Fantasy Football Streaming
Welcome, weary travelers, to the Week 12 edition of The Primal Stream. Behind us: 30 team byes, 85% of the typical fantasy league’s regular season, and 893 actual touchdowns scored. Ahead of us: the last push for more regular-season fantasy points, the fantasy playoffs, and that weird day around Christmas with Saturday NFL games that are officially referred to as “Thursday Night Football”. Through it all, The Primal Stream will provide you with streaming options and quarterback, tight end, and defense.
Week 12 brings with it the last of the byes, with only the Chiefs and the Rams resting. Of course, that eliminates the top two scoring fantasy quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff, the number one tight end in Travis Kelce, and despite each having given up eight billion touchdowns, two top-12 fantasy defenses in the Rams and Chiefs D/STs.
Week 12 Byes:
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Los Angeles Rams
Streaming Fantasy Quarterbacks
Jameis Winston – 9.2% Owned
49ers at Buccaneers
Remember this guy? The Buccaneers quarterback who was suspended, and then became the starter again, and then lost the job, and then regained it last week? Well, he’s back, and despite having started only 5 games, he’s the fantasy QB29 overall. He didn’t take a snap in Week 11 before the third quarter and ended up QB15 for the week.
Winston draws the defense of the 49ers this week, which is sure to whet his appetite, but hopefully not for his own fingers, because let’s face it, that s*&@t’s awkward and gross. The 49ers have allowed 2,420 passing yards for the year, fifteenth-most, and 21 passing touchdowns, a total exceeded by only five teams. San Francisco has allowed opposing quarterbacks to average 19.4 fantasy points per game, tied for ninth-most in the NFL. The 49ers have PFF’s 20th ranked pass rushing grade at 65.9, paired with a coverage grade of 42.0, dead last in the league, along with a tackling grade of 47.3 that’s 30th among 32 teams.
The 49ers don’t boast one of the league’s elite offenses, but they are competent, earning PFF’s 16th-ranked overall offensive grade of 74.4. They face one of the worst defenses in the league, which I detail further in the next streaming option, but suffice to say that this matchup is likely to keep Winston in passing-mode to maintain scoring. If all goes well for Winston this week, he’s got another good matchup in Week 13 against the Panthers.
Nick Mullens – 6.0% Owned
49ers at Buccanneers
Nick Mullens was plucked from obscurity in Week 9 en route to a 22.2 fantasy-point performance against the Raiders that made him the QB8 for the week. He followed that up with a more subdued QB24 performance against the Giants in Week 10, who present a more challenging defensive matchup than Oakland. The then 49ers had their bye last week, giving Mullens and his team extra time to prepare for their next foe, one of the few teams who can tell Oakland, “hold my beer” after witnessing the Raiders’ defensive ineptitude.
Arriving in San Francisco this week are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, along with what can only loosely be defined as a defense. Only four teams have allowed more than Tampa Bay’s 2,823 passing yards. Zero teams have matched or exceeded their 25 passing touchdowns allowed. No team has allowed more than the Buccaneers’ 23.4 fantasy point-per-game average to opposing quarterbacks. They’ve earned PFF’s lowest overall defensive grade at 57.9, and only the aforementioned Raiders rank below Tampa Bay’s 56.7 pass rushing grade.
The Buccaneers have also earned PFF’s 30th ranked run defense grade at 65.1, which won’t deter the 49ers from mixing in plenty of run plays to open. The Buccaneers also bring with them the sixth-best overall offensive grade 0f 80.0, as well as a corps of receivers that have graded out to 88.0, second only to the Rams, giving this game legitimate shootout potential. Mullens and the 49ers don’t have any more inviting matchups after this one, so this is a lease-out and peace-out type of situation.
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Streaming Fantasy Tight Ends
C.J. Uzomah – 22.7% Owned
Browns at Bengals
Are you a Kelce owner who forgot that you still needed a bye-week replacement? Or did you knowingly (and cleverly) use the roster spot for an extra running back or wide receiver? I’m here for you, and so is C.J. Uzomah. Let’s get past the fact that you thought it was spelled Ozumah, so you can see C.J.’s true Week 12 potential. He’s the overall TE22 for the season, and he’s coming off of a 7.1 fantasy-point, TE18 performance against the Ravens.
Uzomah didn’t just dominate the Bengals TE group in team snaps last week; he lined up for all 55 offensive plays. In fact, over his last three games, his lowest share of offensive snaps has been 97%. He’s received four and five targets in Weeks 10 and 11 respectively and is about to face a Browns team that is more vulnerable to tight ends than any of their recent opponents.
For the season, the Browns are averaging 15.5 points allowed to opposing tight ends, worse than all but four teams. Over their past five games, tight ends facing Cleveland have average 71.4 yards per game, and they’ve scored three touchdowns in just the past two games. If you have the roster space, Uzomah should be worth holding onto, not only for his Week 13 matchup with the Broncos but also for his fantasy playoff matchups with the Raiders in Week 15 and a Browns re-match in Week 16.
