This is continuing to exist as a weekly column, because I've been surprisingly good at picking guys who are in line for big weeks (just ask Andy Dalton and Gary Barnidge last week!). This week, a lot of my performers are based on matchups, but if you're streaming, then you want to play matchups anyway, right? Anyway, here are my picks, and hope this helps!
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland. If your starting quarterback was Big Ben and you need help now, see if you can snatch Carr up for this week. He's had consecutive 300 yard games, and he gets to play the Bears this week. The Bears are who we thought they were, and that's a team with no apparent defense. Derek Carr should be in line for a huge week against Chicago this week.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago. If someone in your league foolishly dropped Bennett in your league, grab him and start him this week. A tight end facing Oakland is about as effective as Rob Gronkowski facing anybody so far this season, so hedge your bets on Bennett this week.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego. Gates' suspension is almost over, and that means that if somebody foolishly dropped him in your league, they'll be upset when you pick him up before they get around to it. Gates was the #2 TE in fantasy last year, and he returns next week. Add immediately.
Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle. That's right, I'm recommending that you add mini-beast-mode if you are in dire need of running back help this week. Lynch's chances to play have been described as 50-50 for Monday night by Pete Carroll. If Lynch misses time, Fred Jackson should take over in the passing game, with Rawls projecting to take over rushing duties. He's worth more in standard leagues than in PPR, but if you have Marshawn Lynch on your roster, Rawls is a must-own player right now.
Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo. This is largely a speculative move. The Bills have said McCoy might rest this week. If he does, Williams looks to slot into a starting role. He's also scored a TD in every single game so far this season. Check your depth charts and injury reports, and react accordingly.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati. Andy Dalton is looking good this season, and Marvin Jones is back at the top of his game. He was forgotten in a lot of leagues this year and went undrafted more often than he should have. If he's sitting on waivers in your league, grab him now.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami. Matthews is a guy that has sneakily put up some pretty solid numbers so far this season; he's outperformed guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Calvin Johnson so far in PPR leagues. With DeVante Parker looming in Miami, Matthews could slow down soon, but as streaming player, he's a great bet for now.
Indianapolis Colts d/st. The Colts face Jacksonville this week, and could be a nice spot start if you're in need of a streamer for this week. Bortles has generated some unsightly turnovers, and Indy might be just good enough to take advantage.
Green Bay Packers d/st. The Packers face the 49ers. Why are they called the 49ers? because they're the 49th best team in the NFL so far this season. If you're looking for a speculative spot start, Green Bay's defense could outperform projections.
Hope this helps, and happy streaming!
Week three of the NFL season is upon us, and there are some significant injuries to counter heading into the week. Romo and Brees are both banged up, which means some teams will need a new starting quarterback. The season is picking up, and patterns are starting to emerge. This makes it easier to suggest streaming options. Here are some picks:
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals. If you lost Romo or Brees and Dalton is available, snag him (Tyrod Taylor is my go-to guy here, but you already know I love him). Dalton is showing some nice progress in Hue Jackson's offense, and while the Ravens defense has been surprisingly strong this season, Dalton could put up good numbers moving forward. He's worth a grab on most teams. Just keep in mind that the Bengals do have multiple prime time games this season, and you may want to sit Dalton in them given Cincinnati's history in that setting. This week though, Dalton is your guy.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, NY Jets. Fitzpatrick may be a bit of a reach, but he has looked solid so far this season, and the Jets have said that he would remain the starter when Geno Smith returns from injury. If you need an option at quarterback and Dalton and Tyrod Taylor aren't available, Fitzpatrick may be your guy.
Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins. Jones had a breakout game in week two, looking far more effective than Alfred Morris out of the backfield. While Morris remains the number 1 RB in Washington, Jones could be a sneaky good flex play this week. If nothing else, he's worth a stash and grab this week if he's not on a roster.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons. With rookie running back Tevin Coleman dealing with a rib fracture, Freeman is the lead back in Atlanta for now. He will see significant carries and is worth starting in most leagues, especially if you lost Eddie Lacy for this week and someone beat you to James Starks, which brings me to....
