Week 5 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Trusting Alex Smith
This week, there aren't many breaking stories about quarterback injuries to free up potential streaming options, and few teams are pegged with a high projected point total from Vegas lines.
But that doesn't mean there aren't streaming targets on the waiver wire heading into Week 5.
In fact, these four guys should be able to do the trick.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith hasn't really taken control of a potential-filled Kansas City offense, but there's still some merit for the Alex Smith apologist in Week 5. Kansas City has the highest implied point total on the slate (27.25 points) aside from New England, Atlanta, and Green Bay.
They're 10-point home favorites against a Bears team that ranks 29th in our Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric, which compares how a pass defense performs relative to expectation level and is adjusted for opponent strength. All that is to say that they're a beatable secondary, and the Chiefs should put points on the board.
Smith comes in as our 12th-ranked fantasy quarterback this week given the matchup, making him a safe option for quarterback streamers.
Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
Sam Bradford was off the streaming list for the first few weeks of the season because he was owned on too many teams, but the fantasy football community has soured on him. He's now available in roughly half of ESPN.com leagues. That's a bit higher than we generally look toward for streaming recommendations, but we shouldn't overlook such a fantastic potential option because of semantics.
Bradford is facing New Orleans, who has given up more points to fantasy quarterbacks than all but one team and ranks last in the league in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Bradford is our ninth-ranked quarterback this week. If he's owned in your league, then Smith is a valid target, but in case he's free, Bradford is hard to ignore in Week 5.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Let's just jump back to that Bears-Chiefs game, why don't we? Jay Cutler and the Bears have a low, low team total (17.25 points), but the Chiefs rank 19th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, Martellus Bennett is absorbing receptions, and there's a chance Alshon Jeffery returns in Week 5.
Chicago is a 10-point underdog. That's usually bad news bears for a fantasy quarterback, but with a pass-catching back in Matt Forte and even with 1.3 projected interceptions, Cutler can put up fantasy stats.
Cutler grades out as our 18th-ranked quarterback for Week 5. If Smith, Bradford, and Joe Flacco are unavailable (the latter two are owned in about half of ESPN.com leagues), then Cutler could pile on some yardage for your fantasy squad while in catch-up mode -- even if the scores aren't there and the picks are -- against the most generous defense to fantasy quarterbacks through Week 4.
Michael Vick, Pittsburgh Steelers
Michael Vick comes into the week as our 15th-ranked fantasy passer, but it's understandable to be hesitant given his disastrous outing in Week 4. Still, the matchup is promising enough. The Chargers are favored by three points at home, but they rank 15th in our Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, not a lethal pass defense.
They're 24th in the rushing version of that metric, however, which should play a part in allowing the Steelers to move the football. Even in the poor Week 4 performance -- 124 passing yards and 1 touchdown -- Vick was able to add 33 yards on the ground. He's projected for 40 rushing yards in Week 5, equivalent to a passing touchdown in most formats. The defense isn't scary enough to expect another debacle, and the rushing upside should give him a usable floor.