News & Analysis

The best fantasy QB options to stream for Week 16

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks to pass during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

So you’ve made it to fantasy championship week (or another slate of DFS) and are asking yourself the all-important question: “I couldn’t possibly stream a quarterback off the waiver wire this week, could I?”

Allow me to reassure you that yes, yes you can. In Week 14, we saw eight of that week’s top-10 fantasy scores posted by QBs who were drafted as backups this summer, if at all. Then in Week 15, well, just check out the chart below.

This year’s top fantasy QB, Russell Wilson, failed to crack the top-20 on Sunday. Ditto for Tom Brady, who entered Week 12 a top-three fantasy QB on the season, only to average just 11 fantasy points over his next three outings (aka the crux of the fantasy playoff push). Carson Wentz (QB2) is out for the season, Alex Smith (QB3) has one 20-point game in his last seven tries. The list goes on, but the takeaway is this:  the matchup-proof fantasy QB that falls into the tired “start your studs” argument simply does not exist right now. If nothing else, the streaming options below should at least prompt you to take a long and hard look at your usual starter.

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

Ben Roethlisberger

 

Case Keenum

 

 

19

 

19

 

 

QB10

 

QB10

 

 

3rd

 

11th

STANDARD (10-12)

 

Blake Bortles

 

Tyrod Taylor

 

 

25

 

23

 

 

QB3

 

QB6

 

 

4th

 

13th

DEEP/2QB (12+)

 

Jimmy Garoppolo

 

Nick Foles

 

 

19

 

25

 

 

QB10

 

QB3

 

 

15th

 

14th

Notes: Ben Roethlisberger’s success with a clean pocket was spotlighted entering Week 15’s matchup against the Patriots and their league-worst PFF pass-rush grade. Roethlisberger went on to post a 110.9 QB rating with no pressure against New England, and 533 of his 786 passing yards over the last two weeks have come from a clean pocket… That’s now seven straight games with at least 17 fantasy points for Case Keenum… Don’t look now, but Blake Bortles is 11 points off the pace from posting his third straight top-10 fantasy season… Tyrod Taylor was just 1-of-6 on throws that traveled 20-plus yards, but he helped fantasy owners with another rushing TD and averaged 8.5 yards per scramble… The 49ers are 3-0 since turning to Jimmy Garoppolo, who has thrown for the second-most yards and posted the fifth-best PFF grade in that span. Touchdowns are just about the only missing fantasy ingredient… Nick Foles threw touchdowns to four different receivers in his first start, although he only completed one pass that traveled 20-plus yards downfield.

Below are the most attractive options for QB streaming for Week 16 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 16

Shallow leagues

Philip Rivers (LAC @ NYJ) – 85.6% owned/54.6% started/No. 6 QB salary on FanDuel

Rivers was benched in about half of ESPN leagues in Week 15, which was the correct play, considering the Chiefs have not allowed an opposing QB to eclipse 15 fantasy points at Arrowhead Stadium since Week 4. But now would be a good time to consider moving Rivers back into your starting lineup against the lowly Jets. The Jets have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs this season, as they enter Week 16 graded 25th in PFF pass coverage and 29th in pass-rush grade. In the four games since coming out of their bye, they’ve allowed 21 PPG to opposing passers, and Rivers presents another tough assignment this week.

Entering Sunday, Rivers was fantasy’s No. 4 QB over the four weeks since the Chargers emerged from their bye. On the season, he sits inside the top-10 in adjusted completion percentage (ninth), passer rating under pressure (eighth), accuracy when kept clean (eighth), and average time to throw (sixth). Better yet, Keenan Allen dodged an injury scare and is expected to be fine for Week 16 despite being carted off late with a back injury.

Derek Carr (OAK @ PHI) – 76.5%/20.0%/No. 17 salary

He’s only got a couple of elite fantasy weeks under his belt this season, but Carr has been quietly consistent in fantasy, averaging 17 points per game since Week 7. One of Carr’s best traits is his league-best average of 2.33 seconds to throw. That quick release has been key, as he’s posted only a 65.3 passer rating when taking 2.6 seconds or more to throw compared to a 99.2 rating when getting rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds or less. With the Eagles boasting PFF’s top pass rush grade, Carr will need to get the ball out quick if he’s to exploit a Philadelphia secondary that’s allowed eight passing scores over its last three outings.