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers. Eddie Lacy may miss time this week, which makes Starks the lead back in Green Bay if it does happen. He should put up decent RB2/flex numbers, so grab him and start him if needed.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Baltimore Ravens. I'm a huge Taliaferro fan, and now that he's healthy, he should be on your roster. He might not eat into Forsett's workload too much yet, but by the end of the season, he could have a significant load. He's worth a stash for future weeks.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami Dolphins. Matthews has looked solid so far this season, and has greatly outperformed Kenny Stills. Matthews looks to have carved out a significant role in the Dolphins offense, and is worth having on your roster for this week and in the future if you need help at WR.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns. This one is largely a speculative suggestion. However, in week 1, Tyler Eifert dominated against the Raiders. In week 2, Crockett Gillmore had a dominant game, against the Raiders. This week, a Browns tight end could have a strong week against Oakland. If you're grasping at straws, there are worse options than Barnidge this week.
Seahawks D/ST. I'm not saying that the Seahawks defense is available in your league. If there are intelligent people in your league, they are not. That being said, start them this week against an anemic Chicago offense with no Jay Cutler. Kam Chancellor's return suggests a possible return to dominance for Seattle. If you have a chance to pick them up cheaply, now is the time.
Falcons D/ST. The Cowboys could be in for a very rough game with injuries starting to pile up. I expect the Falcons to destroy Atlanta this week defensively, and put up some solid fantasy numbers. Brandon Weeden was a turnover machine in Cleveland. While he will generate fewer turnovers in Dallas, the potential is still there. If you're streaming defenses, this might be a unit to use.
Hope this helps, and good luck in week 3!
Now it's time for week two of my weekly streamer series. My fantasy advice in week one was on point in most cases. My defenses struggled a bit, and my "sneaky start" column was a bust, so I'm going to discontinue that column and focus on my "weekly streamers" column moving forward. Last week, I suggested Tyrod Taylor (14 for 19 for 195 yards and a td), DeAngelo Williams (21 carries for 127 yards, 1 catch for 5 carries), Danny Woodhead (12 rushes for 42 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 catches for 20 yards), Fred Jackson (3 rushes for 13 yards, 1 catch for 16 yards), John Brown (4 catches for 46 yards and a td), Kamar Aiken (1 catch for -1 yard, ouch!), Heath Miller (8 catches for 84 yards), Delanie Walker (3 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown), the Bucs Defense (terrible start, allowed 42 points), Bengals defense (decent start against the Raiders), Miami Defense (solid start against the Redskins), and the Browns defense (bad start against the Jets). I had a few misses, but overall I was on target.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo. I believe in Tyrod Taylor! While he didn't put up huge numbers against Indy, he also didn't make any big mistakes. He wasn't even sacked once! This week, against the Patriots, Taylor could put up better numbers. The Patriots have some good tools on defense, but they also have a lot of holes. Taylor could have a nice week.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit. Ebron had a great game week 1, and may finally be finding his stride in the NFL. His level of production won't remain as high as it was last week (there's no way Ebron leads Detroit in targets every week), but Ebron is still looking like a decent option if needed. This could be the start of a good season for him.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati. Eifert had a breakout game in week 1. He's finally healthy, and he's finally the undisputed #1 TE in Cincinnati. He had a huge game week 1 (outperforming all tight ends other than Gronk), and while I don't expect that level of production from him this week, he could still have a solid game against the Chargers. Worth a start if needed.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh. last week I predicted that Miller would have his highest reception total of the season in either week 1 or week 2. Last week, Miller had 8 receptions for 84 yards, and might have another big week this week. His production will slow as guys return to the Pittsburgh offense, but for now, he's a nice plug-and-play.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington. Someone in your league already has Garcon most likely. If they don't, add him now. He'll be the WR 1 in a Washington offense that will have to throw the ball regularly to stay in games. Highly recommended.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis. Moncrief came in with 6 catches, 46 yards week 1, and TY Hilton is dinged up. This means that Moncrief will see an increase in targets this week. He was hyped as a sleeper heading into the season, and is starting to produce already. Pick him up and use him if needed!
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas. With Dez Bryant injured, if Williams is available in your league, go get him. He'll take over WR1 duties in Dallas, and could put up WR2 or WR3 numbers for your fantasy team.
