Week 2 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Trusting Andy Dalton Again
Well, it was an up-and-down performance from the collective top fantasy quarterbacks in Week 1.
Sure, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Drew Brees finished in or around the back half of the top-12 in most scoring settings, so their performances certainly didn't kill your fantasy squads. The same can't be said for Peyton Manning owners.
But more importantly, near the top of the Week 1 leaderboard were guys like Carson Palmer, Marcus Mariota, and Alex Smith, all potentially available on your league waiver wire entering the opening weekend.
So which waiver-wire talents this have a chance to put up top-12 numbers in Week 2?
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton pieced together a solid Week 1 outing against the Oakland Raiders, tossing 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. In Week 2, Dalton squares off against the San Diego Chargers, who allowed a fairly similar stat line to Matthew Stafford: 246 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Chargers did pick Stafford twice, though, but Dalton should still be able to perform in Week 2.
In terms of our Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric, which compares how a team performed relative to expectation-level, the Chargers ended the week ranked 21st in pass defense, despite their two interceptions. Dalton's Bengals are 3.5-point home favorites with a 45.5 over/under, surprisingly the fourth-highest total on the week. You want to target Dalton in wins (I know how that sounds), as he's got 73 touchdowns in 41 career wins compared to 26 in 23 losses. He also owns an Adjusted Yards per Attempt mark of 7.48 in victories compared to just 5.24 in losses.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
Mariota was a baller in Week 1, leading all passers in Passing NEP per drop back (at a completely unsustainable yet still awesome 1.10 points per drop back) and had a pretty historic NFL debut. He probably won't toss 4 touchdowns on 16 attempts in Week 2 (or ever again), but against the Cleveland Browns, he should be able to perform well enough.
Tennessee is a 1-point road favorite against the Browns, who finished Week 1 ranked 24th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play despite limiting Ryan Fitzpatrick to 179 yards and an interception. On the flip side, Fitzpatrick maintained a 12th-ranked yards per attempt of 7.46 and tossed 2 touchdowns, so Mariota could have plenty of opportunities to be efficient yet again. Now, he's still a rookie and this is a road game, so you don't want to get overconfident. But Mariota has shown that he can have a high NFL ceiling already.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor might be a thing this year. Of course, you can't exactly trot him out in any matchup, but against a beatable New England Patriots secondary, he's worth a streaming look if you can't find a more promising play. The Pats ended Week 1 ranked 26th in our adjusted per-play passing defense metrics, after seeing Ben Roethlisberger tally 351 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
I'm not comparing Taylor to Roethlisberger, but Taylor's rushing upside -- his 41 rushing yards tied with Colin Kaepernick for most at the position in Week 1 -- can replace a passing touchdown in standard scoring formats. Buffalo's defense -- which shut down the Colts in Week 1 --- should be a troublesome enough matchup for the Patriots' offense (there's no spread in the game, so it should be tight) that Taylor and the offense are competitive throughout. That's worth noting because, until he proves it, playing from behind may not be best for Taylor even though he did finish second among quarterbacks in Passing NEP per drop back (0.63) in Week 1.
Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams
This recommendation, of course, isn't really for the shallow-leaguers, but Nick Foles isn't in a terrible spot. Last year, Washington managed to post the third-worst passing defense since 2000, according to our Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play metric. Sure, they limited Ryan Tannehill to 226 yards and a touchdown pass, but in Week 2, they will be without Chris Culliver, who has been suspended one game for an incident that occurred in March of 2014 though he did play in Week 1.
Anyway, Foles was 3 yards shy from the 300 mark and added a passing touchdown to his tally against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. Plus, the Rams were without Todd Gurley, Tre Mason, and Brian Quick (who was a healthy scratch). As 3.5-point road favorites in Washington, an atmosphere that wasn't exactly daunting in Week 1, Foles is worth a long look in deeper leagues.