Three Ideal Streaming QB Pairings
Last week, we looked at three draft targets if you plan to stream quarterbacks this season. But what if you’re waiting even later and intend to play entirely off the waiver wire?
This week, I want to suggest three pairings of streaming QBs who fit well with one another. For this exercise, I limited the QB pool to those currently available in at least 40% of Yahoo public leagues. The idea is you could go pick both players off waivers today if you needed to. These are deep targets for deep leagues and dumpster divers, not ideal pairings if you plan to draft this upcoming Labor Day weekend.
As for process, I focused only on the first six weeks of the season. After a few weeks, we will have reliable 2015 data on defenses, at which point 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) will move over to current season data. For now, however, we start with last season’s aFPA numbers and target QBs based on that data. For QBs, I focused on efficiency metrics, per Chris Raybon’s findings on QB fantasy production.
This list is based on the philosophy that you’re targeting these QBs to stream, not to hold all year. I’d suggest grabbing one pair, but preparing yourself to swap them out after a few weeks if necessary. Check out our QB Hot Spots Report for a visual representation.
QB Streaming Pairings
Andy Dalton (CIN) and Kirk Cousins (WAS)
Last week, I identified Andy Dalton as a streaming QB to target, and this week Kirk Cousins was named the starting quarterback in Washington. Those two quarterbacks have schedules that perfectly complement one another early in the season. Dalton opens the season against Oakland, San Diego and Baltimore, but then faces a murderer’s row of Kansas City, Seattle and Buffalo from Week 4 through Week 6.
During those three weeks, Kirk Cousins will lead Washington against the Giants, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Each of those secondaries look like a prime matchup, and Cousins could fare well stepping into your starting QB spot for Andy Dalton in Week 4. Last season, Cousins averaged more than 300 yards and two touchdowns in his five full games. He’s not a world-beater, but he may turn into a strong streaming option when he faces soft matchups.
Both Blake Bortles and Jameis Winston begin the year with reasonably favorable matchups. Bortles faces a stout Dolphins defense in Week 2, but Winston travels to New Orleans that week. The Saints are one of the best QB matchups, and Winston could start off the season with a bang. The following week, however, Winston will travel to face J.J. Watt and the Texans, when Bortles goes into New England, who lost Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork over the offseason.
Although these pairings are focused on the early weeks, it is worth noting Jameis Winston has the easiest schedule of any quarterback this year. If you are willing to take a chance on the rookie’s talent, he has the potential to turn into more than just a streaming play this season.
Here we go on the deep, deep dive. Tyrod Taylor was named Buffalo’s starting quarterback and he showed flashes in his last preseason game. Ultimately, though, he is still an unproven commodity in the NFL and not someone you want to pin all your hopes upon. Early in the season, Taylor will face several soft matchups, including the Patriots and the Giants. We have learned from Terrelle Pryor and Tim Tebow that dynamic running QBs can excel in fantasy whether or not you believe in their passing talent. In a soft matchup, you can do worse than a dual-threat quarterback who gets to throw the ball to Sammy Watkins.
Nick Foles faces the Redskins and Steelers in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, creating one of the softest early slates. During Week 3, Taylor’s Bills travel to Miami, so Foles provides an ideal substitute. Additionally, it appears unlikely Todd Gurley will be ready for full duty by then, and Tre Mason is questionable for the start of the season. If neither running back is at full health, the Rams are likely to pass more than expected, which could boost Foles’ early season numbers. I don't love this pairing, but the combined schedule presents an opportunity for very cheap fantasy production early in 2015.