Rueben Randle, WR, NY Giants. I recommended Randle last week as well, and he was a mild disappointment (I hit on most of the players I recommended, so bear with me). Cruz should miss this week again, making Randle the #2 WR in the offense once again. He still has the potential for a big week if you need to roll the dice on somebody.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona. With Andre Ellington injured, someone is going to have to pick up the slack in Arizona. Chris Johnson may start, but David Johnson has shown off some explosiveness with a 55 yard touchdown reception week 1. Johnson is worth a flex start if you're in need of help.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee. Sankey had a huge week 1 performance for Tennessee. Yes, this was against a struggling Tampa Bay unit, but the Bucs have a better defense than they often get credit for. Sankey could finally be finding his rhythm, and could be a nice flex option. Just be aware that Sankey is still a gamble given his inconsistency last season.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh. I'm starting Williams again this week following his performance against the Patriots. He had an outstanding game week 1, and should have one last solid performance against the 49ers. He won't likely replicate last week's statline, but should still put up some decent numbers.
Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego. I suggested Woodhead last week, and he had a huge game. The Bengals defense looked solid last week against the Raiders, but did give up two receiving touchdowns to fullback Marcel Reece. Woodhead will be used heavily in the passing game, so he could be a nice start against Cincinnati.
St. Louis Rams Defense. The Rams get one of the best matchups of the entire week when they face the Washington Redskins. The Rams defense is dominant as it is, and against an anemic offense such as Washington's, expect the Rams defensive unit to put up some great numbers. Well worth starting.
Baltimore Ravens Defense. The Bengals just destroyed the Raiders, injuring Derek Carr's hand in the process. While Carr will likely play in week 2, the Raiders offense needs lots of work. Baltimore's defense should perform well against Oakland this week.
Extra points, a couple of guys worth a grab-and-stash:
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee. You've heard about his first game by now. Is he for real? Was last week a fluke? Grab him, play him if needed, but better yet, keep him on your bench for a week or two. Someone will trade for him if nothing else.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay. Jones is a guy that will be worth starting throughout this season. His two touchdown performance week 1 proves this. That being said, I don't quite trust him against the Seattle defense. He's going to have a decent season, but he might struggle this week.
Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo. Is Percy Harvin finally getting back to form, or was last week's performance a fluke? Harvin caught 5 passes (out of 5 targets) for 79 yards and a touchdown. If he's available in your league, stash him now. He showed some nice chemistry with Taylor, and could be useable down the stretch as long as he stays healthy.
Hope this helps, and good luck this week!
I've already given you a set of players to stream in week 1. Now I'll target a few guys that will likely be on a roster in your league already (and some who may not). These guys may be gambles, but they could provide you with some nice upside. The key word here is "gamble." These players may have a good game week 1, but they might also might burn you. Prepare accordingly.
Rueben Randle, WR, NYG. Rueben Randle is a guy that flashes potential every season. He's also systematically improved in every season of his young NFL career. Randle has a chance for a big game this week. Victor Cruz is still struggling with injury woes, and even if he plays week 1, he could be limited. Randle could be the #2 by default in this game. He's not a guy that will win your matchup on his own, but he projects as a nice flex play. There's some upside there.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chi. If you have Eddie Royal on your roster, start him this week. Alshonn Jeffery is banged up and Kevin White is out for the season. Royal has a very good chance to be the Bears leading receiver this week. He has history with Cutler; the two played together in Denver as rookies. He has also looked good during the preseason and offseason. Royal is a guy that might put up some nice numbers for you in week 1.
Darren McFadden, RB, Dal. Nobody has ever questioned Darren McFadden's raw talent. Everybody questions his ability to avoid injuries. McFadden is healthy, and from the sounds of it, will essentially be the Cowboys' starting running back in week 1. This backfield smells like a committee, but McFadden has the potential to deliver a big game in week 1 against the Giants. He's worth a speculative start, especially if you don't have better options. (SATURDAY UPDATE: Now it sounds as if Randle will start. McFadden is still worth a gamble if needed, but don't expect RB1 numbers from him).
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Mia. This could be the week that the Ryan Tannehill breakout begins. He's surrounded by offensive weapons. He's facing an extremely mediocre Redskins Defense. He's also at a stage in his career where he needs to take the next step in his development. I expect him to have a solid game against the Redskins. The only thing that might hold him back this week is if this game turns into a blowout; Miami could focus on running out the clock in the second half, bringing me to...
