Streaming Quarterbacks: Week 1 Targets
It doesn’t feel like the Super Bowl was seven months ago. So much has happened within and outside of our football world. The storylines between the two have merged, and highlight the multitude of emotions surrounding the NFL. Perennial descriptors for an upcoming NFL season are it’s going to be ‘wild’ or ‘a rollercoaster’. It’s not a stretch to think that 2020 will set the standard for 'wild' as society and sports continue to collide in front of us.
While we watch the games, our focus will be on the quarterbacks. Specifically, the low-owned passers in fantasy-friendly situations. Another saying that gets used on a yearly basis is that the position is deep. From rookies to established veterans, we’re overloaded with options as the season marches forward. Each week presents a new set of matchups for offenses to exploit boosting a streaming candidate into the QB1 discussion. Prior to weekly waivers, I’ll be using my process to identify the streaming quarterbacks likely on the waiver wire in the best position to return increased production.
Last season, my weekly recommendations resulted in 23 QB1 plays with nine players finishing as either the overall QB1 or QB2 for the week. The cumulative picks averaged 19.1 PPG equating to a QB10 seasonal finish. To summarize, the aspects/stats I consider include:
- 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed – A rolling average of defensive points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. We won’t have any data from this season until Week 3, but defenses susceptible to aerial attacks will be prioritized here.
- Neutral Passing Rate – Passing rate while teams are within one score of each other gives us some indication of how teams would prefer to play. We need quarterbacks passing not just between the 20’s but in the red zone as well. QBs with naturally high passing volume will be prioritized.
- Vegas Betting Lines – It’s not perfect, but game totals and betting lines give us an idea of which offenses to target. Whether it be due to pace of play or offensive firepower, a top-projected team favored to win will be highly considered each week.
- Pace of Play – I mentioned it as a part of the betting lines, but I wanted to highlight this component specifically. Five of the teams in the Top 10 for plays per game also finished in the Top 10 for points per game. Any team favoring an up-tempo scheme should be considered in their weekly pool.
- Home Teams – Homefield advantage has a lesser impact in these COVID times, but teams forced to travel have shown a propensity to underwhelm. It’s a bit more qualitative than the other metrics I’ll incorporate but should be acknowledged in the right context.
I’ll be using roster data from Yahoo! and a minimum 40% roster rate to build the initial pool of streaming candidates. From there, I’ll pare down the list until we have the best options for fantasy managers to place claims on for the following week. But first, we’ll look into the latest injuries and if there are any additional defensive situations we can leverage.
Key Defensive Injuries
It’s Week 1 and, luckily, injuries are at a minimum. But it’s important to recognize their impact. The Texans defensive front without J.J. Watt went from averaging 15.8 pressures and collecting 1.8 solo sacks per game to 14.3 pressures and 1.3 solo sacks during his recovery. The same was true for Miami’s pass defense. Once Xavien Howard was sidelined for the season after aggravating a knee injury, their secondary alone jumped from allowing 136.1 yards per game to 181.5.
Keep in mind, one man doesn’t make a defense. In addition, defensive matchups aren’t predictive on a week-to-week basis. But highlighting a defense’s weakness adds another route for a quarterback to succeed. I’ll be tracking the most significant defensive injuries after each week with some thoughts on how we can leverage the impact as we head into the following slate of games.
Top Streaming Picks
Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers) vs Raiders
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