Week 8 Fantasy Football Quarterback Streaming: Jay Cutler Is Good Again
The very foundation of fantasy football scoring is probably deserving of an overhaul, but until gun-slinging, interception-prone passers (or just downright bad quarterbacks) stop putting up usable fantasy totals, we can exploit the system as is.
That's not to say that all of the guys mentioned here are playing poorly. In fact, it's kind of the opposite, which is surprising in a lot of ways.
But whether these passers struggle with turnovers, overall bad metrics, or a poor reputation as a passer, they all make sense to plug-and-play in Week 8.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler was owned in fewer than 20 percent of ESPN.com before waivers processed this week, and that certainly makes him a streaming candidate. So does the fact that he's racked up at least 17 fantasy points in his past three games. Entering his bye week in Week 7, Cutler ranked 11th in the league in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), which compares players to expectation-level in terms of points added to their team's expected scoring. On a per-play basis, he ranked ninth among passers with at least 100 drop backs.
The Vikings look pretty solid against fantasy quarterbacks, but if we expunge their Week 1 and Week 4 outings (when Carlos Hyde dominated the game on the ground and when Peyton Manning was 2015 Peyton Manning) from their gamelog, we can see that they've allowed at least 16 fantasy points in each of their four other games this year. When adjusting for schedule strength, the Vikings do 11th in the league in pass defense, but Cutler a solid play from just about every other angle.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick can probably be penciled into this article each and every week, provided that the matchup isn't horrible. He's never going to be a high-owned player, he has two legitimate receiving threats, and the Jets are a good football team, meaning positive game scripts can help him to continue being an efficient passer -- provided he holds up his end of the bargain, of course. Through Week 7, Fitzpatrick ranks 15th among 32 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs this year in Passing NEP and is 14th in Passing NEP per drop back.
As for the matchup, that's right this week. The Raiders have given up at least 17 fantasy points in every game this year except when they played Peyton Manning (that's kind of a trend, by the way). They rank 28th in the league in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Fitzpatrick has hit at least 13 fantasy points in every contest, and he's topped 20 in two consecutive games, and Week 8 should be kind to him yet again.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
While Cutler makes more sense in this game, Teddy Bridgewater also makes some sense. He's been up-and-down (quite literally), and he's alternated between single-digit fantasy point outings and 15-plus-point outings. Coming off an 18-point game, he should be due for a clunker, but let's not be that naive. The Bears are 29th against fantasy quarterbacks, and they rank 31st in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP on a per-play basis.
Bridgewater hasn't been great, and his Passing NEP (0.37) ranks 29th among 32 passers with at least 100 drop backs. However, he's got a playmaker in Stefon Diggs and a red zone threat to throw to in Kyle Rudolph. The ceiling won't be high because of the volume, but he should be able to post a solid floor in Week 8.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Among 32 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs heading into Week 7, Jameis Winston ranked 27th in Passing NEP. He was one of just five quarterbacks with a score below zero (his was -2.81). As far as fantasy scoring goes, though, he's been kind of consistent, posting at least 12 fantasy points in each contest, a floor that won't demolish your fantasy team in deeper leagues.
He's coming off his best game as a fantasy scorer, topping 20 points on 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. Perhaps the biggest news from that game is that Mike Evans might be Mike Evans again, as the big-bodied receiver hauled in 8 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Vincent Jackson's knee injury doesn't appear to be serious, and things could really click for Winston in Week 8 against the Falcons, whose fantasy points against are skewed by some stingy outings against weak quarterbacks. That's not to suggest Winston is a fantasy force, but if it's a low-owned option you need who can get you some points, he might be the guy this week.