Fantasy Football Week 1: Five Viable Streaming Options at Quarterback

These five quarterbacks could be quality streaming options in Week 1 of fantasy football, for one reason or another.

In today’s fantasy football world, late-round quarterback and a strategy based on streaming players at the position have become a winning method. If you’re looking for the best streaming options for Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season, you’ve come to the right place.

Week 1 of the season offers a variety of quarterback in good situations or matchups. Even better is that many quarterbacks in that type of situation could be available in your league. We’ll take a look at a handful of those quarterbacks who could help win your opener in fantasy.

In order to provide fantasy owners with enough options, I will be listing five players. All players are currently less than 50 percent owned on ESPN.com.

5. Dak Prescott vs. New York Giants

At only 47.3 percent owned, Prescott is an extremely intriguing option for streamers out there. Dallas’ implied point total of 23.75 is somewhat underwhelming, but Prescott’s ability to make plays on the ground will provide owners with a decent floor.

Prescott’s Cowboys are also playing a Giants team that was horrible against the pass in 2015, coming in at 28th in Football Outsiders‘ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) against the pass. Did the Giants attempt to fix their defense by spending big in free agency this year? Yes. Does that always work? Nope.

Playing Prescott before the NFL has had a chance to adequately develop a game plan for him is a great strategy if you’re searching for streaming options this week.

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Cincinnati Bengals

We all saw what “Good Fitz” can do last season when he set career highs in yardage and touchdowns. While it isn’t a certainty that he will produce like that again, he’ll definitely be given a chance. And at 36.4 percent ownership, he’s a great streaming option.

Chan Gailey knows how to scheme a perfect offense for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets have the personnel that the gunslinger needs to be productive.

In addition to veteran wideouts Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the Jets brought in long-time Chicago Bear Matt Forte. While a good between the tackles runner in his own right, Forte’s forte (see what I did there?) is catching the ball out of the backfield. The last time that Forte played 16 games, he saw 130 targets. We all know he’s getting older, but what he may lack in top-end speed is made up for with his veteran savvy and Fitzpatrick owners will benefit.

This week against the Bengals, who have and excellent front seven, the Jets will be best served by passing early and often. Expect Fitzpatrick to see 40+ drop backs and with that, top-10 quarterback upside.

Robert Griffin III

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

3. Robert Griffin III at Philadelphia Eagles

At 18.4 percent ownership, Robert Griffin is a sneaky play this week—especially if you’re rostering more than one quarterback.

While I will be the first one to say that what happens in the preseason should be taken with a grain of salt, I was surprised to see how good Griffin looked in his small sample size this August. Griffin’s deep ball looked as good as it did his rookie year in Washington and while the Browns roster is certainly lacking, the one attribute their wide receivers have is deep speed.

New Browns coach Hue Jackson was calling plays the last two seasons in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton’s most productive professional years. I expect him to bring some excitement to this Browns offense. The Browns will focus more on the run game, a weakness of Philadelphia’s defense in 2015, and allow Griffin to take shots downfield after the ground game has been established.

Is this my first choice for streaming this week? No. But if you’re in a deep league, I could see Griffin coming out of Philadelphia with a good stat line on Sunday.

Aug 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs with the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first half of the preseason game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs with the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first half of the preseason game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

2. Alex Smith vs. San Diego Chargers

Alex Smith, a notoriously conservative quarterback playing for a notoriously conservative coach, is only 20.6 percent owned in ESPN leagues. His tendency to dump the ball short is certainly a contributing factor to his ownership, but I like his chances for a nice day in his matchup against San Diego.

San Diego’s defense in 2015 was abysmal, ranking 28th overall in DVOA. In the offseason, they let their best defensive player, safety Eric Weddle, leave in free agency. They then fought with their 2016 first-round pick, defensive end Joey Bosa, over a signing bonus. The Chargers defense is not going to be good this year.

The Chargers’ lack of defensive talent will result in them selling out against the run on early downs, incentivizing Smith and the Chiefs to air it out. It’s realistic to expect Smith’s stat line to look something like, 230 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 30 yards rushing—not a bad fantasy day.

Joe Flacco

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Joe Flacco vs. Buffalo Bills

Joe Flacco is my favorite streaming option of Week 1. And at only 16 percent ownership, Flacco is available in most leagues.

In 2015 the Baltimore Ravens 676 pass attempts, over 42 per game, ranked first in the NFL. The Ravens favored the pass for two reasons. First, their defense was not very good, ranking 20th by DVOA. Second, their offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman, loves to throw the ball. Previously, I mentioned Matt Forte’s 130 targets in 2014. Marc Trestman was the coach and play-caller of that Bears team.

The aforementioned Eric Weddle is now in Baltimore but former All-Pro Terrell Suggs is slowly coming back from an Achilles tear last season, and may not play on Sunday. Baltimore’s defense may be slightly improved, but there is no reason to think that the Ravens will become a team focused on running the ball and playing slowly.

I expect Flacco to throw the ball 40+ times, a number of them to running backs, against a Bills defense that is a tad overrated heading into the season.

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