Week 4 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: London Calling for Ryan Fitzpatrick
With the way that Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, and Tyrod Taylor have kicked off the 2015 NFL season, there are now some happy fantasy football owners who drafted those quarterbacks late or snagged them from the waiver wire post-draft.
That also, unfortunately, means that three intriguing streaming options are probably off your waiver wire for the near future -- if not the whole season.
Such is the streaming.
Of course, Palmer's Week 4 matchup isn't exactly ideal (a home game against the St. Louis Rams), but both Dalton and Taylor are in good spots yet again. If you have them or can get them, it's hard to argue against rolling with them again.
However, if your waiver wire is drier than most, consider these four guys for Week 4.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr had a rough rookie season, according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, our measure of how many points above or below expectation-level a player performs. Last year, Carr owned a Passing NEP of -40.94, which means that he lost the Raiders more than 40 points of expected scoring on his drop backs. That was better than only fellow rookie Blake Bortles' super-awful mark of -97.97. Carr's Passing NEP through three weeks of this year is 31.28, which ranks 7th in the NFL. That's a 72-point turnaround from last year.
In Week 4, Carr faces the reeling Chicago Bears, and our algorithm projects him to finish as the 10th-highest scoring fantasy passer on the week. Chicago ranks 31st in passing defense this year so far, according to our Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play metrics. Carr is on the upswing, and the Bears are, well, still on the downswing at best, making him a primo streaming option for Week 4.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps on keepin' on, and that allowed me to shoehorn in a reference to the second-best album ever in the title. He's never really a threat for a monster game, but odds are that he'll give you something you can work with, especially with Brandon Marshall around. The Jets own a middle-of-the-road team total this week (21.25 points), but Miami ranks 30th in our adjusted, per-play pass defense metrics. Conversely, they're 11th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, so they're more beatable through the air, which was the case last season as well. In addition, they have given up at least 21 fantasy points to quarterbacks in two straight games. That's not a trend, but when they haven't played Kirk Cousins, they've been vulnerable to fantasy production.
Eric Decker was a game-time call in Week 3, which is probably a good sign for his Week 4 status. If he's a full-go, then that just makes the matchup even sweeter for Fitzpatrick.
Ryan Mallett, Houston Texans
Ryan Mallett's metrics aren't very nice, and his Passing NEP of -2.36 means he's taken points off the board for Houston on his 113 drop backs. However, he's by no means a terrible streaming play, especially if the Taylors and Daltons of the world are being hoarded by Tony Romo and Drew Brees owners.
Mallett ranks 14th in our projections for this weekend, and despite playing both Sam Bradford and Brandon Weeden, the Falcons rank just 21st in our per-play pass defense efficiency metrics. Sure, they're eighth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but that doesn't reflect their play in terms of advanced metrics. The potential return of Arian Foster could also help take pressure off of Mallett and the apparently unstoppable DeAndre Hopkins.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Colin Kaepernick is bad. Like, terrible bad. Like, they-should-consider-playing-Blaine Gabbert-instead bad. And his Week 3 performance was dangerously close to "never-again" territory. But the dude finished 26th at quarterback (I'm fully aware that's not a good ranking) while throwing for 67 yards and 4 interceptions.
His 47 rushing yards and rushing touchdown were enough to elevate him from a negative total to a still-bad ranking. I'd be willing to bet that he won't manage negative passing points in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers, who are expected to dominate as 8.5-point favorites. Green Bay does rank eighth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, but you aren't rolling out Colin Kaepernick and expecting a 300-yard passing game.
San Francisco owns a team total (based on Vegas lines) of just 19.5 points, but -- understandably -- the teams with the biggest totals have top-tier quarterbacks (and Tyrod Taylor). Even if the 49ers don't hit paydirt often in Week 4, Kaepernick's rushing floor (he has at least 41 rushing yards in 6 straight games dating back to last season) makes him a worthwhile streamer if you can't get ahold of some of the less-scary options.