So, you’ve made it this far and are intent to “start your studs” in your fantasy title quest. Fair enough, but consider that in Week 13 – the start of fantasy playoffs for many leagues – among the top-five fantasy scorers were the likes of Alex Smith (38 points), Josh McCown (31), Blake Bortles (23), and Jameis Winston (21). With the exception of perhaps Smith, none of those quarterbacks are guys that got you to this point, but each was a difference-maker in the most pivotal week to date.
Keep that in mind before locking in those Week 14 lineups. As we’ve seen week in and week out in this space, there’s a very real likelihood that at least one of the QBs sitting on your league’s waiver wire is capable of delivering a week-winning performance.
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 13||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Rank||PFF Passing Grade|
Notes: Jared Goff had a decent day at the office but did not complete any passes downfield (20-plus air yards) and struggled under pressure (56.8 passer rating)… As it turned out, not having Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to throw to was kind of a big deal for Derek Carr… Philip Rivers and Case Keenum continue to get the job done, as both rand among the top-five fantasy QBs since Week 10… Blake Bortles turned in one of the better performances of his career on Sunday, completing 81.8 percent of his aimed passes to go with a 115.8 passer rating under pressure… The fantasy production may not have been there for Jimmy Garoppolo in his first start as a 49er, although he was actually our top-graded passer on Sunday. Garoppolo shined on play action, completing all eight of his attempts for 105 yards (and a 118.8 passer rating).
Below are the most attractive options for QB streaming for Week 14 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.
Philip Rivers (LAC vs. WAS) – 81.4%/63.1%/No. 4 salary
Washington has held its last two opposing quarterbacks in check. But those QBs, Eli Manning and Dak Prescott, have been stifled by quite a few defenses lately. The Redskins had allowed top-five fantasy performances by four of the previous five QBs they had faced, and this week’s opponent, Rivers, has been a top-five fantasy QB since Week 10. In fact, Rivers trails only Tom Brady and Case Keenum in passer rating in that span, with an average of 316 passing yards per tilt. He’s also sporting a 103.0 passer rating under pressure.
Rivers continues to be in lockstep with Keenan Allen (averaging 11 catches for 145 yards and a TD over the last three games) and is also getting tight end Hunter Henry more involved of late. The Browns struggled to generate pressure against the Chargers in Week 13, and Rivers was surgical throwing from a clean pocket, completing 28-of-35 passes for 304 yards and a TD. He was also 11-of-20 for 192 yards on passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield. With an implied total of 26 points from Las Vegas oddsmakers, Rivers and the Chargers should continue to roll against Washington in Week 14.
Derek Carr (OAK @ KC) – 83.9%/39.6%/No. 11 salary
Kansas City sits in the bottom-five in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, PFF pass-coverage grade, and pass-rush grade. On paper, this is certainly a matchup Carr can exploit. His average time of 2.29 seconds to throw is the quickest in the league. When getting rid of the ball within 2.5 seconds, Carr’s passer rating is 100.3, compared to a 72.6 rating when taking longer to release. He also has a 78.8 adjusted completion percentage when kept clean, with 17 touchdowns and three picks.
The last time Carr faced the Chiefs, back in Week 7, he threw for a season-high 417 yards and three TDs. Granted, the environment won’t be quite as friendly at Arrowhead Stadium, but the Chiefs have been exposed at home on multiple occasions this season. With Cooper and Crabtree both sidelined against the Giants in Week 13, Carr attempted only four passes beyond 20 yards, completing one. He also had four passes dropped by receivers. Crabtree is set to return from his suspension, and the Raiders are hopeful about Cooper’s (concussion, ankle) chances to suit up, as well.
Marcus Mariota (TEN @ ARI) – 71.0%/22.0%/No. 18 salary
It’s been a frustrating season for fantasy owners waiting for the re-emergence of the player who averaged a league-best 21.5 fantasy points over his final 10 games a year ago. However, Mariota has yet to hit that mark in even one game this season. Subsequently, Mariota’s ownership continues to dip, as he was benched in more than 75 percent of ESPN leagues last week despite a favorable matchup on paper against Houston. Still, he did produce 18 points thanks to a pair of scores, including one as a runner. That last part is encouraging; Mariota ran for 20-plus yards in each of his first four games (along with three rushing scores) until a hamstring injury sapped his mobility, but he’s been doing more with his legs in recent weeks.
This week, the Titans face an Arizona pass defense that has been among the most generous to opposing QBs this season. Suggesting things aren’t quite as dire as the numbers suggest, Mariota does boast a league-best 134.1 passer rating on play action this season. He’s also been just about as accurate as last year on deep passes (41.9 percent in 2016 vs. 40.5 percent in 2017), but his passer rating on those throws has dipped a bit (from 101.2 down to 89.9), and he’s not taking shots quite as often (13.7 percent of attempts down to 11.2 percent). The Titans do have a potentially lethal downfield threat in rookie Corey Davis, but he and Mariota have yet to really get on the same page.
Case Keenum (MIN @ CAR) – 57.7%/35.5%/No. 16 salary
We’ll continue going back to the Keenum well regardless of matchup. That’s how good a run he’s been on over the past month or so, and in fact he ranks third in fantasy points per dropback since Week 8. Over his last four games, Keenum’s 80.8 adjusted completion percentage is tops in the league. That accuracy was on display against Atlanta on Sunday, as he slung the ball downfield only three times but was 25-of-26 on throws that traveled 19 or fewer yards in the air.
Keenum has been pressured on 38.2 percent of dropbacks – the league’s fourth-highest rate – although Carolina’s pass rush has been hit or miss (No. 23 PFF pass-rush grade). When kept clean, Keenum boasts an 80.0 adjusted completion percentage to go with a 111.8 passer rating. The predicament opposing defensive coordinators face is that he sports a 106.2 passer rating against the blitz.
Two-QB and deep leagues
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF @ HOU) – 14.5%/4.0%/No. 22 salary
Garoppolo gets a tasty Week 14 matchup against a Houston defense allowing more fantasy points to opposing QBs than every team but the Jets. The big plays (and touchdowns) were missing in Garoppolo’s 49ers starting debut against Chicago, although he averaged a healthy 7.9 yards on his 37 attempts, completing 26 passes (70.3 percent) for 293 yards with an interception that wasn’t his fault. What’s more, Garoppolo had a 118.8 passer rating on play action.
All in all, it was an encouraging showing from a new quarterback who has had roughly a month to pick up Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The Bears entered the week among the top-10 stingiest fantasy defenses against opposing QBs, allowing just 216 yards per game through the air. The Texans are yielding 236 YPG along with 23 passing TDs, nine more than the Bears’ total on the season.
Josh McCown (NYJ @ DEN) – 39.4%/16.5%/No. 15 salary
Once a matchup to avoid in fantasy, Denver is in the bottom half of PFF’s pass-coverage grade (18th) this season. Opposing QBs have the fourth-best passer rating (98.9) when facing the Broncos, who have surrendered a league-high 26 passing TDs. Enter McCown, fantasy’s No. 8 QB on the season.
McCown has had the deep ball working of late, as he’s completed 8-of-15 downfield passes (20-plus yards) for 271 yards and three TDs since Week 10, good for a 110.4 passer rating. The emergence of Robby Anderson has been a big factor behind that success, with the second-year wideout averaging 16.8 yards per catch with seven scores. Somewhat quietly, McCown is also tied for the league lead among quarterbacks with five rushing scores. With that added element, the veteran signal-caller has notched multiple scores in seven of his last eight outings.