Fantasy Football Streaming
Well, it happened folks. We did it. Last week, with so much at stake, with our very way of life on the line just days into the future, with the specter of the destruction of all we hold dear at hand, the people came through.
We survived the byepocalypse.
For those of you who persevered and still have a shot at the fantasy playoffs, or are middle-of-the-pack, or are coasting with six-plus wins or more, know this: we are afforded but a brief respite before the fight against tyranny begins anew. Perhaps, a shorter time than you realize. Because there are six teams on a bye again in Week 11. For now, gaze upon the smoking wreckage you once recognized as normalcy – Week 10 and its four teams on a bye – and be ready to take up arms again soon.
Also, this week’s byes remove top-20 quarterback options Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Joe Flacco, and Case Keenum, tight end options Kyle Rudolph and Mark Andrews, and a whopping four of the top-ten D/ST scoring options in the Vikings (#2), Texans (#3), Broncos (#6), and Baltimore (#10).
Week 10 Byes:
- Baltimore Ravens
- Denver Broncos
- Houston Texans
- Minnesota Vikings
Other Great Week 10 Reads
Streaming Fantasy Quarterbacks
Baker Mayfield – 38.9% Owned
Falcons at Browns
Baker’s back! He returns both to the Primal Stream for a third appearance, and also to his third weekly top-15 finish among quarterbacks. With a fresh set of coaches guiding the offense, Mayfield’s 17.9 fantasy points scored was 13th among quarterbacks in Week 9, his 297 yards passing was his second-highest output for the season, and he’s now thrown two touchdowns in three consecutive games.
Mayfield has yet another welcoming defensive matchup in Week 10 with the Falcons coming to Cleveland. Atlanta has allowed ten passing touchdowns to opposing defenses, tenth-most, and 2,434 total passing yards, sixth-most. They’ve allowed three or more passing touchdowns in five of their eight games played; of the three games in which they held the opposing quarterback to fewer, one was Week 1, and the other two were in Week 7 versus the Giants and Week 9 versus the Redskins. Lest you think this is a sign of recent defensive improvement, New York and Washington each have nine total passing touchdowns in 2018, a total that’s ahead of only the Titans, Cardinals, and Bills.
The Falcons, in addition to owning a forgiving pass defense, remain among the most prolific offenses in the NFL, with 27 total touchdowns scored rushing and receiving, tied for sixth-most. This should be yet another matchup that should require Mayfield and the Browns to lean on the passing game to keep up with opponent scoring. Mayfield has another attractive matchup against the Bengals in Week 12, so he may be worth a hold through his Week 11 bye week if you have the roster space.
Marcus Mariota – 14.4% Owned
Patriots at Titans
Marcus Mariota has been nothing short of a disappointment for fantasy owners (myself included) in 2018. After suffering nerve damage to his elbow in Week 1 and missing Week 2, Mariota was forced back into action in Week 3 when Blaine Gabbert suffered a concussion. As a starter in Week 4, he impressed with his highest overall grade of the season at 78.1, per PFF. Then he faded back into relative statistical obscurity in Weeks 5, 6 and 7 against two strong defenses in the Bills and Ravens, and an improving Chargers defense. Coming out of his Week 8 bye, Mariota had his second-best game of the season against a solid Cowboys defense, finishing as the QB7 in Week 9 while posting 22.8 fantasy points.
The Titans match up with the Patriots in Week 10, who bring a pass defense that’s been extremely fantasy-friendly. The Patriots have allowed an average of 19.5 fantasy points to quarterbacks, eighth-most. They’ve allowed 2,468 passing yards, fifth-most, and 19 passing touchdowns, tied for second-most. The Patriots’ own PFF’s second-best overall defensive grade at 88.1, but also a 25h-ranked 64.2 pass rush grade. Their defensive front faces the Titans offensive line, which has earned PFF’s 10th-best pass blocking grade at 78.4, while Mariota’s average time to attempt is a speedy 2.45 seconds.
The Patriots defense has also earned PFF’s third-highest run blocking grade at 89.7, which won’t invite the Titans to run. Of course, they also have one of the most prolific offenses in the league, averaging the fourth-most points scored per game at 30.0, likely leaving the Titans playing catch-up. Furthermore, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was a long-tenured linebacker for the Patriots in his playing days, and while that won’t be a skeleton key to unlock Belichick’s Week 10 game plan, it does advantage him with a strong familiarity with his opponent’s system. Mariota also shouldn’t be just a one-week rental, as his Week 11 matchup with the Colts could make him extremely useful in bye-riddled Week 12.
Streaming Fantasy Tight Ends
Vernon Davis – 3.6% Owned
Redskins at Buccaneers
Vernon Davis has scored a total of 44.2 PPR fantasy points this season, which ranks him 26th among all tight ends. Jordan Reed has out-snapped Vernon Davis in every game outside of Week 1, lining up for 62% of the Redskins’ total snaps to Davis’ 49%, while out-targeting Davis 41 to 12. But something interesting happened in Week 10. After not garnering more than three targets in any game in 2018, Davis was targeted seven times, all in the third and fourth quarters. Granted, Reed left the game for a period with a neck injury, but the success Alex Smith had when targeting Reed was notable. In fact, per PFF, Smith has a 113.2 passer rating when targeting Davis, while targets to Reed have resulted in an 89.0 passer rating.
