Week 16 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Can Matt Barkley Help You Win a Championship?
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 Aaron Rodgers 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.
We've hit a skid at the worst possible time, and our slump continued last week. Sam Bradford, our top streamer, struggled in a game that didn't go as expected as the Minnesota Vikings were routed by the Indianapolis Colts. Bradford completed 32 of 42 passes for 291 yards -- so he wasn't a total disaster in real life -- but he failed to throw a touchdown while tossing one interception. His 7.64 fantasy points ranked 27th at the position in Week 15.
We did have Colin Kaepernick listed as a secondary play last week, and he racked up 17.42 points to finish as QB10. Alex Smith, our other recommendation, failed to take advantage of a cushy home matchup against the Tennessee Titans, checking in as QB18 with 11.62 points.
With three straight subpar weeks, the season-long weekly average for our top streamer has dipped to 17.5 points, which ranks as QB13 for the year.
Here's an early warning: the streaming options for championship week are pretty darn ugly because owners are hoarding passers with good matchups. With that said, let's see what's out there. As always, we're looking at the top options among quarterbacks owned in less than 30% of ESPN leagues.
Matt Barkley, Chicago Bears
ESPN Ownership: 1.8%
Nothing says it's a bad week for streaming quarterbacks like making Matt Barkley the top option, but he has actually been pretty good this season. Among the 38th quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs, Barkley ranks 14th in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back.
This week, Barkley gets a decent home matchup against Washington. The sample size is extremely small -- he has started four games this year and came on in relief in another -- but Barkley has been much better at Soldier Field. And these splits include an 11-completion home game against the San Francisco 49ers in miserable weather in Week 13.
|Split||Games||Completion Percentage||Adjusted Yards/Attempt||TD|
If you remove the snow game, Barkley is averaging 15.86 fantasy points per game in his three other starts, going over the 300-yard mark twice (both of which were at home). Against the Green Bay Packers last week, Barkley completed 30 of 43 throws for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 picks.
Washington's defense has been a mess lately. Over the past four weeks, they're allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to passers, and they just let a struggling Carolina Panthers offense rack up 438 total yards of offense in Week 15.
Josh Norman will probably lock down Alshon Jeffery, but Barkley showed last week he's more than willing to go to Deonte Thompson and Cameron Meredith as the duo teamed up for 17 receptions for 214 yards.
The Chicago Bears are a 3-point underdog with an implied total of 21.25 points, neither of which are super enticing, but on a week without any great streaming options, Barkley makes for a decent play.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
ESPN Ownership: 36.3%
Like last week, Kaepernick is over our 30% ownership cutoff, but he's still worth mentioning as he's available in nearly 65% of ESPN leagues.
Kaepernick was an elite streaming option in the middle of the year, but he turned in back-to-back clunkers in Week 13 and Week 14. He established himself as a solid option once again with a productive outing last week, scoring 17.42 points -- good for QB10 -- in a sweet matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.
Kap doesn't "feel" safe, but his production this year says otherwise. In nine starts this season, Kaepernick has now scored at least 14 fantasy points seven times, and he's totaled at least 17 fantasy points in five of his last seven games.
Kap's in a decent spot this week in a road start against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams have a good defensive front, but they're allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks over the past four weeks -- although they've faced a death row of passers (Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees) in that span.
Don't get it twisted, though -- the San Francisco 49ers' clash against the Rams could be a fantasy (and real-life) nightmare. The 49ers are a 3.5-point underdogs with an implied total of 18.25, and the 40-point over/under is the second-lowest of the week. For the 50th time, it's a bad week for streamers, and Kaepernick's per-game rushing average of 48.6 yards gives him a floor if you're in a pinch.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
ESPN Ownership: 2.6%
Goff is still in the concussion protocol, so he may not play this week against the 49ers. If he suits up, he'll be in a great spot against one of the league's worst defenses. Goff hasn't been very good this season, but in a favorable matchup in Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints, he put up 16.56 fantasy points. There's a pulse here.
The 49ers are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, giving up exactly 2 passing scores per game, and they just let Bryce Petty complete 23 of 35 passes for 257 yards in Week 14.
Admittedly, Goff's floor is terrifying, and the forecast calls for a low-scoring game, per the aforementioned over/under. But the Rams should be able to move the ball decently well -- even if it's via Todd Gurley (San Fran is allowing a league-worst 155 rushing yards per game) -- which could give Goff more red zone trips than usual.