2016 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Streaming Options
Whether you have chosen to play the waiver wire and stream quarterbacks, tight ends, defenses or all three, we have you covered. Below you’ll find three streaming options at each position for Week 3.
Not spending a high draft pick or a lot of auction dollars on a quarterback has been a popular season-long draft strategy for years now. Similarly, there’s a philosophy in the daily fantasy world that you should make an effort to find a cheap quarterback and spend the bulk of your resources elsewhere.
As a DFS player, I often utilize the “cheap QB” theory. And in order to find cheap quarterbacks that will produce I follow the guidance provided by 4for4.com’s Chris Raybon in his off-season DFS study of the QB position. To be extremely reductive, Raybon suggests that you find cheap quarterbacks playing on a team with an implied point total in Vegas of at least 24 that week. It’s also preferable for their team to be a favorite and ideally a home favorite. That same criteria can just as easily be applied to QBs available on the waiver wire as it can to QBs with cheap salaries in daily contests.
Three quarterbacks that are available to varying degrees meet that criteria this week.
The first, and the one least likely to be available unless you play in a fairly shallow league, is Marcus Mariota (vs. OAK, 51.3 percent owned, ESPN). The Titans are a small favorite at home and have an implied team total of 24.25. Mariota has been consistent through two weeks with 15- and 16-point performances in standard leagues. His matchup with Oakland appears to be an excellent one as the Raiders rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ passing defense DVOA. Two weeks is obviously a small sample size, but the Raiders have been the worst pass defense by a healthy margin according to DVOA, so it’s probably safe to say they’re at least an above average matchup for opposing QBs.
Next up is Ryan Tannehill (vs. CLE, 25.9 percent owned). Tannehill and the Dolphins are a big 9.5-point favorite at home against the Browns, and the Dolphins have an implied team total of 25.5. The Browns allowed the second most yards per passing attempt last season and have allowed Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco to combine for 580 passing yards through two weeks along with two touchdowns for each. Tannehill is coming of a 22 fantasy point performance in a tough assignment at New England last week, and he could easily repeat that against Cleveland.
Finally we’ve got Dak Prescott (vs. CHI, 43.4 percent owned), though Tannehill is a preferable option and is likely to be available in any league where Dak is available. But in the event that Mariota and Tannehill are both owned and Dak is still around, Dak is an option with the Cowboys being a seven-point favorite with an implied team total of 26 at home against the Bears.
Tight end is similar to quarterback (also per Raybon’s research) in that it’s a good practice to target tight ends playing for teams with a implied total of 24 or more in Vegas, preferably for a home favorite.
That said, I’m going to diverge from that criteria a bit and discuss a tight end playing for a road team with an implied total of only 23.25. Dennis Pitta (@ JAX, 29.2 percent owned), is an acceptable diversion from the stated criteria simply because he’s seeing a lot of volume. Six tight ends have seen 15 or more targets this season, one of which is Pitta, with three of those six surely being owned in your league. The Jags were one of the five most fantasy-friendly defenses to tight ends last year, so the matchup is good for Pitta this week.
Another one of those six tight ends who have seen 15 or more targets already is Jacob Tamme (@ NO, 36.4 percent owned). The Falcons are on the road, but they have an implied team total of 25.25 against the Saints who have allowed the third most passing yards through two weeks after allowing the most passing yards last season. They also allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Tamme has been consistently pat of the offense through two weeks with at least five receptions and at least 50 yards in both games.
One guy who truly does meet the criteria is Dwayne Allen (vs. SD, 55.7 percent owned), even though he’s likely owned in all but shallow leagues. The Colts are a three-point favorite with an implied team total of 27.25 at home against the Chargers. But the point is probably moot since Pitta and Tamme are better streaming options this week and are likely to be available in any league in which Allen is on the wire.
You want defenses that will face a lot of passing plays. Interceptions and sacks can only occur on a passing play, and there were 20 more pick sixes than scoop and scores last season. Not to mention the fact that fumbles occur more on passing plays than rushing plays. Being that teams tend to throw more when behind, you need to pick out defenses that are favorites in Vegas, preferably home favorites. And in an ideal world, their opponent will have a low implied team total in Vegas.
Since we picked on the Browns when we discussed Tannehill, let’s do it again and discuss the Dolphins D/ST (vs. CLE, 17.7 percent owned). The Dolphins are a 9.5-point favorite at home, and the Browns have the second lowest implied total at 16. Defenses facing the Browns this season have scored 12 and 10 fantasy points through two weeks, and those defenses didn’t have the pleasure of facing a rookie quarterback making his first career start on the road like the Dolphins will against Cody Kessler. Miami struggled against the Pats last week but looked very good in Week 1 against Seattle, though the Seahawks don’t seem to have much of an offense right now. The Browns definitely more closely resemble a disheveled Seattle team than they do an unstoppable Pats offense (no matter who the QB is).
Next we have the Buccaneers D/ST (vs. LA, 7.7 percent owned) who are 4.5-point favorites at home against the Rams whose 18.75 implied total is the fourth lowest of the weekend. The Bucs got torched in Arizona last week and were only average in Week 1, but both of those games were on the road. Perhaps more importantly, those games were against Matt Ryan and Carson Palmer, not Case Keenum. The Bucs rank 16th in Football Outsiders’ DAVE rankings which still heavily factor in preseason projections at this point, so this defense is probably better than they’ve shown through two weeks. A return home to face Keenum should provide better results.
In the event neither the Dolphins or Bucs are available, consider the Giants D/ST (vs. WSH, 12 percent owned). You should be able to pick up Miami or Tampa Bay first, but if not the Giants are 4.5-point favorites at home against the Redskins who have a below average implied total of 21.5.