Jeff Heuerman – 21.7% Owned
Broncos at Steelers
Don’t look now, but Jeff Heuerman has sneakily put up some useful tight end fantasy numbers. He’s the overall TE18, and most recently put together an uninspiring TE22 performance against the Chargers, who are fairly stingy to the position. What’s most interesting for Heuerman’s prospects going forward is his red zone usage. Heuerman’s 13 targets inside the opponent’s 20-yard line are the fourth-most among tight ends. Only Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz, and Travis Kelce have more. With 45 total targets, that’s an Andy-Dwyer-open-mouth-head-turn gif-inducing 29% of his targets being of the red zone variety. time
Heuerman lined up for 86% of Denver’s total offensive snaps in Week 11, and now he visits the Steelers in Week 12. Pittsburgh is allowing an average of 62.7 yards per game to tight ends through ten games played, and their 3,221 total receiving yards allowed are fifth-most. Their 14.5 fantasy points allowed on a per-game average to tight ends is eighth-most.
In the two games that the Broncos have played since trading away Demaryius Thomas, Heuerman has been targeted a total of 16 times. That is the most total targets on the entire team in that period, making it clear that he has been the primary beneficiary of the targets that once belonged to Thomas. Heuerman is another tight end worth holding onto, as his remaining schedule is wildly inviting for tight end scoring, with upcoming matchups against the Bengals, 49ers, Browns, and Raiders.
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Streaming Fantasy Defenses
Bills D/ST – 22.2% Owned
Jaguars at Bills
The Bills have been busy this season, turning opposing D/STs into the fantasy start-of-the-week, but somewhat lost in the shuffle is how useful their own defensive unit has been for our purposes. Coming off of a Week 11 bye which was strangely shared with the entire AFC East, the Bills D/ST has scored 64 fantasy points, tied for seventh-most. They were the D/ST1 in Week 10 against the Jets, and there’s a lot to like about their prospects in Week 12.
The Bills have forced 15 total turnovers between fumbles and interceptions, right around league average, and they’ve accumulated 15 sacks, also middle-of-the-pack. Hidden in their turnover total is the fact that they’ve forced 17 fumbles, tied for the most in the NFL, but have only recovered 10 of them. Given how large a factor the random bounce of the ball is in many fumble recoveries, it’s reasonable to expect some positive regression to the mean. Most impressively, this D/ST has allowed a grand total of 3,000 yards of offense, the lowest number in the NFL, which creates a higher fantasy floor.
The Bills welcome the Jaguars to chilly Buffalo on Sunday, a prospect that only adds some luster to this defense. The Jaguars have passed for a near league-average 2,448 yards, while they’ve given the ball away 20 times combined on fumbles and interceptions, fifth-most. 11 of those turnovers were caused by fumbles, the most in the NFL. D/STs matched up with Jacksonville have averaged 7.5 fantasy points per game. The Bills visit Miami in Week 13, making their defense worth holding onto for that matchup.
Colts D/ST – 21.7% Owned
Dolphins at Colts
There has been plenty of attention paid to Andrew Luck’s resurgence in Indianapolis, and rightly so, as he has fully recovered from his shoulder injury to throw 29 touchdowns through ten games. The Colts defense may not seem impressive by comparison, but they’ve been a very useful fantasy D/ST when used in the right spots. Through Week 11, they are the fantasy D/ST15.
The Colts have generated 19 turnovers on defense, a total bested by only four teams, and that is what has primarily driven their fantasy scoring. Their 3,649 total yards allowed ranks 20th, while their 10 total sacks are league-average. They played against the Titans in Week 11, who themselves were fresh off of a victory against the Patriots, and put up an impressive 14 fantasy points that amounted to the D/ST5 performance for the week.
This week, they welcome the Dolphins to town, who look likely to return Ryan Tannehill to the quarterback position. Miami’s 2,077 passing yards rank 26th among 32 teams, while their 19 total touchdowns scored is the seventh-fewest. Their 15 total giveaways are tied for tenth-most. They’ve allowed a weekly average of 8.7 fantasy points scored by opposing D/STs, and the last two D/STs to face them have score double-digit fantasy points. The Colts face the Jaguars in Week 13, so should be a useful streaming option for two weeks in a row.
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Good luck week 12 and Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m just a guy who was born in Massachusetts and went to college in Minnesota (Macalester College) and moved to New York and then went to grad school in San Francisco (The American Conservatory Theater) before moving back to New York and finally to Los Angeles. I began playing fantasy football in a single league in 2001, which quickly grew into multiple leagues, and has continued into just about every form that fantasy football takes today (no developmental leagues yet). My strong opinions are loosely held, always trying to get better.