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 8 bye teams: Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers
Quarterbacks to consider
Note: New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was listed in this week’s “The Pick-up Joint” as a streaming play.
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions
It is tough to imagine a fantasy owner being in such a dire situation that Osweiler seems like a worthy choice, but the matchup assuages the decision.
The Lions have given up the third most per-game fantasy points (26.9) to quarterbacks since Week 2. This stems from allowing 12 touchdowns and picking off a mere two passes, giving up two more scores on the ground. Quarterbacks have averaged 273.4 aerial yards in this time frame.
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
The former Ram and Eagle will travel to the home of this division rival for a Monday Night Football showdown. The Vikings are likely to be without running back Jerick McKinnon, which could mean more passing. Bradford is available in 80-plus percent of leagues.
Chicago is exploitable through the air, giving up 22.1 fantasy points per contest in the its prior five games. The Bears have ceded eight offensive touchdowns by quarterbacks, picking off only three balls along the way. Passers have averaged 276 yards through the air in this time — consider that a sound figure for Bradford to reach.
Tight ends to trust
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions
Even if I’m dead wrong on Brock Osweiler having a good day, it doesn’t mean Fiedorowicz will also tank it. The Texans have involved him more of late — 27 targets over the past four weeks. He has at least four catches in each game and has scored twice over this time.
The Lions have been pitiful at preventing tight ends from scoring TDs. This group has given up one every 8.33 catches in the last five weeks, and that number worsens to one per 5.7 catches over the whole season. This group has yielded 13.5 PPR points per game since Week 2.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Owned in basically two-thirds percent of leagues polled, Ertz owners are clinging on to the hope he can get his 2016 season on track. Check your league wire to be sure. Should you be an Ertz owner, this is the week to take the shot on his rebound.
The Cowboys have given up the sixth most PPR points per game to the position over the past five weeks, including two touchdowns in the past four games.
Cozy up with a kicker
Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers
This one is in Mile High, where McManus gains the benefit of the doubt and a little boost in the distance department. This should be a low-scoring battle of field position, where points of any kind are at a premium. In those matchups, kickers always deserve a bump. McManus is available in more than 60 percent of leagues scanned.
Over its past five games, San Diego has permitted a league-high 21 extra points and a healthy 10 field goal attempts. Each touchdown-capper and eight of those 10 long-distance kicks split the uprights.
Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Minnesota’s once-promising kicker has been in a funk for some time. Walsh has not been granted many opportunities, kicking only six field goal attempts (four made) and nine extra points (eight made) in his last four games. This should be a low-scoring affair, as well, with Minnesota on the road probably down Jerick McKinnon.
The Bears have afforded 13 field goal attempts and 11 point-after tries since Week 2. Over this five-game span, that’s tied for the second most three-point kicks.
Get daring with this defense
Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rarely would I recommend a team traveling basically as far as possible domestically, but the Buccaneers are gifting fantasy points to defenses, and the Raiders have played well away from the bay. While Oakland hasn’t quite been productive in its own right, this matchup should provide enough chances to warrant a start with six teams on bye.
Tampa Bay has surrendered 11 sacks, two fumbles, four interceptions and a defensive touchdown in its last four games. That is good for the eighth most points per game scored by an opposing fantasy defense.