Eagles’ standout slot corner Patrick Robinson is in the league’s concussion protocol, and on the outside, Ronald Darby has allowed the 11th-most yards per coverage snap (1.59) while Jalen Mills has given up four passing scores in his last three games. If Amari Cooper can return from his ankle injury, it would further tilt the scales in Carr’s favor.

Standard leagues

Case Keenum (MIN @ GB) – 65.3%/37.4%/(Saturday slate)

Keenum had a near-perfect 142.6 passer rating when kept clean in Week 15, completing 13-of-14 passes for 183 yards and a TD. Then again, he was nearly perfect across the board against Cincinnati, going 20-of-23 for 236 yards and two scores. His tape may not always be awe-inspiring, but one thing Keenum does particularly well is get the ball into the hands of his playmakers.

In a game that saw Minnesota jump out to a big lead against Cincinnati and never look back, Keenum found wideout Stefon Diggs and tight end Kyle Rudolph for touchdowns, while Jerick McKinnon led the way with 114 receiving yards out of the backfield on eight targets. All told, 186 of Keenum’s 236 yards came after the catch, as he was 31st on Sunday with an average depth of target of only 4.3 yards yet finished third with 10.26 yards per attempt. Up next is a date with the Packers, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing QBS this season and own PFF’s fourth-worst coverage grade.

Blake Bortles (JAX @ SF) – 39.3%/19.0%/No. 11 salary

Bortles has become something of a posterchild for the type of player who is more coveted in fantasy than in real life. But on Sunday, he was the highest-rated passer (143.8), averaging a league-high 11.24 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Accurate on 84 percent of his 29 throws, Bortles posted a 103.4 passer rating. He also had a perfect 158.3 rating when kept clean, along with a 155.8 rating on play-action.

That kind of situational consistency puts defensive coordinators in quite the bind, not to mention Bortles put up those kinds of numbers with Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens as hit top two receivers. On tap this week is another appealing matchup against a San Francisco defense that owns far and away PFF’s worst pass-coverage grade, having allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Marcus Mariota just posted his first multi-score passing game since Week 9 against the Niners, who have yielded multiple passing TDs in eight of their last nine.

Two-QB and deep leagues

Nick Foles (PHI vs. OAK) – 45.2%/23.1%/No. 15 salary

The Eagles head into their Week 16 home tilt against Oakland carrying an implied total of 28 points from Las Vegas oddsmakers. A streaming recommendation last week in this space, Foles did not disappoint in his first start since taking over for Carson Wentz. Foles missed some throws and got away with a few bad ones, but ultimately, he posted Sunday’s fifth-best passer rating (97.87). That he did it despite completing just 1-of-4 deep targets and averaging only 6.24 yards per attempt is something to be encouraged about.

For a point of comparison, during his breakout 2013 campaign Foles was the seventh-most accurate QB on deep balls (45.5 percent), with 14 touchdowns against only one interception, and a 124.1 passer rating. He also averaged a league-best 9.12 yards per attempt that season. Guard Stefen Wisniewski could return this week to help shore up the protection, and with another week of preparation under his belt, Foles’ arrow is pointing up.

Eli Manning (NYG @ ARI) – 22.7%/2.0%/No. 22 salary

If you are of the opinion that Ben McAdoo was most responsible for holding down the Giants’ offense, then Manning’s 434 yards and three TDs in his first game back as starter in the post-McAdoo era should provide plenty of optimism. Manning posted a 108.0 passer rating on 13 dropbacks under pressure, as two of his three TDs came when under duress. What’s more, his average time of 2.17 seconds to throw was the league’s quickest in Week 15, and his season-average (2.42) is the second-fastest.

Still, there were throws that Manning would have liked to have back, as he connected on only 1-of-6 deep attempts and also got away with what should have been a pick-six if linebacker Nigel Bradham didn’t drop it. The Cardinals have turned things around in the coverage department over the second half of the season, but they’ve still given up multiple passing scores in five of their last seven games (with Jacksonville and Tennessee the exceptions).

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