QB2 Streamers: Week 5
A wild year so far continues to get wilder with each passing (literally) week. Past passing statistics aren’t just getting slightly usurped, they’re getting absolutely destroyed. Last week there were five quarterbacks who threw for 400 or more yards. Last season there were only eight instances of a 400-yard passer, none of whom did it more than once. Ryan Fitzpatrick has done it three times this year.
In fact, there are currently 11 quarterbacks averaging 300 or more passing yards per game. Know a few of the quarterbacks that haven’t thrown for 300 yards this season? Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, and Russell Wilson.
That sound you currently hear as you read on is long-time late-round QB aficionado JJ Zachariason loudly patting himself on the back, and with good reason. With the lax rules in place setting up the passing game, more mediocre quarterbacks are doing not-so-mediocre things with the football. Investing heavily in the quarterback position might finally be a thing of the past in the fantasy football realm.
For transparency sake, last week’s results… Fishing Upstream Recommendations: Baker Mayfield — 16.80 fantasy points/QB19, C.J. Beathard — 17.82 fantasy points/QB17, Fishing Downstream Recommendation: Drew Brees — 8.58 fantasy points/QB25.
In the case of streaming quarterbacks, for the sake of this article, the focus is on highlighting quarterbacks to stream in the second QB slot in your 2QB or Superflex league, in the event you went with a Studs & Streaming approach to the position in drafts this offseason. I will also highlight one quarterback you would normally consider without any hesitation to start in your QB1 slot who may have you considering that thought process due to a bad matchup.
FISHING UPSTREAM: TWO QB2S TO STREAM IN WEEK 5
JOSH ROSEN VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Last week Mayfield was a rookie I wanted exposure to in his first start on the road. This week I’m dialing up another rookie signal-caller in Josh Rosen. Looking at last week, it’s easy to be skeptical. Rosen finished his first NFL start with just 180 passing yards and a touchdown. He also added 13 yards on the ground.
Of course, last week Rosen played the best he could given the circumstances. Simply put, his teammates were trash. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present exhibit A for why Rosen should have had a much bigger debut.
— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) September 30, 2018
Expect to see more aggressiveness out of the Cardinals offense moving forward, though. The 49ers are Pro Football Focus’ lowest-graded defense overall and are ranking in the bottom 10 in pass rush, run defense, and coverage. This week serves up a prime opportunity to test Rosen’s willingness to fling the ball downfield. He’s done so thus far significantly more than predecessor Sam Bradford.
According to #NextGenStats, the contrast between Josh Rosen and Sam Bradford's playing styles has been stark thus far. On avg, Rosen is holding onto the ball longer (+0.4 sec), throwing the ball deeper (+3 air yards), closer to the sticks (+2.1) and into more tight windows (+6%) pic.twitter.com/ETvSPR27ff
— Keegan Abdoo (@KeeganAbdoo) October 2, 2018
DEREK CARR VS. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Through the first four games of the season, Derek Carr is fourth in passing yards, seventh in yards per passing attempt, and is completing 71.3 percent of his passes. In Week 5, Carr takes on division rival Los Angeles Chargers. Last week, Beathard was recommended against this porous secondary. The Chargers are allowing opposing quarterbacks to average 288.25 passing yards per game and 21.5 rushing yards per game. They’ve also allowed 10 passing touchdowns thus far.
Carr has had a mixed bag of results in his career against the Chargers with a record of 4-4 in eight starts. In those eight games, he’s only thrown more than one touchdown against them three times. He’s only topped 300 passing yards in one game. As we’ve seen thus far this season though, yesteryear’s quarterback stats are as useless as an inflatable dartboard.
The Chargers defense will get a boost with the return of Corey Liuget on the defensive line, but their secondary has continued to struggle in coverage with the lack of sacks and pressures. Speaking of secondaries struggling, group therapy might be in order given how the Raiders’ defense has played this year. Expecting them to play in a low-scoring affair seems like bleak optimism. Vegas currently pegs this game at a total of 53 points. With the Raiders passing on just over 61 percent of their plays, expect Carr to continue to air it out this week, making for an excellent upside play in what could turn out to be a shootout in Southern California.
FISHING DOWNSTREAM: ONE QB1 TO AVOID IN WEEK 5
DESHAUN WATSON VS. DALLAS COWBOYS
The Dallas Cowboys might only be 2-2 in the standings, but their defense has actually played fairly well this season. The Cowboys have allowed the fifth-fewest yards per game, giving up a paltry 4.9 yards per play. Dallas has allowed the fourth-fewest air yards thus far this season, with an aDOT of 7.2 yards, seventh-lowest in the NFL.
A large part of that has been because of the front seven. The Cowboys have gotten pressure routinely thus far this season using minimal blitzes. While it hasn’t resulted in an interception (yet), it’s not for a lack of trying. Given the potential for the Texans hitting the big play (Watson has 11 passing plays of 25 or more yards), it’s imperative for the Cowboys to get to him early.
Winning the battle up front without pressure will be key when going up against Watson and the Houston Texans offense. Watson has been sacked a league-high 17 times already this season. Just last week he was sacked a total of seven times against the Indianapolis Colts. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien tried to downplay that number a bit in his press conference afterwards.
Bill O'Brien: The #Texans offensive line was probably only responsible for two sacks. The other five were the result of missed assignments, other things.
— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) October 1, 2018
Whether the sacks are credited towards the offensive line or not, though, it’s a bit concerning when your franchise quarterback is taking that many hits. There’s also the potential for wide receiver Will Fuller to be limited or unavailable due to a hamstring injury suffered against the Colts. While it’s unlikely he misses Sunday night, hamstring injuries have a tendency to not give a damn about your fantasy teams (just ask Leonard Fournette owners). While a short sample size, Watson has seen considerable drop-off without his second best receiver.