Lamar Miller, RB, Mia. If you're intelligent, you're already starting Miller in your league. If not, consider the odds that Miami blows out the Redskins. Those odds are good. What happens in a blowout? You run the ball a lot in the second half. What happens when you run the ball a lot in the second half? Your running back generally puts up nice fantasy numbers. Miller is worth a start in all formats this week. Start him.
Corey "Philly" Brown, WR, Car. Brown is a huge gamble. He could get you a ton of points, he could get you zero. However, the Panthers have essentially named him their WR1 for week 1. If you're looking for a cheap waiver-wire type gamble, snag Brown now. If nothing else, you can trade him after a big game or two.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Pit. The Steelers have a history of making at least two WRs fantasy relevant each season. With Antonio Brown drawing most of the attention from New England's defense in the passing game tonight (and with Martavis Bryant's suspension), Wheaton could be in for a big game in what could amount to a shoot-out. He's worth a spot start as a flex player tonight if needed. Final stat line: 3 catches, 55 yards.
Hope this helps, and good luck in week 1!
You probably remember when Marvin Jones broke out for four touchdowns against the New York Jets a couple of seasons ago. If you were lucky enough to add him off of waivers and started him, you're probably smiling right now. If your opponent added him and started him, you're probably still upset. Every single week, there are relevant players to be found on waivers in your fantasy league. These players (or defensive units) can sometimes make the difference between winning and losing a matchup, especially when your unit is struggling with injuries. Every week, I'll list a few guys (and probably multiple defensive units) that you can snag off of waivers in many leagues and plug into your lineups. If you have better options on your roster, start them. If you need guys to stream, here are some suggestions.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buf. The Bills are facing one of the best offenses in football, and Lesean McCoy is banged up. That means the Bills will have to throw the ball.....a lot. Luckily for Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor is a guy that can not only throw accurately , but can also rush effectively. He's not a well-known name, and this is his first NFL start, but he's looked good in preseason snaps and could be a big surprise in week 1. He's worth a start if you need someone.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pit. Did you draft Joique Bell, Lesean McCoy, or Le'Veon Bell with hopes of starting them? Do you expect Bell or McCoy to miss this week? Then you need a running back. Williams is stepping into the Pittsburgh offense and should fill a similar role to that played by Le'Veon Bell. Even though his best years are behind him, Williams still has the talent to be an effective running back when healthy. Right now he's healthy and has a big opportunity to play. Give him a shot if needed. Final stat line: 21 carries for 127 yards, 1 catch for 5 yards. If you started Williams, he probably got you 12 to 13 points. Not a bad spot start.
Danny Woodhead, RB, SD. Danny Woodhead is going to catch a lot of passes this year, and if he went undrafted in your league, step away from this article and add him immediately. I'll wait. Got him? Ok. Why start Woodhead this week? Melvin Gordon is still growing accustomed to the NFL, and Woodhead wil always remain an active weapon on passing downs. What does that mean? You've got yourself a nice flex play all season long now that you picked him up. Early in the year, Woodhead could surprise and see a larger amount of snaps than expected, putting him squarely in sleeper territory.
Fred Jackson, RB, Sea. I get it. Somebody drafted Fred Jackson in your league. Then he got cut and signed with Seattle. Then they cut him. I still think that Fred Jackson has fantasy value. Marshawn Lynch is getting up there in years and the Seahawks will likely want to preserve him for a playoff run. That means that if they can find a competent #2 RB, he'll see more of a time-share. That spells great success for Fred Jackson. While he won't win you a matchup, Jackson could get you 5 to 6 points a game with the potential for a TD (and double digit fantasy points). The Seahawks are already talking him up and say they expect to use him a lot, so if you're a gambler, Fred Jackson is your man.
John Brown, WR, AZ. Michael Floyd may not play week 1, and even if he does, he will likely be somewhat limited. That means that Carson Palmer will need somebody to throw to. They play the Saints, who could still be a strong offensive team even with the turnover in personnell that occurred this offseason, which means that Arizona will likely want to make the passing game a strong part of their attack. Brown has looked good all offseason, and even stayed with Carson Palmer for a while this summer. I expect Palmer and Brown to hit it off quickly, and if Floyd doesn't play this week, Brown could wind up putting up WR1/WR2 type of numbers this week. Well worth a gamble.
