2014 Fantasy Football: Week 2 QB and D/ST Streaming Options
Defense/Special Teams streaming has been a popular option for a while now for fantasy owners. But quarterback streaming has begun being put into use just recently, it seems. As the demand grows we must meet it with a supply of fantasy articles. Each week I’ll highlight several quarterbacks and defenses fantasy owners can pick up for that week to stream in their starting lineups. As the season progresses, more options will appear as teams and players are dropped and we discover who’s real and who’s not. If you have any questions about these picks or fantasy football in general, hit me up on Twitter @44AMiller.
Carson Palmer (25 percent ESPN, 58 percent Yahoo!) – Palmer had a very good start to the 2014 season Monday night, completing almost two-thirds of his passes for 304 yards and two scores. There are several other positive takeaways that go beyond his surface stats. It looks like Palmer has four legitimate receiving weapons in Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Ellington and hyped-up rookie John Brown. Fitz only caught one pass Monday night, but that speaks to how well Palmer played – he didn’t have to rely on Fitzgerald to produce for him.
Palmer threw the ball downfield a lot Monday. He ranked tied for fourth in attempts 20 or more yards downfield, and on those throws he averaged 19.5 yards per attempt, connecting three of six times. Now Palmer gets a horrendous Giants defense that was torched by Matthew Stafford Monday. Stafford averaged over 10 yards per attempt and threw two touchdowns against New York, and Palmer should be able to do similar damage. This is the last week I believe Palmer will be widely available on the waiver wire.
Jake Locker (12%, 24%) – Locker had one of the better games of his young career Sunday, throwing for 266 yards on 22-of-33 passing for two touchdowns. Locker has arguably the highest upside of any waiver-wire quarterback not named Palmer, and while he’ll more than likely remain inconsistent, he’s worth picking up this week for his start against a porous Dallas defense. Dallas gave up the 10th most fantasy points among quarterbacks to Colin Kaepernick last week, and Kaepernick only needed 23 attempts to do his damage. There’s a lot of room for upside against this Dallas defense. And the Cowboys should do better offensively this week, so Locker should see more opportunities to deliver.
Ryan Tannehill (18%, 42%) – Tannehill wasn’t great – and it’d be a stretch to even say he played well – Sunday, but he did throw for two scores against what was supposed to be a tough Patriots defense. This week he faces Buffalo, which Pro Football Focus graded as the worst defense and sixth-worst pass defense in Week 1. Buffalo allowed 349 yards passing and two scores from Jay Cutler last week. Even though the Dolphins’ ground game was strong, Tannehill’s two scores came from 14 and four yards, respectively, so he’s not going to have to rely on the big play to get into the end zone. Tannehill’s not a long-term play, but like Locker – but with less upside, in my opinion – he’s worth a start this week if you’re desperate.
Miami Dolphins (7%, 17%) – Miami graded out as PFF’s No. 1 defense in Week 1 (seen at the link above), which is saying something considering it came against New England. Without going into specifics, because I don’t even understand most of PFF’s grades, three of Miami’s four starting defensive line members graded out higher than +2, which means they had exceptional games (Only .01 percent of players are assigned grades higher than +2 in any game). All four members graded out as positive in the pass rush category, which is what I’m aiming at here. Those four players ended up with three sacks and six quarterback hits. Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake each had two quarterback hits; only one other 4-3 defensive end in the NFL had more than one. The sacks are important and the hits lead to fumbles and interceptions. Let’s just say E.J. Manuel isn’t revered for his decision-making, so the Dolphins powerful defensive line against Manuel makes for a tasty matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11%, 18%) – Did you SEE Joe Flacco on Sunday? I’m pretty sure Peter Dinklage could’ve played better than the “elite” Ravens quarterback. Pittsburgh didn’t play too well on defense against Cleveland, but I’m willing to give them a pass especially since this matchup comes on Thursday. Flacco looked confused and overwhelmed, and the Ravens running game is up in the air right now with seemingly no above-average options. The Steelers D still has playmakers, and Cameron Heyward, Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones each recorded sacks Sunday. The Thursday games usually always favor the defenses, so Pittsburgh’s worth a plug-n-play this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (51%, 40%) – The Bucs defense didn’t play too well in Week 1 considering the opponent, a Derek Anderson-led Carolina team. But they’ll get a chance for redemption this week against a poor Rams offense that was held to six points last week. The Bucs have stud defenders on each level of the defense, including Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Alterraun Verner. It might not be pretty, but if your rostered defense has a tough matchup, the Bucs can be a valuable play this week.