Streaming Quarterbacks: Three Optimal QBBC Combos
Streamers are planners.
True Quarterback By Waiver Wire (QBBWW) adherents are always scheming, examining, fretting, thinking three steps ahead of their league mates who plan to set it and forget it at the quarterback position in 2014.
Planning, always thinking beyond the coming week, is a vital part of being a successful quarterback streamer. It’s foundational, really, because we don’t have the luxury of simply plugging and playing the NFL’s best signal callers, no matter the competition.
And that’s OK, because quarterback production – much like defensive production – is largely replaceable.
I’ve already used 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed and fantasy points per attempt (FPAT) to identify three ideal Week 1 streaming options. You want to look well beyond the NFL’s opening week, however, so I’ve pieced together a trio of late-round quarterback committees (QBBC) whose schedules mesh well from start to finish.
All of these quarterbacks can be had in the 11th round of 12-team drafts, at the earliest. They’ll cost you almost nothing. Check out our QB Hot Spots Report for a visual representation.
Palmer, who was fantasy eighth highest scoring quarterback last season from Week 10-17 despite matchups against Seattle, St. Louis, and San Francisco, runs into a rough patch early in the season after a mouth-watering opener against San Diego. Palmer faces the Giants and 49ers – both considered “very strong” opponents in 4for4’s Hot Spots breakdown – in back to back weeks.
That’s where Tannehill comes in. The third-year signal caller has two favorable matchups during Palmer’s difficult Week 2-3. The Cardinals aged quarterback can be reinserted after that, with a fantastic Week 5-9 stretch that includes three “very weak” opponents.
Palmer’s next potential roadblocks come in Week 10 and Week 12, while Tannehill faces neutral or favorable matchups. The season concludes with a murderer’s row of tough pass defenses – Seattle and San Francisco – facing off against Palmer and the Cardinals.
I’m sticking by my charge that Manning in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense is a square peg being forced into a round hole, but a good matchup is a good matchup, as my neck tattoo says.
Bradford, who likely won’t get the benefit of massive throw volume that he did for the first month of the 2013 campaign, starts 2014 with three straight weak or very weak opponents: Minnesota, Tampa, and Dallas. A streamer could hardly ask for more.
Bradford, from Week 6-9, will face a horrid stretch that makes him pretty close to unplayable. In comes Eli, who squares off against the Cowboys and Eagles while Bradford has to go toe to toe with the Seahawks and 49ers.
Eli faces those same nasty NFC West secondaries in Weeks 10-11, while Bradford gets the benefit of neutral matchups against Arizona and Denver. This isn’t ideal, I know. Remember though: the waiver wire is our bench, and favorable matchups can be found elsewhere.
Week 16 could pose a problem for this duo, as neither has a favorable matchup. There will be excellent streaming opportunities for whoever is signal calling for Tennessee and Oakland though, and one less-than-great week in the Bradford-Eli combo shouldn’t dissuade a streamer from pursuing their combined cushy schedules.
Smith, who averaged 23.8 fantasy points per game in Gang Green wins last season, only faces four unfavorable matchups in 2014. Even better: Locker, whose rushing prowess made him a top-end QBBWW candidate until he was injured in 2013, only has a pair of tough matchups.
Locker and Geno mesh well with almost anyone, but especially together.
There’s only one hiccup in this QBBWW duo, and that comes in Week 3, when both go against strong opponents. Bradford, Josh McCown, and EJ Manuel all have favorable matchups that week, however, so there will be waiver wire relief for anyone who commits to a Geno-Locker streaming strategy.
LoLocker, in fact, has the second easiest quarterback slate this season. Only Tannehill has a softer 2014 schedule.
Geno’s Week 13 tilt against the Dolphins – a sneaky good secondary and a decidedly unfavorable matchup – can be neutralized by Locker’s matchup against the Texans. Locker faces a stingy Giants’ pass defense the following week (Week 14) while Geno becomes the QBBWW play against the aforementioned Vikings’ defense.
The Titans and Jets play each other in Week 15, when Locker will have a chance to take advantage of an injury-riddled Gang Green secondary that could be a streaming target throughout the next four months.
Locker ends 2014 with a Week 16 matchup at Jacksonville while Geno squares off against a New England secondary that I see as QBBWW kryptonite. In other words: there’s no reason to stream a quarterback against what will likely be an elite pass coverage unit.