Fantasy Football Streaming Week 2
Welcome back to Week 2 of Fantasy Streaming. We hit on some nice value plays last week, including Sam Bradford, Evan Engram, and Buffalo’s defense, but I’m kicking myself after pivoting on Pittsburgh’s tight end from Jesse James (6 catches, 41 yards, and two touchdowns) to Vance McDonald (zero catches on just one target). Eh, we live and learn, right?
Injuries continue to be a major storyline in the 2017 NFL season, but with the exception of Andrew Luck’s ongoing struggle to get back on the field, our streamable, single-starter positions (QB, TE, and DEF) have generally been spared the carnage. Still, if you are riding the stream to fantasy success or otherwise need sleeper targets, below are some of the lesser-owned options that are good plug-and-plays for Week 2.
As always, ownership percentages noted are representative of ESPN standard leagues.
Ownership Percentage: 27.9%
I had Palmer as a streamer last week, and while he underwhelmed with 269 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions, I’m firing up the veteran again for Week 2. It was encouraging for Palmer’s fantasy prospects that the Cardinals had a 48:18 pass-to-run ratio in the season opener despite holding the lead into the fourth quarter. With David Johnson lost to injury for an extended period of time and Arizona relying on the likes of Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington in the backfield, I expect coach Bruce Arians to continue relying heavily on Palmer and the passing game. A matchup with the Colts further cements Palmer as a strong streaming option this week, after Indianapolis was carved up by Jared Goff of all people in Week 1, surrendering 306 yards and a touchdown through the air. With a solid arsenal of receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and J.J. Nelson, Palmer could easily make a run at 300 yards passing and multiple touchdowns.
Ownership Percentage: 9.1%Flacco opened the year with a pedestrian 9-for-17 effort against Cincinnati for just 121 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. But the Ravens quarterback actually started the game hot, completing five straight passes on the team’s opening drive and connecting with Jeremy Maclin for a 48-yard scoring strike before halftime. A 17-0 lead over the Bengals expanded to 20-0 in the third quarter, limiting Baltimore’s need to throw the ball in the second half and contributing to Flacco’s lackluster stat-line. But this is a Raven’s offense that attempted more passes than any other team in 2016, and Flacco draws a favorable matchup in Week 2 against a Browns team that stymied Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers on the ground last week (just 35 yards rushing), but gave up 255 yards and two touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger through the air. Flacco is historically better at home than on the road and plays host this week to a Cleveland team that he torched for 598 yards and five touchdowns in two games last season.
Ownership Percentage: 19.2%
He flashed a few nice games in 2016 during his debut season with the Saints, but Fleener was generally a disappointment as a free agent acquisition and he certainly underwhelmed as a fantasy option. But Fleener led the Saints in receptions (5) and receiving yards (54) in Week 1, recording New Orleans’ only touchdown on Monday night and seeing as many targets as anyone outside of Michael Thomas. Fleener seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the Willie Snead suspension and figures to remain a major focal point of the offense as the Patriots visit New Orleans in Week 2. While New England did a nice job of bottling up Travis Kelce in the season opener, the Patriots defense was gashed for 368 yards and four touchdowns by Alex Smith and the Chiefs. A banged up Patriots defense figures to have difficulty keeping up with Drew Brees and company – especially on the turf at home – and Fleener has nice streaming appeal as a result.
Ownership Percentage: 0.4%
A streaming recommendation for a guy with 25 career receptions over 18 NFL games? It might seem like a stretch, but hear me out. Baltimore’s tight end position is already a MASH unit in 2017, leaving Boyle as the de facto starter last week. This is significant, given Baltimore’s proclivity for passing the ball in recent years and the fact that Dennis Pitta led all tight ends with 86 receptions last season. Boyle may not have Pitta’s full range of skills, but at 6’4” and 270 pounds, he’s a big target for Joe Flacco, and the third-year player hauled in his only target for 14 yards in Week 1. And Boyle just so happens to play this week against a defense that continues to be abused by opposing tight ends. After giving up a league-leading 13 touchdowns to the position in 2016, Cleveland gave up two more scores to Steelers’ tight end Jesse James to start the new season. I’ve already noted my expectation that Joe Flacco will throw more this week and I think Boyle will be a sneaky option to see a decent workload, including considerable redzone work in this matchup.
Ownership Percentage: 27.2%
Apparently, this week’s article could have been titled “Streaming the Ravens in Week 2”. While I didn’t come into the week thinking I was all-in on Baltimore, it’s hard to argue with the statistics. The Ravens are traditionally considered a strong defensive unit, but they didn’t have much fantasy cache in 2017 drafts, as evidenced by the sub-30% ownership totals. However, Terrell Suggs and company were up to their old tricks in Week 1, creating a league-high five turnovers, recording five sacks, and holding a good Bengals offense to just 221 total yards and zero points. This week, Baltimore faces a Browns offense that surrendered seven sacks last week, while accumulating just 237 total yards of offense. Cleveland has a promising young quarterback in DeShone Kizer, but the rookie is going to make mistakes and the Ravens defense should be poised to take advantage this week.
Ownership Percentage: 5.9%
The Raiders opened the season with an inspired performance against what is expected to be a potent Tennessee offense, holding the Titans to 16 points in a road victory. While Oakland failed to generate any turnovers and recorded just two sacks, the counting stats are likely to improve in Week 2 with a home game against the hapless Jets. Josh McCown and the New York offense managed just 214 yards of total offense in Week 1, scoring only 12 points while turning the ball over twice. Whether McCown continues to run the offense or the Jets ultimately turn to Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, New York is going to be an excellent target for defensive streamers in 2017. Oakland’s D should be more than serviceable in this plus matchup.
Self-described fantasy degenerate that has been participating in fantasy sports leagues since the spiral notebook scoring era. If you can make a fantasy league out of it, I’m in.