A popular tactic in fantasy football is known as “streaming,” where owners cycle through the best available matchups among waiver wire options from week to week. This strategy is most commonly used with defensive teams, place kickers, tight ends and sometimes even quarterbacks.
Week 7 bye teams: Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys
Quarterbacks to consider
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Dalton threw five touchdown passes in two games against the Browns last year, but he failed to top 234 yards. He added a rushing touchdown in Week 13. The Bengals have added motivation to take out their collective frustrations against the lowlier Browns.
The Browns, for the record, are unequivocally awful versus the position. Cleveland has allowed a touchdown every 13.3 throws, which is second only to Detroit’s anemic pass defense. When looking at completions leading to touchdowns, no team was weaker than the Browns. One of every 8.6 connections finds paydirt. Quarterbacks have averaged 295.3 aerial yards, which ranks as the ninth most.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints
This one could become a shootout, but that will require the Saints to play well on the road and in a hostile environment. Smith has largely been what gamers would expect — a manager of the offense — but has thrown for more than 285 yards and two touchdowns twice this year. Iffy, for sure, but finding smart risks is what it’s all about.
The stats against New Orleans: 314 passing yards per game, which is the second worst. The Saints have allowed 23.2 fantasy points per contest, and eight offensive TDs in five games.
Tight ends to trust
Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions
Jordan Reed has been ruled out, which again opens the door for Davis. He caught two passes for 50 yards, including a 13-yard score, in Week 6 while replacing Reed. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson could also miss the game or be limited if he plays.
Detroit continues to be a walk in the park for tight ends. Seven of the 33 catches allowed by Detroit have found end zone. That translates to a touchdown every 4.7 catches through six contests.
Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers
After hurting his hip several weeks back, Tamme’s involvement has plummeted. He has played through the injury and should be close to 100 percent at this point. There is a lot of risk with this one, as much as any streamer carries, at least.
San Diego has given up only one touchdown on 32 catches, which is among the least exploitable ratios in the league. The upside here is that only nine teams have given up more TDs to TEs. The plus side: There’s a tremendous level of red zone attention paid to the likes of Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, particularly nearly the end zone.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams (in London)
Looking for a total flier? I mean as wild as it gets … Donnell’s matchup is technically on the lower end of things, but one stat stands out: The Rams have permitted only 21 catches to tight ends, but one of every seven has gone for a touchdown. Donnell is seldom used, but maybe — and this is a coin flip of a maybe — he scores a cheap touchdown this week.
Cozy up with a kicker
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is about the matchup. Jacksonville has been remarkably solid against quarterbacks, and Derek Carr looked human last week. Kickers have been perfect against the Jags, nailing all 12 field goal and extra point attempts. This translates to the fourth most fantasy points per game, 9.8, when distance kicks are not included for bonus points.
Get daring with this defense
Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
The Ravens may be a popular streaming play with Geno Smith making his starting debut in 2016 for the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s awesomeness led to many of the stats to follow, but there’s little reason based on history to believe Smith is going to fare any better. The Jets provided the fourth most fantasy points per game through six games, fueled by 15 turnovers, or 2.5 on average, and three touchdowns over this time. Baltimore should be able to exploit Smith and Co. even more so in leagues that reward low-scoring point totals against.