It was yet another fruitful week to stream the quarterback position in Week 5, highlighted by No. 1 overall fantasy QB Deshaun Watson. The top of the fantasy leaderboard continues to be littered with QBs that were available late in the later rounds of drafts this summer.
That should help reassure those rostering one of the four QBs with a bye this week in Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, and Tyrod Taylor. On the injury front, Derek Carr was expected to miss 2-6 weeks with a back injury, but early reports indicate he could return to action this week against the Chargers, albeit at less than 100 percent. Reports have also surfaced that Marcus Mariota may play through his hamstring injury, although owners may want to look elsewhere given that Tennessee won’t play until Monday night. Elsewhere, Matthew Stafford is dealing with ankle and thigh injuries and should be monitored as the week progresses.
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As always, before we get into Week 6 let’s look at how things played out for last week’s recommended QB streaming options.
|Week 5||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Rank||PFF Passing Grade|
Notes: Well, it was fun while it lasted with Deshaun Watson as a streaming option. When this piece was published ahead of Week 5, the rookie was available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues and started in only 10 percent, while 12 other QBs were priced higher on FanDuel. Fast forward to Week 6, and Watson now leads all QBs in fantasy scoring and is at almost 90-percent ownership with the seventh-highest FanDuel salary. As mentioned last week, he’ll no longer qualify as one of our streaming options but will remain a QB1 moving forward for those who were able to add him… Carson Palmer had a would-be second TD pass in garbage time that wound up being fumbled into the end zone for a touchback the other way… Jacoby Brissett also could have had a bigger day if it weren’t for a couple of missed connections with T.Y. Hilton… Philip Rivers was endorsed as a two-QB/deep league play and turned in a QB7 fantasy showing on Sunday.
Below are the most attractive options for QB streaming for Week 6 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.
With 21 QBs currently owned in more than half of ESPN leagues, we’ll expand our range a bit this week to include shallow and deeper leagues.
Shallow leagues (8-10 teams)
Kirk Cousins (WAS vs. SF) – 88.2% owned/No. 10 QB salary on FanDuel
Cousins got off to a rough start through the season’s first two weeks, but over the course of Weeks 3-4 he was fantasy’s No. 6 QB and tied for the league lead with 0.80 fantasy points per dropback. He also trailed only Russell Wilson and Tom Brady in PFF grade in that span. On the season, Cousins has tossed seven TDs against only one pick, and he ranks fourth in both PFF QB rating (93.13) and yards per attempt (8.30).
That Cousins has put up those kinds of numbers despite minimal contributions from virtually all of his top playmakers is commendable. Now, he’s coming off a bye and playing at home against San Francisco, PFF’s worst-graded team in pass coverage. Adding to the intrigue is Washington’s hefty implied game total of 28 points by Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Alex Smith (KC vs. PIT) – 74.2%/44.1% started/No. 16 salary
The Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (8.8 per game) and own PFF’s No. 6 pass coverage grade on the season. But this is a case where the fantasy’s No. 2 QB through five games supersedes the matchup. Smith’s 27 fantasy points were fourth-best on Sunday (0.64 points per dropback), marking his third top-five showing through five weeks. He completed 24-of-27 passes with a clean pocket against Houston, and even under pressure Smith posted a 114.6 QB rating, accounting for two of his three touchdowns.
With 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions on the season, Smith’s 125.8 passer rating leads the league, as does his average of 8.80 yards per attempt. Labeled as a “game manager” throughout his career, on passes 20-plus yards downfield this season, no quarterback has been more accurate than Smith (57.9 adjusted completion rate), who boasts a league-best 142.0 QB rating on 19 downfield attempts. All told, Smith trails only Deshaun Watson with 0.62 fantasy points per dropback.
Standard leagues (10-12 teams)
Trevor Siemian (DEN vs. NYG) – 27.2%/No. 15 salary
Coming off a bye with a Vegas implied total of 26 points, Siemian is back on the streaming radar. This week, the Broncos host the Giants at Mile High, and Siemian is averaging north of 20 fantasy points in his three home games this year. For his career, Siemian averages 1.28 more yards per attempt at home than on the road, which represents a rather significant increase of 17 percent. While Siemian’s star has faded some after that hot start that saw him sitting as the top scoring fantasy QB through two weeks, Denver’s Week 6 opponent is not one to fear.
The Giants have not resembled the same stingy passing defense from last season, as they’ve been among the most generous defenses to opposing QBs with 10 passing TDs allowed and only one interception. They own PFF’s second-worst pass -ush grade, and that’s notable just because of the high altitude, but also because Siemian has a 109.7 passer rating from a clean pocket this season.
Jacoby Brissett (IND @ TEN) – 15.9%/14.1%/No. 24 salary
The passing TDs haven’t been there yet, but Brissett is averaging a healthy 7.85 yards per attempt (seventh-best) and actually has the 13th-highest PFF grade among all quarterbacks, at 77.7. This past week, he was 7-of-11 for 139 yards and a 107.2 passer rating under duress, and he completed several big throws at the intermediate and deep level. In fact, only Smith and Tom Brady have been more accurate on deep throws this season, with Brissett posting an average depth of target 9.9 yards downfield.
Brissett has put up top-10 QB fantasy production in two of his last three outings, and his mobility gives him a high weekly floor (his average of 0.47 PPDB ranks inside the top-12 for the season). This week’s opponent, the Titans, have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs and are tied with New England with a league-high 12 passing scores allowed. All told, the Titans own PFF’s fourth-worst pass coverage grade through five weeks.
Two-QB and deep leagues
Carson Palmer (ARI vs. TB) – 54.1%/31.5%/No. 20 salary
Palmer has mostly failed to deliver in consecutive plus matchups, and his two-touchdown effort against Dallas in Week 3 marked his only game thus far with more than one passing TD. However, he’ll get another chance to reward fantasy owners this week against a Tampa Bay defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. In fact, the Bucs own PFF’s second-worst pass coverage grade on the season, and Palmer is coming off a Week 5 performance in which he posted the league’s second-quickest release time (2.21 seconds).
Touchdowns aside, only Tom Brady has thrown for more yards this season than Palmer (314.6 per game). What’s more, speedster John Brown looks to be back to full health after playing 80 percent of the snaps on Sunday and notching his first touchdown.
Josh McCown (NYJ vs. NEP) – 4.4%/3.6%/No. 23 salary
Point blank, any quarterback facing New England will remain in play as a viable streaming option as long as the Patriots defense continues hemorrhaging fantasy points through the air. New England has allowed a ridiculous 25 fantasy points per game to opposing passers, which is an average of five points more than the next-worst defense. What’s more, the game script lines up swimmingly for McCown, considering the Jets are 9.5-point road underdogs and could be without running backs Bilal Powell (calf) and Matt Forte (turf toe).
On the season, McCown is completing 71.4 percent of his passes. His average of 2.19 seconds to throw was the quickest in the league this past week.