QB2 Streamers: Week 8
Garbage time in fantasy football can change a lot. Right is wrong, bad is good, money is gained (or lost). Eli Manning became a top-10 quarterback in the closing seconds of Monday Night Football after not one, but two of the laziest failed quarterback sneaks in history. Cam Newton had 201 of his 269 passing yards and both his passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He did so on the road, trailing 17-0 to the defending champions. “Not For Long” strikes again.
Then there’s the bad garbage time. In the case of Blake Bortles, the stench became too much for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bortles was benched. This coming a week before the team plays in London. If ever there were a smash spot for Cody Kessler, it’s against an Eagles defense that gives up big chunks of yards in the passing game and just lost one of their premiere pass rushers. Of course, I said the same about Derek Anderson last week, and that went about as well as a Donald Trump rally in Sausalito, CA. So, speaking of garbage time, let’s review my picks from last week and get to the ones for this week.
For transparency sake, here are last week’s results: my “Fishing Upstream” recommendations were Anderson (4.00 fantasy points, QB30) and Joe Flacco (19.56 fantasy points, QB12), and my “Fishing Downstream” recommendation was Drew Brees (16.78 fantasy points, QB18).
In the case of streaming quarterbacks, and for the sake of this article, my focus is highlighting signal-callers to stream in the second quarterback slot in your 2QB or Superflex leagues (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 start in your QB1 slot to potentially reconsider due to a bad matchup.
FISHING UPSTREAM: TWO QB2S TO STREAM IN WEEK 8
Sam Darnold vs. Chicago Bears
As daunting as the Monsters of the Midway have been as a fantasy defense, the Bears have allowed a boatload of passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. They are tied for the seventh-most passing scores allowed this season. Opposing teams average 7.8 yards per pass attempt with an 8.5 aDOT (average depth of target).
Sam Darnold has been up-and-down in the big leagues. He started his NFL career with a win on prime time television, but his play as of late deserves to be relegated to late night infomercials. Fortunately for fantasy owners, it’s not for a lack of trying. Since 2000, Darnold has the 10th-most passing attempts seven games into his career and is second in passing touchdowns. Interceptions be damned, expect Darnold to keep chucking the ball.
The key for Darnold and the Jets is keeping the Bears’ pass rush at bay. Easier said than done. Against the Dolphins and the Patriots, the Bears didn’t get sufficient pressure. If that happens this week, the Bears might end up reading the back of Robby Anderson’s jersey multiple times.
The Bears have now allowed 7 pass plays of 40+ yards, tied with the Rams, Dolphins, Vikings and Raiders for most in the league.
The Bears' defense allowed 8 passing plays of 40+ yards in the entire 2017 season.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) October 21, 2018
Last week, Anderson had a 22% target share and led the league with 219 air yards.
Alex Smith vs. New York Giants
It wasn’t a matter of “if,” but “when” Alex Smith would be discussed in this series. The time has come. Washington hasn’t needed a pass-heavy attack much this season. Smith has only attempted more than 30 passes in three of his six starts, but look for Smith to challenge the Giants’ secondary big time on Sunday because the Giants officially began their 2018 fire sale by shipping the wrong Eli out of town.
Leaves Giants very thin in secondary https://t.co/Bv7PJE8xyK
— GiantsWFAN (@giantswfan) October 23, 2018
That’s outstanding news for Smith and Washington’s struggling passing attack. Despite missing Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder last week, Smith still produced an efficient stat line of 14-for-25 for 178 yards and one touchdown. Smith added 16 yards on the ground too.
The Giants have only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season, Alvin Kamara. No other running back has gained 80 yards on the ground or 100 yards from scrimmage. If Adrian Peterson can’t penetrate this defense on the ground, it’ll be up to TwoQBs’ favorite game manager to shoulder the burden. While Smith is still struggling to get on the same page as his receivers, there’s a chance some familiar faces could return to his arsenal this weekend.
FISHING DOWNSTREAM: ONE QB1 TO AVOID IN WEEK 8
Carson Wentz vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Carson Wentz is seemingly all the way back from his brutal ACL tear 10 months ago. The Philadelphia offense, however, has a long way to go before they’re producing at a clip like last year. For three-and-a-half quarters last week, Wentz made the case that the Eagles offense was back to normal. Then came the final couple plays of the game, the first of which was a controversial decision not to extend the drive on third and two.
Why Carson Wentz didn't target Wendell Smallwood on that 3rd and 2 late.
And why he could have anticipated Smallwood growing so open.
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 23, 2018
A fumble later closed out the game. To say the Eagles offense has been stagnant is a severe understatement. Head coach Doug Pederson has received an ear full about his play calling. Going against the Jaguars secondary this week in London is sure to be a stress-inducing task for the defending champs.
The Jaguars currently own a minus-30 point differential, but opposing quarterbacks aren’t doing much to exacerbate that. Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback to throw for more than 300 passing yards against the Jaguars (313), and he didn’t throw a single touchdown pass. Tom Brady and Dak Prescott are the only two quarterbacks to throw for more than one touchdown against the Jaguars this season, and neither topped 240 yards. Four quarterbacks have thrown for under 200 passing yards. Jacksonville has allowed the third-lowest completion percentage in the league at 59.3 percent. The wins might not be there for the Jaguars, but their defense is still making life difficult for quarterbacks.
Running backs have done more damage. Over the last three weeks, Jacksonville has allowed 293 rushing yards and three touchdowns to Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott, and Lamar Miller. But the Eagles have passed 62.5% of the time, so don’t expect Corey Clement or Wendell Smallwood to tote the rock 20 times in this game. Opportunity is always nice, but this will be a stout test for Wentz and company.