QB2 Streamers: Week 4
We are already 18.75 percent finished with the 2018 fantasy football season. This season has had the unexpected with Ryan Fitzpatrick continuing his QB1 ways. It’s also had severe disappointment from some veterans, including but not limited to Russell Wilson and Tom Brady. Then, last week saw Jimmy Garoppolo tear his ACL, just a week after Marcus Mariota was dealing with a bum elbow.
In Week 4, we now get to throw bye weeks into the mix! The Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers are on bye this week, so unfortunately TwoQBs guru Salvatore Stefanile will also likely be unavailable with no Alex Smith on the slate.
For transparency sake, last week’s results… Fishing Upstream Recommendations: Ryan Tannehill — 26.16 fantasy points/QB5, Joe Flacco — 15.28 fantasy points/QB18, Fishing Downstream Recommendation: Andrew Luck — 13.86 fantasy points/QB20.
Fishing Upstream: Two QB2s to stream in Week 4
Baker Mayfield vs. Oakland Raiders
In what might develop to be a trend in this article, quarterbacks facing the Oakland Raiders are getting my full blessing. All signs point to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry doing a little blessing of his own, too. Of course, Landry will be on the receiving end of passes from a new quarterback in a true fantasy blessing.
That’s right, folks, it’s Baker Mayfield szn. It might be three weeks late, but a correct decision has finally been made in Cleveland, Ohio. The decision comes as the 1-1-1 Browns go on the road to take on the winless Raiders in Oakland.
Yes, the Raiders defense is that bad. They have zero pass rush. They’re allowing 8.7 yards per passing attempt. Using Airyards.com data, opposing quarterbacks have an aDOT of 10.3 (second-highest in NFL). The Raiders have recorded just one interception and three sacks thus far.
Shocker, not shocker - Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield, considered the easy top-2 of the 2018 QB class in terms of being polished passers are both top-3 in NFL accuracy rate with a clean pocket. Small sample size, but off to predictable start.
— Chad Parsons (@ChadParsonsNFL) September 24, 2018
The sample size might be small in the NFL for Mayfield, but his college numbers painted the picture very clearly: Give Mayfield a clean pocket and his will dissect your defense. For a Raiders secondary that’s already struggling to contain opposing quarterbacks, what are they going to do against the Browns’ revamped offense? The answer is somewhere between zilch and nothing.
We've said it before, passer rating from a clean pocket is an extremely stable metric to predict future NFL success from college QBs.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 30, 2018
C. J. Beathard vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The San Francisco 49ers are going to feel the loss of Garoppolo, no doubt. Beathard, who started five games for the 49ers last season, could’ve had a lot worse game to make his first start in 2018, though. The Chargers defense has given up an average of 285 passing yards and 2.7 passing touchdowns per game thus far.
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) September 23, 2018
I’m not going to make a start/sit decision based on one throw alone, but that throw to George Kittle was a pretty nice pass considering the circumstances. Less than six minutes to go in the game, fourth-and-goal and the chance to put your team behind by only one touchdown. Of course, the 49ers had to settle for a field goal and never scored again.
Going into this week, however, Beathard will get the starters reps with a lot of familiar faces on offense. Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley could be the target of the revenge narrative as well. Bradley spurned the 49ers for their open defensive coordinator position a year ago, and current 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is a Bradley disciple. Keep expectations low with Beathard, but with two players on bye and the 49ers being 10.5-point underdogs, Beathard could provide just enough fantasy points to warrant a quality start this week.
Fishing Downstream: One QB1 to avoid in Week 4
Drew Brees vs. New York Giants
The New Orleans Saints have been an offensive juggernaut thus far in 2018. Week 4 might bring them back to the pack a little bit. The New York Giants defense isn’t dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re doing their part in holding opposing quarterbacks to minimal fantasy gains this season. Both Blake Bortles and Dak Prescott failed to eclipse 177 passing yards against the Giants. Last week, Deshaun Watson threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants. Of course, 85 of those passing yards and one of the touchdowns occurred on the final drive of the game in garbage time.
The Giants have been stingy in the red zone, allowing the seventh-lowest touchdown percentage to opposing offenses. According to Football Outsiders, the Giants are allowing the 12th-fewest points per drive (1.74) and the 12th-fewest yards per drive (29).
Brees in his career has played three games in New York. He’s thrown just one touchdown in all three games, with his last trip to the Big Apple in 2016, where he completed 29-of-44 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown. For Brees and the Saints, their biggest problem could be on the other side of the ball. Slot cornerback Patrick Robinson was lost for the season, creating a major hole in the Saints’ secondary. In case you hadn’t heard, the Giants have a couple of good slot receivers in Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard.
If the Giants can control the ball on offense, they might be in a great spot to keep Brees and company on the sidelines. That’s particularly important given that the Giants defense has been on the field for a lot of the 2018 season already. Of course, this game could also rapidly turn into a shootout if the defenses forget to come to work. The Saints opened up with an implied team total of 26.75 points and this game has an Over/Under of 50, the fourth-highest total of the week. The one injury to pay attention to on the Giants defense is Olivier Vernon. He has yet to play a snap this season, but could make his debut this weekend. Should Vernon play, even in limited fashion, the Giants defense becomes a bit more formidable of an opponent for Brees and the Saints.
Shurmur said Olivier Vernon and Eli Apple are better this Tuesday than they were last Tuesday.
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) September 25, 2018