Kamar Aiken, WR, Bal. Who wants the #2 WR in a Marc Trestman offense? Anybody? Anybody?! Raise your hands right now. All of you. Do any of you remember Alshonn Jeffery under Lovie Smith? Unless you're a draft geek or a Bears fan, the answer is no. Why? Because he put up no significant numbers. Does anyone remember Jeffery under Marc Trestman? Raise your hands right now. Under Trestman, Jeffery developed into a borderline top 10 fantasy WR. With Perriman injured, Aiken takes the reigns as the #2 WR in Marc Trestman's offense, and he's on hardly anybody's fantasy rosters. Heck, he might not even be on his own fantasy team. However, he should be on yours if you have a spare roster spot. Aiken is the type of sneaky pickup that could wind up winning you some matchups early on. Plan accordingly.
Heath Miller, TE, Pit. Heath Miller used to be a pretty decent fantasy tight end. This week, he could still be. The Steelers are missing some key cogs in their offense, which means that Miller could see some extra looks this week. He's not a guy you want to start all season, but if you need a one week filler, Miller might be worth grabbing. My bold prediction for the week? Barring injuries, Miller will see his top number of receptions in a game in week 1 or week 2 this season. Final stat line: 8 catches for 84 yards, 8 to 16 fantasy points. If you look back on this post, I said that Miller would see his top number of receptions in a game this week or next week. 8 catches? That just might be it.
Delanie Walker, TE, Ten. WHY DOESN'T DELANIE WALKER GET ANY LOVE?!?!?! Walker was a top 10 fantasy tight end last season with Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, and Zach Mettenberger throwing him the ball. Think about that for a second. Now go add him if he's available in your league. NOW. I'll wait for a moment. Got him? Good. Now think about this for a second. Is Locker, Whitehurst, or Mettenberger a better quarterback than Mariota? Probably not. Even if you said yes, keep the following fact in mind. Mariota and Peyton share one huge thing. Both of them love throwing to tight ends. Walker will be a nice option for Mariota in a Titans passing game largely devoid of options (Wright is decent but not elite, and Green-beckham will be great, but needs some time to develop). I expect Walker to start out as the #1 or #2 option in a Titans passing attack that will be playing from behind on many weeks. Walker has TE1 potential, and should be on your starting radar in week 1.
Tampa Bay D/ST I play in a league that defines rosters by cap space alone, meaning we have essentially no maximum roster size. I nominated the Bucs defense, and one member of my league immediately responded that "I hope you get stuck with them." I did too. The Bucs are a sneaky good defense that will have their share of terrible games but will also have their share of surprisingly good performances. They are capable of firing on all cylinders and putting up great numbers against struggling offenses. Tennessee has one of the most unsettled offensive units in the entire NFL. A rookie quarterback, a very undefined wr corps, questions at the RB position? The Bucs defense could put up some surprisingly good numbers this week. They're a gamble, but I trust them enough to take a chance on them in my own league this week. The Titans could put up some decent defensive numbers this week as well, but I expect the Bucs to be the defense to target in this matchup.
Cincinnati D/ST. Remember a time when the Bengals were always a top 10 defensive unit? That could happen again this year once the unit gets healthy. However, the Bengals don't have to get healthy to feast upon an anemic Oakland Raiders offense. Geno Atkins is back to form, and will once again establish himself as a dominant force along the defensive line. This unit will look great against Oakland in week 1.
Miami D/ST. Two words. Washington Redskins. Two more words. Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have one of the most unsettled offenses in football right now, and Kirk Cousins is not the answer. The Redskins are opening the season with a quarterback controversy, and this will divide their offense and distract their team. I expect an improved Miami defense to take full advantage of Washington and put up a dominant performance. They should be a good start this week.
Cleveland D/ST. The Cleveland defense is the one fantasy relevant unit on this Browns team. They have good weapons across the board, and are extremely capable at generating turnovers. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a decent quarterback for the Jets, but he is also known for throwing interceptions. Cleveland will take advantage of this, and the Browns defense will put up start-worthy numbers for your fantasy team. Plan accordingly.
Hope this helps, and good luck and week 1!
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