Week 1 Streaming Options QB/DST

Christian @ CKarayannides

Quarterback & Defense are the deepest positions in fantasy football, but they’re also the most matchup-reliant, which makes streaming your starter at these positions an excellent and effective strategy.

What is streaming? 

When you change your starter each week to exploit good matchups (usually with a player picked up off the waiver wire).

This strategy works well for drafters who chose to wait on QB & DST in any league size. In shallow leagues, there are a lot of good streaming options on the wire, and in deeper leagues, the replacement level of players is much lower, as starters/bench depth is thinner.


Quality QB Streaming Options in Week 1

Carson Palmer

Owned in 22.9% of NFL.com leagues

Palmer is a quality pick for Week 1, but also has an easy slate of games to start the season. He is my personal favorite QB to pair with Andrew Luck, who can take over for Palmer once he’s back.

Carson Palmer plays in head coach Bruce Arian’s high-flying offense that allows him to look deep on throws to his wide receivers. The Cards often see single coverage on their outside WR as teams bring their safeties down to try to contain star running back David Johnson.

With ageless Larry Fitzgerald and a healthy John Brown, Carson should see plenty of open looks against a Lions secondary that added very little veteran depth and allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs.

Sam Bradford

Owned in 7.5% of NFL.com leagues

A quality streaming option in deeper leagues, Sam Bradford faces the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. The Saints gave up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing QBs due to a sub-average defense and a fast pace of play. New Orleans will always put up a ton of points, meaning opposing teams will be looking to throw a lot in order to keep pace.

Bradford showed surprising accuracy and poise last season, and Minnesota enters Week 1 with a plethora of returning weapons including underrated slot receiver Adam Thielen, red zone monster TE Kyle Rudolph, and NFL.com Matt Harmon’s favorite sleeper, outside WR Stefon Diggs. The offense should also be more balanced, with 2nd round pick RB stud Dalvin Cook, who should see plenty of work in the passing game as well.

They key for Bradford’s success will be the play of his defense to get the ball out of the hands of opposing QB Drew Brees, and Minnesota’s depleted offensive line’s ability to protect Bradford in the pocket.

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Quality Defense Streaming Options in Week 1

Los Angeles Rams

Owned in 51.2% of NFL.com leagues

Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald continues to hold out of team activities as they negotiate a new contract. Donald is arguably the 2nd best defensive player in the league and is criminally underpaid under the rules of his rookie contract. If he ends the holdout in the next few days or not, the Rams are in prime position to dominate a Colts team which is misfiring on all cylinders.

Colts GM Chris Ballard told Indy press on Monday that Andrew Luck will indeed sit out Week 1 & backup QB Scott Tolzien will get the start. Anytime a defense is facing a backup, you need to pounce, but Tolzien is especially poor quality (trust me, I’m a Colts fan who’s seen him start).

The Colts offensive line is missing their top starter in center Ryan Kelly, and their remade defense is woefully under experienced, suffering from key injuries, and lacking cohesion. The Rams offense should leave their defense with good field position all day and I expect a great showing for many Rams’ players in Week 1.

Buffalo Bills DST

Owned in 7.5% of NFL.com leagues

Streaming defenses follow a reliable trend. They usually represent capable, but not elite defenses who have incredible match-ups. This is exactly the case for the Buffalo Bills who get the hapless NY Jets at home in Week 1. The Jets offense lacks playmakers and is bound to be a turnover machine that will make any defense look elite.

My one concern for the Bills DST is their offense. After moving WRs Sammy Watkins & Robert Woods, the Bills appear to be in full tank mode. To make matters worse, capable QB Tyrod Taylor is still in concussion protocol and might miss the start. The offense will be entirely in the hands of stud RB LeSean Mccoy, who will hopefully produce enough offense to keep the Bills offense on the field.

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Pittsburgh Steelers 

Owned in 47.5% of NFL.com leagues

The Steelers were an average defense last year, but have the advantage of facing a young Cleveland offense led by rookie QB Deshon Kizer. Pittsburgh’s recent addition of shutdown corner Joe Haden should allow them to run a lot of blitzes to test the resolve of Cleveland’s rookie QB and their newly improved O-line.

I expect Kizer to turn the ball over multiple times and for the Steelers top-class offense to dominate the time of possession and field position in this match-up.

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