3 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming Options for Week 4
Let's get right down to it and look at quarterback streaming options for your season-long and DFS lineups.
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 potentially productive quarterbacks in good matchups off the waiver wire is often doable. For some roster constructions, it can even be optimal.
Sure, you won't have the luxury of setting it and forgetting it with Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback, but when the top-end signal-callers draw a tough matchup, their upside can oftentimes be matched by a waiver-wire option in a more favorable situation.
Throughout the season, this column should, will, and must be your go-to resource for identifying quarterbacks to stream in a pinch. Here are three quarterbacks rostered in fewer than roughly 50% of Yahoo leagues who are in solid spots this week.
In review, Week 3's column was mostly successful. Sam Darnold chugged his way to the QB5 performance and Derek Carr continued his streak of QB1 performances. Daniel Jones was fine (QB20), but didn't throw for any touchdowns and was likely hampered by both Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard leaving with hamstring injuries. The only dud was Teddy Bridgewater, who managed 24 rushing yards but zero passing touchdowns.
It was, thankfully, a light week for quarterback injuries. Justin Herbert jammed his hand but did not miss a play, so he should be fine. Justin Fields, thankfully not a recommended stream in this column last week, injured his hand. With Fields questionable and Andy Dalton "week-to-week," it's possible Nick Foles starts for the Chicago Bears this week, but don't even think about it.
Let's aim for more streaming goodness in Week 4!
Sam Darnold, Panthers
Roster Percentage: 21%
FanDuel Price: $7,200
It's officially time you remove any pre-2021 Sam Darnold bias you brought into the season. While he's not a perfect player, he's clearly thriving without Adam Gase. Wouldn't we all?
More importantly, Darnold is the QB12 in fantasy football through three weeks. The Carolina Panthers have the seventh-highest Neutral Situation Pass Rate. According to numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) model, Carolina is eighth in Passing Offense NEP while Darnold himself impressively ranks ninth in Passing NEP per drop back.
Now the Carolina Panthers head to Jerry World for what projects to be a high-scoring affair against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas grades out as a mid-pack pass defense in terms of according to Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play through three weeks. This game also carries a strong 50.5-point total.
Darnold is floating his fantasy line with three rushing touchdowns through the first three weeks. While that average isn't sustainable, it's clearly a part of his arsenal and raises his weekly ceiling. With Christian McCaffrey sadly out with a hamstring injury, it's possible we see the Panthers pass even more than they have been, allowing opportunities for more passing yards and scrambles this week.
Darnold is a locked-in streamer until further notice and provides a cheaper quarterback option to attack the Cowboys/Panthers game in daily formats.
Taylor Heinicke, Football Team
Roster Percentage: 6%
FanDuel Price: $7,400
These are not your grandmother's recommended quarterback streamers. It's only Week 4, and we're already getting weird.
And yet, Taylor Heinicke is not as off the board as he seems on the surface. Even though he didn't start Week 1, he's averaging more fantasy points per game than Ryan Tannehill, Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Trevor Lawrence, and others this year.
We now have a five-game sample size in which Heinicke has played at least 35% of the team's offensive snaps dating back to last season. Across that sample (despite two not being starts), he's averaging 4.8 carries, 22.4 rushing yards, and 0.4 rushing touchdowns per game. That rushing value alone should keep him on the streaming radar until further notice.
But there's more to glom onto here as well. Heinicke's only taken five sacks across those five games, helping keep drives alive. His weapon corps of Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Logan Thomas, J.D. McKissic, and Dyami Brown is versatile and explosive.
Washington is quietly 10th in Neutral Situation Pass Rate and now faces an Atlanta Falcons defense that's 22nd in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. With a high 48.5 game total, there's potential for a #badteamshootout in Atlanta. There's plenty of meat on the bone for Heinicke as a streamer and contrarian DFS play this week.
Jacoby Brissett, Dolphins
Roster Percentage: 2%
FanDuel Price: $6,500
If you thought Taylor Heinicke was weird, I was just getting started. Skydivers, bungee jumpers, and adrenaline junkies looking for a rush can get off the walls and stream Jacoby Brissett this week.
While it's not for the faint of heart, you'll notice he checks the box we're always looking for in streaming quarterbacks -- rushing ability. In his first start of the season last week, Brissett rumbled his way to 37 yards and a touchdown on the ground. That'll work!
According to Pro Football Reference, over his career, we surprisingly have a 33-game sample in which Brissett has played at least 85% of his team's offensive snaps. Across that sample, Brissett has quietly rushed for 20+ yards 11 times, and he's rushed for 9 touchdowns as well. Despite not starting, Frank Reich used Brissett as a short-area battering ram last year, which netted Brissett an additional three touchdowns on the ground.
Last week's passing numbers look paltry, but there's some additional context needed. For one, the Las Vegas Raiders rank tenth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. It was Brissett's first start in this new offense, and Will Fuller made his team debut as well. The Miami Dolphins were four-point road underdogs.
This week should be a bit better. The Dolphins are 1.5-point home favorites against the Indianapolis Colts. Indy's defense grades well against the run (14th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play), but a measly 30th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. That creates a funnel for Brissett to exploit. Even with Brissett playing over half the team's snaps so far, Miami ranks ninth in Neutral Situation Pass Rate.
The Colts just gave up 56 rushing yards to Ryan Tannehill last week. The risk-averse should beware, but with a good home matchup, solid weapons and rushing ability, Brissett is a legitimate 2QB-league play, desperation streamer and DFS punt in Week 4.