The quarterback position has been a difficult one to keep filling for some fantasy football owners. With injuries and poor play, the streaming option has been a solid investment in 2017. Jared Goff, Jay Cutler and Jacoby Brissett were top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last week (depending on scoring).
Each week, if you steam the right quarterback, it can really pay off. Whether it’s bye weeks, injuries or just bad matchups, keep an eye on those quarterbacks in the weeks to come. Here are those QBs (and defense/special teams) to consider trusting in for Week 10, and a few you shouldn’t.
Good Calls for Week 9...
Start Dak Prescott (26.66 fantasy points) – Prescott proved that the Cowboys will be just fine if/when Ezekiel Elliot is suspended.
Sit Andy Dalton (5.34 FP) – The Bengals’ offense was terrible against the Jaguars. It also doesn’t help when your best player (A.J. Green) gets himself thrown out of the game.
Bad Calls for Week 9...
Sit Marcus Mariota (15.32 FP) – It’s not as if Mariota lit it up the Ravens, but he did do enough to win and with six teams on a bye last week, you’ll take Mariota’s 15 fantasy points all day long.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia
START THESE QBS...
Jared Goff, LAR (vs. HOU)
The Houston Texans are in the bottom five in terms of points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and Goff is on a roll coming off the best game of his career. If you weren’t able to pick up Tyrod Taylor a week or two ago for the byes, Goff will fill in well for Derek Carr, Alex Smith or Carson Wentz. Goff is a solid top-10 QB this week.
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. CLE)
The most expensive man in the league has been playing some solid real-life QB, but as far as fantasy goes, his games when he doesn’t have a TD are sinking his chances to be a top-10 QB at the end of the season. Over the last four weeks, Stafford ranks as the 11th-best QB, but he could crack the top five with a matchup against a Browns defense that has allowed multiple touchdown passes in six of their previous eight games.
Josh McCown, NYJ (at TB)
Another bye week replacement is McCown, who’s quietly nearing a top-10 year simply by default. That’s what happens when Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer all go down. Still, that’s not to take away from McCown’s strong stretch of games over the last five weeks. His basement is hovering around 20 points per game, and this week he’s facing a defense that is having trouble stopping anyone, giving up an average of 272 passing yards per game.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB (vs. NYJ)
The Jets will dare their ex-quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw. So, he will. This could be a fun game to watch as Fitzpatrick takes advantage of New York’s shaky secondary. If the Jets can repeat the pressure they put on Tyrod Taylor last week, Fitzpatrick could wind up throwing some interceptions, but there will be enough positive plays to produce a serviceable fantasy outing. With or without Mike Evans, the Buccaneers are recharged as Fitzpatrick fires up the team before going out and throwing for almost 400 yards against his former team.
SIT THESE QBs...
Philip Rivers, SD (at JAC)
Rivers will probably get some garbage-time action going, but there’s a good chance he spends at least a few minutes lying on the turf this Sunday. The Jaguars are a terrifying beast of a defense that should qualify almost every QB as a sit from here on out. Why? Because the Jaguars have easily allowed the fewest fantasy points to the position this season.
Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs. MIN)
Normally Cousins is a fine fantasy start, but Minnesota is playing too well against opposing QBs (giving up less than 6.5 yards per completion and are top eight in the league in sacks) and there are plenty of options out there. If the byes have killed you and you absolutely must start Cousins, fine. But if Josh McCown is out there, you might want to consider him this week if you are vying for a playoff spot in your league.
Jacoby Brissett, IND (vs. PIT)
The Steelers are not getting enough credit for the defense they’ve been playing. They’re second to only the Jaguars in both passing yards (180 ypg) and touchdown passes (6) allowed. With Pittsburgh coming off a bye, it’s hard to imagine Brissett being the QB to crack this defense. He may end up with an ok number of fantasy points if there’s a generous amount of garbage time, but his ceiling is awfully low.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Tyrod Taylor, BUF (vs. NO)
Last week Taylor made his fantasy owners happy by racking up a ton of garbage-time points, including taking three attempts to run the ball across the goal line himself while LeSean McCoy stood behind him in the backfield. That won’t happen against New Orleans. The Saints’ defense is loving their newfound status as a powerhouse. Look for reality to hit Taylor’s fantasy owners this week in what should be a run-heavy attack by Buffalo as the Saints completely shut down the Bills’ passing game.
START THESE DSTs...
New England Patriots (at DEN)
You had to know New England would not be the worst defense in football for long. Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick adjusted to personnel and game plans. Their latest scheme is a revisit to a 2014 strategy involving rushing linebackers to support their limited defensive line options. Over their last four games, the Patriots moved from the worst NFL fantasy DST to a mid-range option (16th). Coming off a bye week against an offense that suddenly can’t run and is looking for answers at quarterback seems like a great opportunity for the Patriots to take the next step.
Buffalo Bills (vs. NO)
The only thing worse for a dome team than a cold and snowy day is a cold and rainy day. That is what the weather forecast is calling as New Orleans comes to Buffalo for a rare outdoor, cold-weather game for the Saints. Drew Brees is 6-11 in temperatures under 50 degrees. On top of that, the Bills’ defense wants to bounce back from their Thursday night performance against the Jets in Week 9. Buffalo also has had extra time to address what went wrong and prepare for this game.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Cincinnati Bengals (at TEN)
The Bengals DST has had a couple of good fantasy performances against weaker offenses. Many fantasy sites are recommending them as a sleeper against the Titans. The thought is Tennessee’s running issues make this offense one-dimensional and a good matchup for Cincinnati. The problem with that is Marcus Mariota is feeling good and has his full complement of receivers back on the field. The addition of Corey Davis and his big-play ability should make things easier for the Titans’ other pass catchers. Tennessee will adjust by throwing the ball to open the running game instead of vice versa. The Bengals will pay the price.
Houston Texans (at LAR)
Houston’s defense doesn’t know who they want to get after first, Jared Goff or Tom Savage. The Texans will try to run the ball to keep their defense fresh, but it won’t matter much. A suspect secondary will be exposed by Goff and the Rams’ big-play offense. Los Angeles is not making mistakes and playing without fear right now. It will be a long day for Houston fans and anyone who chooses to start the Texans DST.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.
(Josh McCown photo courtesy of www.newyorkjets.com)