Fantasy Football Streaming
As the sun rises on this thirteenth week of fantasy football, there are clear skies on the horizon. Bye weeks are no more, and only one week stands between us and the glorious valley that is the fantasy football playoffs. If your playoffs last three weeks and begin in Week 15, find the commissioner of your league and heap shame upon him/her. A Week 17 fantasy championship is like eating a steak cooked well done.
Some have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and are unlikely to seek streaming advice for the dream of a team that might have been. Some have already clinched a spot in the playoffs but would be well-advised to fight for every point, as playoff seeding changes can unexpectedly crush your dreams. Some teams are keeping the dream alive, but need one more victory (or a victory in combination with losses by other teams) to squeak into the fantasy postseason. This last group, in particular, can be saved by streaming, and the Primal Stream is here to give you some Week 13 streaming options at quarterback, tight end, and defense.
Streaming Fantasy Quarterbacks
Marcus Mariota – 17.4% Owned
Jets at Titans
We’re seeing a significantly improved Marcus Mariota since the Titans’ Week 8 bye over what we saw from him in the first half of the season. Excluding his Week 11 game against the Colts in which he played only the first half after exiting with a hand injury, Mariota has been the fantasy QB7, QB6, and QB7 in Week 9, 10, and 12 respectively. Mariota is fantasy’s QB25 on the season, and he hasn’t faced many defensive matchups that are favorable to quarterbacks.
The Jets travel to Tennessee to face the Titans in Week 13, and while they’re not a dream matchup for opposing quarterbacks, facing their passing defense has its share of upside. The Jets have allowed 2,704 passing yards, 16th of 32 teams, along with 19 passing touchdowns, also 16th-most. Since Week 4, they’ve only played one game in which they haven’t allowed two or more passing touchdowns, and that was in Week 9 against a Dolphins team helmed by Brock Osweiler. Also per PFF, the Jets have generated a quarterback pressure on 11.0% of their defensive snaps, 15th among all teams, but that isn’t likely to hurt Mariota’s numbers. Mariota’s 76.9 accuracy percentage under pressure is second only to Kirk Cousins among qualifying quarterbacks, while his 91.1 NFL rating on passes under pressure is second only to Philip Rivers.
The Jets also have one of the better run-blocking defenses in the league, earning an 83.5 run defense grade, PFF’s ninth-best. The Titans may be one of the more run-heavy offenses, but even in the unlikely event they don’t adjust their plan pre-game, finding limited success when running the ball should move them more toward the passing game. Mariota could prove useful in Week 14 as well with a matchup against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has allowed 20-plus fantasy points to every quarterback facing them over their past four games, including last week’s matchup with the offensively-challenged Bills.
Case Keenum – 10.6% Owned
Broncos at Bengals
If you had expectations for Case Keenum to perform as a top-twelve fantasy quarterback option in 2018, his performance has been disappointing. If you saw him as an occasional streamer in the right defensive matchups, he’s been useful. Keenum is 24th among quarterbacks in total fantasy points, and he’s coming off of a Week 12 game against the Steelers which he finished as the week’s QB20. Keenum last faced a quarterback-friendly defense in Week 8 against the Chiefs, throwing for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
While Kansas City ranks fifth-worst in fantasy points to quarterbacks on a per-game average, Keenum is about to face the Bengals, who are allowing quarterbacks to score more fantasy points than any other team. Just last week, Baker Mayfield dominated this matchup, finishing with his highest fantasy point total of the season, ranking him Week 12’s QB5. The Bengals have allowed 3,214 passing yards, more than any team but the Chiefs, and 25 passing touchdowns, tied for second-most behind the Buccaneers. In fact, the Bengals have allowed 14 passing touchdowns in the past six weeks, more than all but the Panthers’ 16 passing scores allowed, and Cincinnati had a bye during that period.
The Bengals have been gashed by the run lately as well, allowing 360 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns over the past three games, which could limit Keenum’s ceiling somewhat, but the Broncos are the league’s twelfth-most pass-heavy team per sharpfootballstats.com, and they pass the ball 57% of the time in the opponent’s red zone, 14th-most. In a crucial week with no teams on a bye, you may well have a better quarterback option on your roster, but if Week 13 presents you with a questionable starter (hello Mitchell Trubisky owners) or a tough matchup (hi Carson Wentz, Tom Brady, and Baker Mayfield owners), a Keenum stream is likely to be a viable move at quarterback.
Streaming Fantasy Tight Ends
Matt LaCosse – 5.1% Owned
Rams at Lions
I recommended tight end Jeff Heuerman in Week 12 here in The Primal Stream, and he exited last week’s game with three broken ribs and a bruised lung. In this reality-agnostic game we call fantasy football, one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity, and that other man is named Matt LaCosse. Heuerman’s post-injury vacated targets went LaCosse’s way last week, and he finished as the TE11 for the week with 34 yards on three catches and a touchdown. His touchdown came on a red zone target from the ten-yard line, which is promising for his prospects moving forward.
