Welcome to Week 11, which marks the final four bye weeks of 2017 with Carolina, Indianapolis, San Francisco and the New York Jets all slated for some needed R&R. If you were a Marcus Mariota owner last season, then you’ll recall being left scrambling for a replacement in Week 13, which was the beginning of fantasy playoffs for some leagues. While a condensed bye schedule eliminates that conundrum, it also gave us a bundle of byes to navigate over the past few weeks.
We’ve been able to uncover multiple fantasy QB1s virtually every week in this space, but with more teams in play down the stretch, it’s about to get more difficult to find fruitful quarterback streaming options. Sure, you may have been fortunate to scoop up Carson Wentz or Alex Smith off waivers, but someone like Tyrod Taylor is obviously less likely to out-score Drew Brees in a given week.
As always, before we get into this week’s top QB streaming options, let’s look at how things played out for last week’s recommendations.
|Week 10||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Rank||PFF Passing Grade|
Notes: Matthew Stafford tossed three late scores against Cleveland and is averaging 21 fantasy points in three games since the Lions’ Week 7 bye, which trails only Russell Wilson in that span… Matt Ryan’s first pass was intercepted on a fluky bounce, but he finished as PFF’s top-graded passer on Sunday despite the so-so fantasy numbers… Anyone still not taking Jared Goff for real should know that he’s the top fantasy scorer over the last two weeks (55 points; 0.87 points per dropback) with 666 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions against the Giants and Texans… Ben Roethlisberger may have led the Steelers on a late game-winning drive, but he mostly left fantasy owners disappointed in what was a plush matchup… The Giants may have quite on coach Ben McAdoo, but Eli Manning shined in the short passing game as expected, completing all but two passes thrown less than 20 yards downfield… A swing and a miss on Josh McCown.
Below are the most attractive options for QB streaming for Week 11 who are either widely available, on your bench, or priced cheap in daily formats. Each player is listed along with current ownership and start percentages from ESPN leagues as well as FanDuel salary rank.
Alex Smith (KC @ NYG) – 95.1% owned/(Bye)/No. 10 QB salary on FanDuel
Yes, this should be an obvious play considering Smith has been at or near the top in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks all season. Even though he has failed to crack the top-10 fantasy QBs in three of his last four outings, Smith is an automatic start this week when the Chiefs come off their bye to face a crumbling Giants team that just got picked apart by C.J. Beathard. Kansas City opened the week with an implied total of 27 points from Las Vegas oddsmakers.
New York has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs and owns PFF’s third-worst pass rush grade on the season. When kept clean, Smith has the league’s second-best passer rating (121.2) and fifth-best adjusted completion percentage (82.0), which takes into account drops, throwaways, batted balls and the like. Giants CB Janoris Jenkins graded eighth in coverage last season but is way down to 66th this season after giving up four catches on four targets for 111 yards and a score against San Francisco on Sunday.
Derek Carr (OAK vs. NE) – 82.1%/(Bye)/No. 8 salary
The Raiders are another team coming off a bye with a plus matchup in Week 11 when they host a New England defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season and also owns our second-worst pass-rush grade. When kept clean this season, Carr is completing 80 percent of his aimed passes with 13 touchdowns and only three picks, good for a 105.4 passer rating.
With Tom Brady on the other side, this matchup has the makings of a shootout given Oakland’s No. 26-graded pass defense, which has given up 14 TDs without a single interception this season. Vegas opened it as Week 11’s highest game total (52 points) with the Raiders as home underdogs. Carr has averaged 343 yards through the air over his last three outings.
Philip Rivers (LAC vs. BUF) – 56.8%/11.8%/No. 17 salary
Rivers popped up in the league’s concussion protocol on Monday, which is a bit surprising given he played the entirety of Sunday’s game against Jacksonville and has no history with concussions. Assuming everything checks out, his home tilt against Buffalo makes for a fairly intriguing contrarian play. The Bills own PFF’s No. 27 pass-rush grade, and Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, and Carr all recently eclipsed 300 passing yards on the Bills in consecutive weeks.
Rivers just threw for 235 yards and two TDs against the league’s top pass defense, although his adjusted completion rate on deep throws (20-plus yards) is down to a league-low 26.5 percent on the season. Rivers no doubt needs to hit on more of those missed connections – he was at 40.9 percent on deep balls in 2016 – and Mike Williams should be a player he leans on down the stretch. The rookie has increased his snap total each week since being activated, however he’s yet to see more than two targets in any game.
Blake Bortles (JAX @ CLE) – 15.4%/7.1%/No. 15 salary
Bortles may have only one game this season with multiple passing scores, but he did attempt 51 passes against the Chargers this past week and is averaging 17 fantasy points over his last three outings. It’s easy to forget that Bortles finished last year as the No. 9 fantasy QB, and he’s yet to notch a rushing score in 2017 despite averaging 6.2 YPC (hello, positive regression!). What’s more, downfield threat Dede Westbrook, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football last year, is also slated to return and is a boon for Bortles’ league-worst accuracy percentage (25.9) on deep balls this season.
Bortles struggled with a 19.8 passer rating when the Chargers brought pressure on Sunday, although he ranked seventh with a 68.7 adjusted completion percentage against pressure (and a 74.3 passer rating) heading into Week 10. Cleveland has been among the friendliest fantasy defenses to opposing QBs, thanks largely to PFF’s bottom-graded pass rush. With an implied total of 23 points, Bortles is a solid candidate for two-plus scores this week.
Two-QB and deep leagues
Jay Cutler (MIA vs. TB) – 8.8%/3.7%/No. 22 salary
The Dolphins are set to host a Tampa Bay defense that held Josh McCown and the vaunted Jets’ passing attack in check this past week. However, things have gone quite differently for the Bucs’ pass defense on the road, where they are yielding an average of 23 fantasy points in four games this season.
Cutler entered Monday night’s game ranked fourth out of 35 qualified QBs with a 78.1 adjusted completion percentage. He’ll have a short week, but Cutler is also one game removed from throwing for 300-plus yards with three passing TDs and no picks against Oakland in Week 9, the first such game of his career with those numbers. He’s also thrown for multiple scores in four straight outings and has gotten playmakers DeVante Parker and Julius Thomas more involved since returning from injury in Week 9.
Eli Manning (NYG vs. KC) – 48.2%/23.7%/No. 24 salary
Kansas City is graded fourth-worst in the pass rush department this season by our analysts, and the Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Sterling Shepard, in particular, should have a field day in the slot against Phillip Gaines, who owns PFF’s worst coverage grade out of 116 CBs this season.
Manning has tossed multiple scores in five of his last seven games, with Denver and Seattle the exceptions. Rookie tight end Evan Engram has been a godsend in the red zone and has scored in four straight games. Manning also sports the league’s third-quickest average time to throw (2.44 seconds). With the Giants currently double-digit home underdogs, Manning figures to air it out plenty.