by far our worst showing of the year. The clunker drops the per-game average for our top recommendation to 18.8 points per game, which is good enough to be QB11 for the season. Prior to last week, we'd had just four weeks where our signal caller wasn't a QB1 (top-12 performer), and we'd gotten at least 14 points from our streamer in all but one week.
While Week 13 was a disaster for us streamers, we can take solace in our process. Kaep had been a top-12 quarterback in each week since the San Francisco 49ers' Week 8 bye, and he was taking on a short-handed Chicago Bears defense. The weather ended up being miserable, which significantly capped his upside, but going off what we knew early in the week, Kaepernick was in a good spot to keep rolling. Barkley and Fitzpatrick were in good shape, as well. Sometimes fantasy football happens, and it happened it Week 13 -- just ask Drew Brees owners.
Moving on, let's take a look at the top options for Week 14 among quarterbacks owned in less than 30% of ESPN leagues.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
ESPN Ownership: 27.0%
We're hurting for many quality streaming options this week in the first round of the playoffs, so of course Alex Smith, the streaming gawd, is there to rescue us. Smith has a home Thursday matchup with the Oakland Raiders. Oakland has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and the Raiders are a bottom-10 pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics.
Kansas City is a 3-point favorite with an implied total of 24.75 points, which is tied for the sixth-highest implied total of the week. Throughout his career, Smith has been a much better performer in wins, and he's also put up better numbers at home.
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Smith had a very good matchup last week against the Atlanta Falcons, and while his fantasy totals don't show it -- he scored just 12.5 points -- Smith actually had a very good game, completing 21 of 25 passes for 270 yards and 1 touchdown. On a week bereft of many decent streaming options, Smith is the top play.
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
ESPN Ownership: 7.9%
I know, Brock Osweiler has been atrocious this year, but he's in a decent spot this week as the Houston Texans hit the road to take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts -- despite what the Jets' showing on Monday would have you believe -- don't have a good defense, allowing the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Saying anything positive about Osweiler won't get me a seat with at the cool kids table, but the dude was pretty good last week in a rough weather game at the Green Bay Packers. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 213 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Baby steps.
We have him projected for 13.8 points, so he's still not a very good play this week. That said, if you're in a deep league or play in a two-quarterback format, Osweiler may be able to help you survive and advance.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
ESPN Ownership: 49.2%
Kaepernick is over our ownership threshold by a good margin, but it's probably safe to assume he's going to be dropped in some leagues because of last week's performance. Well, as long as he remains the starter, we can probably write off last week as a fluke considering how good he'd been coming into the dud against the Bears.
Before Week 13, Kaep had been averaging 24.64 fantasy points per game since the 49ers Week 8 bye. He'd done so on the back of 62 rushing yards per game.
This week's matchup with the New York Jets isn't an easy one -- Gang Green has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards to quarterbacks -- but Kaepernick makes for a solid play. San Francisco is actually a one-point favorite, and they have an implied total of 22.5 points. As an added bonus, Kaepernick and the Niners have a juicy Week 15 matchup against the Falcons, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.