With the fantasy playoffs only one week away for some, quarterback streaming takes on a new facade for Week 12. Throughout the season, my waiver wire quarterback suggestions were geared toward helping readers snag safe, high-floor options who wouldn’t exactly win the week for you, but give you solid production so the rest of your team carries you.
But this week, that all gets thrown out the window, as upside is our objective. If you are still streaming at this point, you are likely fighting to get in the playoffs and need a one week winner at fantasy’s highest scoring position. So this week’s waiver wire quarterbacks will present great upside, but could just as easily flop and end your season.
If this does not describe you, say you are safely in the playoffs but need a bye week or injury replacement for the week, then we've still got you covered with some safer options in the quick hit section.
Playoffs or Bust
Mike Glennon (Owned in 1.8% of ESPN.com leagues)
Westfield High School’s (my hometown) pride and joy is my favorite stream option this week, as he combines his high-floor with week-winning upside. The high-floor is evident in that Glennon has only two games of 15 or less fantasy points in his seven starts.
This is likely due to the fact that aside from a couple ill-advised 50/50 balls into double coverage (that Vincent Jackson tends to pull down), Glennon has played surprisingly well for a rookie, and boasts an 11:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
However, Glennon is this week’s ideal streamer due to his upside, and that comes from his matchup against the Lions. Detroit has been one of the worse pass defenses in the NFL of late, ranking 25th in the league when adjusted for schedule in Defensive Passing Net Expected Points per pass (Click here to learn more about NEP). This is likely due to a nonexistent pass rush, as the Lions 16 sacks is the third worst mark in the league.
Due to this lack of pressure, quarterbacks have had all day to throw on Detroit, and have posted almost 25 points per game in their last four outings. Expect Glennon to capitalize on the matchup and score around 20 points. Or he could get four, but I like to be optimistic.
Josh McCown (2.3%)
McCown had his worst game as a starter from a fantasy perspective against the Ravens, but that was more due to game flow and apocalyptic weather than a bad day passing. The journeyman has continued his miraculous play on the field, as his Passing NEP per Pass of .32 trails only Peyton Manning and Nick Foles (small, but growing, sample alert).
McCown’s upside this week stems not only from his excellent play in a quarterback-friendly system, but a juicy matchup with the Rams. St. Louis is the NFL’s eighth-least efficient defense against the pass, and will have a very hard time covering both Brandon Marshall and Alson Jeffery.
Despite being owned in less than three percent of leagues, McCown will be in the QB1 discussion as long as he’s starting.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (1.8%)
Just like McCown, Fitzmagic has excelled while filling in for the team’s injured starting quarterback, ranking ninth in Passing NEP per Pass. This has translated directly to his fantasy success, as he has scored at least 20 points in two starts.
The veteran has yet to top 275 passing yards in a game this year, but has the chance to win weeks with his rushing abilities. Fitzpatrick has rushed for at least 26 yards in three games this year, and scored in two of them.
The Titans will travel to Oakland whose pass defense, while improved, still gives up over 18 points per game to opposing quarterbacks and fails to crack the top 20 in terms of efficiency. A mediocre passing day and a rushing touchdown is all you need for this waiver wire quarterback to pay off and get you into the playoffs.
Eli Manning (80.7%)
If any one of these quarterbacks has the potential to put up a four-point dud, I’d bet on Eli. But instead of dwelling on the fact that he is on pace for 33 turnovers, let’s focus on the positives.
The Giants offense has looked much improved during their four-game win streak, likely due to a rejuvenated run game lead by Andre Brown. But Manning has also improved his play, only throwing two interceptions in the Giants past four outings as Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride has geared the offense to more efficient throws, of the short and intermediate variety.
Combine that with a matchup against Dallas, and a big game could be brewing. The Cowboys have been average against the pass all year when you adjust for strength of schedule, but the injuries keep mounting up and the absence of Sean Lee is sure to take a toll. Also, games between these two teams are generally high scoring, and that should be the case once again this week, as Vegas set the over/under to 46.5, one of the highest totals of the week.
Eli had his best game of the season (28.8 fantasy points) against his division rival in week one, and could come close to those numbers once again this week.
Warning*- Eli Manning could easily ruin your week, use at your own discretion.
Case Keenum (17.8%)
Despite an interesting benching last week, Coach Gary Kubiak has said that Keenum will remain the starter this week. With a matchup against the third-worst pass defense in the league in Jacksonville, who allowed 419 yards and two touchdowns to the immortal Carson Palmer last week, Keenum could go off this week.
The fact that he was benched without much reason scares me off a bit, especially if a playoff spot is on the line. But if you are really desperate, not many widely available quarterbacks have a higher upside than Case.
Carson Palmer (8.9%)
Speaking of the immortal Carson Palmer, he always seems to be hanging on to the edge of fantasy relevance, and could pay dividends this week. In his past three games, he has a 6:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio and is coming off his first 400 yard game of the season. The matchup should also aid Palmer, as the Cardinals play host to the Colts who have given up nine passing touchdowns in their last four games.
Scott Tolzien (1.6%)
Tolzien is purely a matchup play, as his two games as the Packers quarterback have not given me any confidence in his passing ability. But sometimes, a good matchup is all you need. The Vikings rank 30th in Defensive PNEP per pass when adjusting for schedule, and have allowed 20.5 points per game to opposing fantasy quarterbacks.
Matt McGloin (0.2%)
If you feel lucky enough to start McGloin, you should try your hand in Vegas.