Reed’s (apparently minor) injuries left him limited in practice Wednesday, and while he may not miss the game on Sunday, Reed’s potential for being limited even if active doesn’t reduce Davis’ prospects for an increased target share. The Redskins face the Buccaneers, who are allowing 17.4 fantasy points per week to tight ends, third most. Tampa Bay has allowed 2,457 receiving yards, sixth-most, and 22 receiving touchdowns, the most of all teams. They’ve allowed a tight end touchdown in five of their last six games, and grade out defensively overall at 68.7, PFF’s second-worst grade.
In a running theme here, the Buccaneers also possess one of the highest scoring offenses in the league, averaging a seventh-best 28.6 points per game. While the Redskins may be missing the majority of their starting offensive line, the Buccaneers are the team least equipped to take advantage of that with the least effective pass rush in the NFL. Davis would be a catch-and-release streaming option at tight end, as the Redskins face a stout Texans defense in Week 11.
Jonnu Smith – 1.0% Owned
Patriots at Titans
Jonnu Smith has yet to pass 33 yards receiving in his young career as a tight end, a high-mark he met last week, and has scored three total touchdowns, one of which also came last week. Clearly, his fantasy numbers on the season don’t scream “START ME FOR YOUR FANTASY TEAM”. That being said, the tight end position is such a flaming dumpster this season that you have to dig a little deeper to find a decent streaming option.
Jonnu Smith’s athletic measurables are flat-out absurd. Via playerprofiler.com, Smith has an 80th-percentile 4.62 40-yard dash, an 81st-percentile speed score, a 94th-percentile burst score, and an 80th-percentile catch radius. His 33.0% college dominator rating is 92nd-percentile, while his breakout age of 18 is 100th-percentile. While Smith only had three total targets in his first six games in 2018 and has yet to be targeted more than twice, he has gotten two targets in each of his past two games. He’s also lined up for 401 of his team’s 500 total snaps, an 80% rate, so the playing time is there, it’s just the targets that have been wanting.
As I mentioned earlier in this column, Titans coach Mike Vrabel is familiar with this Patriots defense, and while they’ve allowed hefty yardage and touchdown totals to quarterbacks and receivers, they’ve been particularly vulnerable to tight ends. They’re giving up the fifth-most fantasy points-per-game to the position at 15.4, and you can be sure that Belichick’s standard “take away the opposition’s go-to receivers” game plan won’t be focusing on Jonnu Smith. Should Smith’s targets see a bump this Sunday, he would continue to be useful in the Titans’ Week 11 matchup with the Colts.
Streaming Fantasy Defenses
Bills D/ST – 19.6% Owned
Bills at Jets
I would definitely prefer the Jets defensively in this matchup, but with the Bills gifting opposing fantasy defenses 16.1 fantasy points per game, (the highest point-per-game average in the league by a decent margin), the Jets D/ST was flying under no one’s radar. If you didn’t claim them before waivers ran, they’re probably gone, now owned in 70.6% of ESPN leagues. That definitely doesn’t mean that the Bills D/ST won’t also be a strong starting option this week.
The Bills D/ST has scored 51 fantasy points for the year, 16th among all defenses, but their point total has been dragged down over the past few games from facing three extremely efficient offenses in the Colts, Patriots, and Bears. Buffalo has allowed 2,823 yards through nine weeks, 11th-fewest, and they’ve allowed an average of only 212 passing yards per game, third-fewest. They’ve forced a respectable 13 takeaways, together with 22 total sacks, 14th-most.
What makes this unit most enticing is the matchup with the Jets this week. The Jets have passed for only 1,805 yards on the season, more than just six other teams, while they’ve turned the ball over 20 times, third-most. They’ve allowed opposing defenses to average 9.6 points per week, third-most behind the aforementioned Bills, and the Cardinals. The Bills look to be a one-week stream, as they have a bye in Week 11, and you shouldn’t carry a defense on a bye on your roster unless someone is forcing you to.
Packers D/ST – 17.0% Owned
Dolphins at Packers
The Packers D/ST isn’t an elite unit, sitting at 20th among defenses with 44 fantasy points scored, and they’re coming off of brutal matchup with the Patriots. They’ve allowed a total of 2,819 yards for the season, 10th-fewest while generating a modest nine total takeaways, tied for fifth-fewest. They have sacked the quarterback 25 times, the sixth-highest total.
Winter is coming, and as it nears, the confines of Lambeau Field become less and less friendly, especially to teams based in warmer climates. The Miami-based Dolphins would certainly qualify here, but even on a neutral field, they offer an attractive matchup. The Dolphins are allowing an average of 8.0 fantasy points per game to defenses, tied for the seventh-highest mark. They’ve turned the ball over 13 times, and only six teams have coughed up the ball with more frequency.
The Packers are a team with their backs against the wall, at home, with a 3-4-1 record that puts them third in their division, so the Dolphins won’t be catching a team on a let-down from a loss to a contender. If you’re looking for a quarterback to take advantage of as a defensive squad, you could do a whole lot worse than Brock Osweiler. He’s earned a 57.6 overall grade at PFF in 2018, 30th among qualifying quarterbacks. Pack it up and stream Green Bay. The Packers D/ST should be sent right back to the pool after this week, as their matchup in Seattle is one to avoid.
Thanks & Good Luck