Streaming the Season: Which Quarterbacks Should You Roster?

Is Case Keenum the answer to your quarterback problems? Partially.

You don’t enter a fantasy football season hoping to stream positions in your lineup. You resort to it in a worst-case scenario situation.

And that’s OK. This knowledge allows you to take chances on the positions that are in lower demand – quarterbacks and tight ends – during your draft. Without these calculated risks, you may never have drafted Jordan Cameron or Philip Rivers.

Unfamiliar with the strategy? Essentially, streaming is playing a position – one with just a single slot in your lineup – by matchup. It’s done with quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses because the demand of these positions is lower; you’re only starting one in your lineup each week.

Perhaps you ended up drafting a bust at the quarterback position, and have been trying to hit the wire each week to find someone you can plug-and-play from here on out. While it’s fine to think that way, a lot of times thinking of it from a weekly perspective produces a cumulative value at quarterback that only Drew Brees and Peyton Manning owners see.

Think of it as a quarterback Frankenstein that produces QB1 numbers.

We’re hitting a stretch in the fantasy season where losing is not an option. Actually, at numberFire, that’s never an option. But now, just weeks before the fantasy playoffs, we can’t have losers. Only winners.

That’s why I looked at team’s remaining schedules, and combined them with quarterbacks who have a good chance of being on your waiver wire. In essence, I’ve created a group of players that you can target weeks in advance that, when morphed together, form something like the Megazord from Power Rangers.

Waiver Wire Quarterbacks, in Chart Form

To make this exercise successful, I looked at ownership percentages of 10 percent or less. That gives us a high probability that these individual quarterbacks will be available in your leagues.

I also only marked a matchup as favorable (designated by an X in the chart) if the particular contest was against a defense that ranks 20th or worse against the pass when adjusted for strength of schedule (Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points). In addition, if an X is bolded, that means the defensive opponent is a bottom-five one.

Because fantasy football is overwhelmingly played only through Week 16, I’ve omitted Week 17 from the study.

PlayerWeek 11Week 12Week 13Week 14Week 15Week 16Total
Case KeenumXXXXX5
Ryan FitzpatrickXXXXX5
Carson PalmerXXXX4
Josh McCownXXX3
Scott TolzienXXX3
Christian PonderXX2
Jason CampbellXX2
Mike GlennonXX2
Geno SmithX1
Chad Henne0
Kellen Clemens0

As you can see, Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick lead the pack with five favorable matchups in their final six fantasy football contests. Carson Palmer has four, and injury fill-ins Josh McCown and Scott Tolzien have three. Unfortunately, because we’re unsure when Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers will return, those two quarterbacks may end up being irrelevant from here on out.

It should be noted that Mike Glennon has just one more favorable matchup on his schedule between now and Week 16, and it’s this week against the league’s worst defense. The last time Glennon faced the Falcons, he threw 256 yards and two scores for a 19.5 fantasy point day. There’s a chance that could be repeated this week, but considering he’s next to worthless post-Week 11, it may be advantageous to just stay away.

Chad Henne, Geno Smith and Kellen Clemens should probably be avoided all together in single-quarterback leagues. Unless there’s a lot of bench space, I can’t imagine anyone wanting or needing one of them down the stretch given the other options available.

Jason Campbell’s the remaining name, facing the Steelers in Week 12 and the Jaguars in Week 13.

Should We Just Stream Against the Jags?

This leaves us with Palmer, Campbell, Keenum and Fitzpatrick. Funny enough, each of these quarterbacks face Jacksonville at least once from here on out. Therefore, a strategy could be to just plug in the guy facing the Jags each week, hoping they reach the 20.5 point average the Jaguars are allowing in standard leagues to opposing quarterbacks.

In fact, the Jags have yet to allow fewer than 10 fantasy points to a quarterback in a single contest (Week 2 against Terrelle Pryor), and they’ve surrendered 15 or more fantasy points in seven of their nine games this year. In other words, they’re a quarterback streaming dream.

You can take advantage of that. Take a look at the chart to see Jacksonville’s final games through Week 16:

11Arizona CardinalsCarson Palmer
12Houston TexansCase Keenum
13Cleveland BrownsJason Campbell
14Houston TexansCase Keenum
15Buffalo BillsE.J. Manuel
16Tennessee TitansRyan Fitzpatrick

This approach would more than likely leave a Week 15 hole, where you could potentially play E.J. Manuel (not shown above because he’s owned in over 10 percent of leagues). However, taking the gamble that these quarterbacks would automatically be available the week prior – or even two weeks prior – to a matchup against Jacksonville is risky in and of itself. That’s why it may be more beneficial to look at two passers and use them in a quarterback committee.

Fitzum: The Keenum and Fitzpatrick Combo

Because Keenum and Fitzpatrick have more upside than Carson Palmer, and because they each have one more favorable matchup from here on out, they could very well be the two passers you ride through the rest of your fantasy season.

That’s right – Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Fitzum) could bring you home the fantasy football gold.

You could play either of them this week (Indianapolis vs. Oakland), Keenum in Week 12 (Jacksonville), Fitzpatrick in Week 13 (Indianapolis), Keenum in Week 14 (Jacksonville), Keenum in Week 15 (Indianapolis) and Fitzpatrick in Week 16 (Jacksonville).

If Keenum is already owned in your league, a simple trade will probably do the trick - the quarterback market is saturated, and most teams aren't in need of one. A bench player could work. Fitzpatrick should be available, especially because he just took back the starting role this week.

Fitzum. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you stream the quarterback position.