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Week 13 QB Streaming: Three to Target and One to Avoid

After two big weeks in a row, we’re looking to keep the hot streak going into the fantasy playoffs.

Special thanks this week to Chip Kelly, who helped make Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Tannehill top-six QBs this week. I missed on Scott Tolzien, which feels even worse because Matt Barkley and Trevor Siemian each scored more than 20 fantasy points.1 Still, I can’t complain about these results:

StatusQBFanDuel PointsQB Rank
Option 1Colin Kaepernick34.11
Option 2Ryan Tannehill26.85
Option 3Scott Tolzien10.831
AvoidMatthew Stafford16.324

Indeed, we’re back up to streaming one QB1 and two QB2s on the season. And that’s based on points per game. Looking at total points, we’re doing far better.

StatusPoints per gameSeason-long PPG rank
Option 119.911
Option 217.918
Option 316.421
Avoid17.219

Week 13 looks like a classic streaming week, with some appetizing matchups for not-so-appetizing passers.

Note: Against my better judgment, I’m retiring Colin Kaepernick from the QB streaming column. Although he’s available in more than 70 percent of ESPN leagues, he should be owned in all competitive leagues. His points have been nice the last few weeks, but you don’t need me to tell you to stream Kaepernick. He’s the top streamer in any league where he’s available. 

Option 1: Alex Smith @ Atlanta

Rostered: 24.2 percent
Spread: +3.5
O/U: 49.0

Smith rewarded us in Week 11 with 20.6 points, the top streaming performance on the week. After an expected dud against the Broncos, he should be back in your good graces with a matchup against Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed 22.0 points per game, which remains the most in the league. They’ve stiffened up a bit lately, allowing just 18.9 points per game over their last six. But they faced just one top-12 QB over that span.

Smith has faced a crushing schedule for opposing QBs, but he’s performed well against soft defenses (except when he got knocked out of the game against Indianapolis). And we can expect him to put the ball in the air to keep up with the Falcons’ offense.

Option 2: Ryan Fitzpatrick v. Indianapolis

Rostered: 9.1 percent
Spread: 0
O/U: 49.0

Fitzpatrick is a streamer’s delight this week. He’s facing a Colts defense that has allowed 21.0 QB fantasy points per week, second most in the league. His team’s implied total is a respectable 24.5. And the game has true shootout potential if Andrew Luck returns from his Week 11 concussion, as expected.

Of course, things also looked pretty good for Fitzpatrick in Week 8, when he put up a measly 14.4 points against the Browns. It’s not just that week, either. He’s mustered more than 20 fantasy points just once all season. The main driver is Fitzpatrick’s terrible efficiency near the end zone. He has just 3 touchdowns on 21 pass attempts from within 10 yards of the end zone. That 14.2 percent touchdown rate is worst in the league, and it isn’t even close. The next worst is Kirk Cousins, who has scored on 21.2 percent of his inside-the-10 passes. I expect some positive regression from Fitzpatrick near the goal line. Combine that with a get-well matchup, and you have a strong streaming option.

Option 3: Matt Barkley v. San Francisco

Rostered: 0.4 percent
Spread: -2.5
O/U: 43.5

We said last week that the 49ers are reaching auto-stream status. Ryan Tannehill rewarded us with 26.8 fantasy points, his highest total of the season. That brings the 49ers to 20.4 QB points per game allowed, fourth most in the league. Now their QB generosity gets a real test.

Barkley is coming off a 22.6-point effort against the Titans, but it took him 54 pass attempts to reach that total. Through two games, Barkley is averaging 5.8 yards per pass attempt. He’s sporting a 49.2 percent completion rate to go with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. There’s no reason to think Barkley is hashtag-good. But there is reason to think he’ll be throwing the ball early and often against the 49ers. Forty-plus attempts and at least one touchdown pass would make him a respectable streaming option.

Avoid: Blake Bortles v. Denver

Rostered: 66.6 percent
Spread: +5.0
O/U: 41.5

The Bortles detractors may have taken their victory lap a few weeks too early. Bortles, drafted at QB9, resides comfortably at QB12 in points per game. But if you’ve been riding Bortles’ recent success, you need to scurry for another option. The Jaguars face Denver, Minnesota, and Houston in the next three weeks. If you start Bortles over that stretch, you won’t be around in the title game to take advantage of a Week 16 matchup with the Titans.

  1. As always, we use FanDuel scoring.  (back)
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