Week 12 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Josh McCown Revenge Game
The fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner, with most leagues kicking off the knockout tournament in the next two weeks. If you've been streaming quarterbacks all year, or are faced with a tough decision to pick up a replacement for one of the final bye week quarterbacks, you may need to stream the position to keep your postseason hopes alive.
Unfortunately for those of you in that situation, this week doesn't present a lot of great options among waiver wire quarterbacks. The matchups simply don't line up this week for the lesser-owned signal-callers, but there are a handful of options that may save the day.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers posted an impressive win this Sunday over Washington to move to 2-8 on the season, and they'll bring that confidence with them into what represents a revenge game for two key figures on the Tampa Bay sideline. Lovie Smith and Josh McCown were let go from the Bears over the last two years, and return to Soldier Field to face one of the worst defenses in football.
Smith's "revenge game" doesn't matter to us, but McCown's does. The veteran has thrown for nearly 600 yards over his two games after being plugged back into the lineup, along with 47 rushing yards. He's also found good chemistry with rookie wideout Mike Evans, which has added a new element to the Tampa Bay offense. This has led to four touchdown throws over the past two weeks, more than serviceable from a fantasy perspective.
The Bears allow the most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, according to ESPN.com scoring (per FFToday), and have the sixth-worst pass defense in the league according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) data. This is a perfect matchup for McCown to stick it to his old team for not keeping him around to back up Jay Cutler.
Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns
Brian Hoyer was horrible last week, but still posted decent fantasy-relevant numbers, going over 300 yards for the second time in three games. Despite his struggles, he's thrown a touchdown pass in all but two games this year, a number he's unlikely to add to this week considering the matchup he has and the roster changes for his offense.
The Browns take on the Falcons, who have the second-worst pass defense in our data and allow an above-average points per game total to opposing signal-callers. That's great news for Hoyer, who will be throwing to the newly reinstated Josh Gordon, who will make his season debut this week. Gordon played with a horrible supporting cast last year and still scored nine touchdowns and finished second in Reception NEP among all pass-catchers.
Cleveland may not air the ball out as often as they did last season, but when they do, there will be better weapons available for Hoyer to throw to. That makes him a viable streaming option in a plus matchup this weekend.
Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans
Zach Mettenberger flashed moments of brilliance on Monday Night Football this week against a relatively weak Pittsburgh Steelers pass defense, and gets another good opportunity in Week 12 against another Pennsylvania-based team with a suspect pass defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles get turnovers, which is something Mettenberger is not efficient enough to avoid, but they also allow fantasy points by the truckload to enemy passing attacks. Philly currently allows the fourth-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and have given up two or more touchdown throws in each of their last four games.
Mettenberger has thrown for a score in each of his starts, and has gone over 260 yards twice. He's got enough ability to move the ball against a weak defense, and if you're willing to stomach the turnovers he will almost certainly commit this weekend, the rookie should pay dividends as a waiver wire pickup.
Kyle Orton, Buffalo Bills
Prior to this past week's matchup with the best pass defense in football (the Dolphins), Kyle Orton had thrown for a touchdown in every start he made this season. His Week 12 matchup is nowhere near as difficult as the one he just faced, as the New York Jets are on the schedule for Buffalo this weekend.
The Jets have allowed two or more throws for touchdowns in all but one game this year, and that was against Ben Roethlisberger in Week 11. But Ben still posted 343 yards and a score, providing yet another good fantasy day against one of the league's weakest pass defenses.
Rex Ryan's team allows the second-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and have done so without discriminating against the quality of opponent. Orton is the best streaming option this week in terms of floor, he's only limited by a ceiling that will only be as high as the Jets are competitive in this game.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Thursday Night Football sucks. The Chiefs offense is impossible to predict. Alex Smith hasn't been all that great this season. But with no other options to offer for streaming recommendations, here we are, considering Smith as a possibility in a Thursday night game against the Raiders.
The Chiefs are on the road, so the hope is that they struggle to get off on the right foot against the Raiders and are forced to throw a bit. Oakland is the ninth-worst pass defense in the league according to our data, and have given up solid quarterback performances across the board this year.
Smith only has three total touchdowns in his last four games, which is hardly impressive, but his team is currently boasting one of the higher team totals according to the folks in Las Vegas, so if just one of his team's scores is credited to him, he'll likely pay off as a streaming option. Don't expect a lot from Smith, but if you're out of other options, he's worth a shot in Week 12.