LaCosse only lined up for 47 percent of the Broncos’ 57 snaps, and with Heuerman being placed on IR, LaCosse should see at least 70% of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 13, as Heuerman cleared that amount in each of Denver’s past five games. Quarterback Case Keenum and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave clearly favor tight end targets in the red zone, as only the Colts, Eagles, and Chiefs have targeted their top tight end more frequently in the red zone.
The Broncos also have the benefit of facing the Bengals defense this week, who have been particularly vulnerable to tight ends, allowing an average of 63.5 yards per game to the position. They’ve allowed an average of 16.6 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, second-most. With a full complement of snaps, LaCosse should see more than the four targets he received in Week 12. He generated a 139.6 passer rating when Keenum targeted him, which was the fourth-best mark among all tight ends. LaCosse is likely to be a one-and-done streaming option, as his matchups after this week aren’t notably friendly.
Tyler Higbee – 1.7% Owned
Rams at Lions
For the first half of the 2018 season, Tyler Higbee was barely a blip on the tight end radar, even as a streaming option. So far in the second half of the season, he has seen a notable uptick in his fantasy production. After receiving only nine total targets during the Rams first eight games to Gerald Everett’s 16, Higbee has seen 13 targets to Everett’s 9 in just the past four weeks. Higbee is the TE33 for the season, but he was the TE7 in Week 10 and the TE7 in Week 11 before the Rams’ Week 12 bye.
Higbee has also seen the lion’s share of tight end snaps for the Rams thus far, lining up for 77 percent of the team snaps at the position to Everett’s 25 percent. The Rams match up with the Lions in Week 13, and while they have been better than average defending tight ends, they don’t have the resources to defend the offensive onslaught that the Rams bring to the game. Much of Detroit’s defensive effort will need to focus on slowing down the Rams wide receivers and Todd Gurley.
The Lions are allowing an average of 46.7 yards per game to tight ends, while Higbee has increased his fantasy point total in each of his past three games, building from 6 points in Week 9 to 11.5 points in Week 10 to 12.3 points in Week 11. Higbee and the Rams have a particularly brutal schedule from Week 14 forward for tight end matchups, so this may be the last opportunity for value from Higbee.
Streaming Fantasy Defenses
Titans D/ST – 44.0% Owned
Jets at Titans
The Tennessee Titans have faced a couple of potent offenses in the Colts and Texans over the past couple of weeks, and their defense hasn’t been fantasy-viable as a result. For the season, they rank as the D/ST20, which is probably why they’re available to stream. They’ve only generated nine total turnovers through Week 12, fewer than just four other teams, but they’ve allowed just 3,811 total yards to opposing offenses, tenth-fewest. They’ve sacked their opponent’s quarterback 27 times, which is close to league-average.
The Titans should be excited to welcome the Jets to town this week, as they present an extremely welcoming offense for fantasy D/ST purposes. The Jets have passed for just 2,185 yards for the season, fourth fewest in the NFL, while their 12 total passing touchdowns are tied for the second-fewest. Their 48.0 passing grade is PFF’s second-worst, and they haven’t exactly dominated running the football either, earning a 20th-ranked 71.4 PFF run grade. The Jets have turned the ball over 23 times, more than any team but the Buccaneers.
The Jets are allowing a point-per-game average of 9.6 to opposing defenses, third-most among 32 teams. In addition, both Josh McCown and Sam Darnold were limited in practice on Wednesday, and neither option will strike fear into the hearts of Titans defenders. Sam Darnold owns PFF’s second-lowest overall grade for the season among 36 qualifying quarterbacks at 50.9, while McCown’s only start last week graded out to 61.3, 25th among 31 qualifying starters. The Titans should be startable again in Week 14 with a matchup against the Jaguars on tap, who’ve allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs.
Dolphins D/ST – 16.7% Owned
Bills at Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have been highly volatile for fantasy purposes this season, having posted four double-digit fantasy point totals for the season, four single-digit scores, and three negative point totals in a standard PPR-scoring league. They stand as the definition of league-average for the season as the D/ST16 overall, having allowed 4,378 total yards to opposing offenses, fourth-most, but an average of only 20.3 points allowed per game, seventh-fewest. They’re not especially efficient at sacking the quarterback, with 18 total sacks, ranking them 29th.
Where they have been notably efficient is in generating turnovers; their 22 takeaways through Week 12 are bested only by the Browns (27) and the Bears (29). 17 of those takeaways have come from 17 interceptions, second only to the Bears’ 20. Unfortunately, they face an offensive powerhouse this week who never turn the ball over. Just kidding, they play the Bills. Technically, that’s all I needed to write for this particular matchup, but please indulge me.
Buffalo has passed for 1,758 yards in total, ahead of only the Cardinals. They’ve also passed for SIX TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS, which I shouldn’t have to tell you is by far the lowest total in the NFL. They’ve also thrown 16 interceptions, third-most. The Bills’ 22 total turnovers between interceptions and fumbles stand at 22, tied for third-most. Overall, there is no better matchup in the league that’s better for a D/ST unit than the Bills, as they’re giving up a per-game average to D/STs of 12.5 fantasy points. Miami is immediately droppable after Week 13, as a Week 14 matchup with the Patriots is one to avoid like Death Valley in August.
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.