News & Analysis

The best fantasy QB options to stream for Week 15

Dec 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) dives for more yards on a fourth quarter play against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Foles lead the Eagles to a 43-35 won in relief of starter quarterback Carson Wentz. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another fantasy leaderboard littered with quarterbacks who were all but afterthoughts in fantasy drafts this summer. Last week, it was Alex Smith, Josh McCown, Blake Bortles, and Jameis Winston all cracking the top five. This week, eight of the top 10 were drafted as backups, if at all.

Outside of Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, can you really label any other QB a matchup-proof fantasy starter, now that we’ve lost Carson Wentz? I’ve stressed it throughout the year: “start your studs” is only sound advice if the player truly is a stud. Drew Brees, for example, is a stud only by reputation, certainly not by what he’s done this year as the QB12 in a run-heavy offense. You’ve made it this far, so don’t pin your title hopes to a paint-by-numbers lineup. Do your due diligence and weight all available options.

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 14 Fantasy Points Fantasy Rank PFF Passing Grade
SHALLOW (8-10)

Philip Rivers

 

Derek Carr

 

 

21

 

10

 

 

QB7

 

QB24

 

 

3rd

 

19th

STANDARD (10-12)

 

Case Keenum

 

Marcus Mariota

 

 

21

 

5

 

 

QB7

 

QB31

 

 

2nd

 

31st

DEEP/2QB (12+)

 

Josh McCown

 

Jimmy Garoppolo

 

 

2 (*inj)

 

16

 

 

QB33

 

QB17

 

 

30th

 

7th

Notes: Ever since the Chargers came out of their bye in Week 10, Philip Rivers is the No. 4 fantasy QB… Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, on the other hand, continue their mysterious third-year regression. The Titans’ “exotic smashmouth” offense certainly looks to have run its course… We’ll get into Case Keenum and Jimmy Garoppolo below, while Josh McCown suffered yet another season-ending injury in what was shaping up as one of the best of the 38-year-old’s career.

Below are the most attractive options for QB streaming for Week 15 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.

Week 15

Shallow leagues

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT vs. NE) – 88.3% owned/44.7% started/No. 7 QB salary on FanDuel

This matchup opened with Las Vegas’ highest over/under (54) for the week, with a healthy implied total of 26 points for Pittsburgh. The Patriots entered Monday having allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs, and now they’ll have a short week to turn around and face the surging Steelers. New England also owns PFF’s dead-last pass-rush grade, and 397 of Roethlisberger’s 506 passing yards on Sunday came from a clean pocket.

All told, “Home Ben” completed a ridiculous 71 percent of his 62 aimed passes – against a stingy Baltimore pass defense, no less – to finish as the top-scoring fantasy QB in Week 14. What’s more, he racked up those numbers with little or no contributions from Martavis Bryant (33 receiving yards) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (one-game suspension). Most of the 55 percent of ESPN leaguers who had Roethlisberger benched woke up Monday kicking themselves. If you lived to fight another day, now is the time to get him back in your lineup. Seriously, do it now and then come back and finish the piece.

Case Keenum (MIN vs. CIN) – 56.6%/23.7%/No. 17 salary

Keenum simply continues to roll, and this week he gets a tasty matchup against a Bengals defense with our third-worst coverage grade on the season. Cincinnati is allowing an average of 20 fantasy points to opposing QBs over its last three outings – all at home – with rookie Mitchell Trubisky the latest to post a top-10 score. Fellow rookie DeShone Kizer and “Road” Ben Roethlisberger were the others. The Vikings have an implied total of 27 points in Week 14.

Keenum is the No. 4 fantasy QB since Week 8, having scored at least 17 fantasy points in six straight, including three top-six finishes. He was victimized by five drops against Carolina, one of which resulted in an interception, and was also pressured on nearly half of his dropbacks (44 percent). And yet he still delivered a fruitful fantasy outing despite being benched in more than 75 percent of ESPN leagues.

Standard leagues

Blake Bortles (JAX vs. HOU) – 20.3%/4.5%/No. 18 salary

Given how low his lows tend to be, it’s easy to forget that Bortles finished as fantasy’s QB9 last season and is within 20 points of placing in the top-10 again. In fact, Bortles has been a top-five QB over his last three games, trailing only Russell Wilson with 0.63 fantasy points per dropback while sporting a 76.4 adjusted completion percentage.

The emergence of Dede Westbrook as a downfield threat has been a godsend, as Bortles connected on seven of nine throws that traveled 10-plus yards in the air against Seattle on Sunday, including all three of his attempts that traveled at least 20 air yards. All told, he averaged 9.9 yards on 27 attempts, finishing with 268 yards and two scores. He also posted a 145.2 passer rating without pressure and now faces a Houston defense graded 25th in the pass-rush department. The Texans have surrendered 24 passing TDs, ranking third-worst in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs this season.

Tyrod Taylor (BUF vs. MIA) – 43.6%/No. 20 salary

Assuming Taylor is active, he makes for a sneaky streaming pick against a Dolphins defense with the second-worst PFF coverage grade. We’ll obviously need to keep an eye on weather this time of year, given the snow globe the Bills just played in. Save for a couple of duds in recent weeks, Taylor has been remarkably steady since 2015, averaging nearly six fantasy points per game just as a rusher.

In four career games against Miami, Taylor boasts a 121.2 passer rating with eight TDs, no picks, and an average of 252 passing yards to go with another 38 on the ground. And while the Dolphins do possess a solid pass rush, Taylor ranks in the top-five this season in both accuracy (67.8 percent) and QB rating (80.8) under pressure. He comes with a low ceiling as always, although Taylor is the QB10 in our Week 10 fantasy projection model.

Two-QB and deep leagues

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF vs. TEN) – 23.6%/11.2%/No. 19

The fantasy points haven’t quite been there, but Garoppolo has been among the top-five graded passers in each of his first two starts with the 49ers and has improved each time out. He’s averaged 9.0 yards per attempt in his three appearances; for comparison’s sake, Deshaun Watson leads the league with 8.3 YPA this season. He’s also developed a nice rapport with Marquise Goodwin, who’s been a top-10 PPR receiver in Garoppolo’s two starts with 35 fantasy points (14-of-19 targets for 205 yards).

He posted an 86.2 overall grade against Houston this past week, going 8-of-10 for 163 yards on intermediate throws (10-19 yards). His interception came on a bad pass under duress, and that’s an area in which Garoppolo can improve as he has just a 50.8 passer rating on 28 dropbacks under pressure. Still, having picked up wins in each of his first two road starts, Garoppolo is now set for his 49ers home debut against a middling Titans pass defense.

Nick Foles (PHI @ NYG) – 0.1%/0.0%/No. 35 salary

Sure, it’s a DFS dart throw and a bit of a desperation pick in season-long leagues, but Foles has an awfully exploitable matchup in his 2017 starting debut. The Giants lead the league in passing scores (26) and fantasy points allowed through the air this season. They also sit in the bottom-five in PFF pass-rush grade and have given up the second-most passing yards.

Foles didn’t exactly light it up in relief of Carson Wentz against the Rams, although he did deliver a perfectly thrown ball into a tight window to Nelson Agholor to convert a late third down and run out the clock. Our Sam Monson made a solid case for why Philadelphia may be just fine without Wentz, as the Eagles use more run/pass options than any other team, and Foles has had success in such a scheme. The 2017 version of the Eagles offense shares some notable traits with the 2013 team, and Foles’ numbers that year stack up favorably to Wentz’s current season in terms of accuracy and production under pressure.

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