At this stage of the season, streaming is a vital strategy that can make the difference between winning a title and finishing 4th. Owners who best take advantage of matchups to sure up the weaknesses of their rosters greatly enhance their odds of winning. Given the plethora of options available at those positions where we only start 1 player, the key to your championship run might be just one click away. Check your free agent list and see if one of these players might offer more value than the incumbent on your roster.
Like Andy mentioned yesterday in his QB streamer article, many owners are aggressively seeking the premier matchup plays (especially at DST) so owners may need to look a week in advance to lock up the best options. We will look at the next two weeks in this column. Every player highlighted below is owned in 50% or less in ESPN leagues.
Tight End: Whether you need to replace Jimmy Graham permanently, Gronk for the week, or upgrade a struggling option, your solution could be found here.
Week 13 Tight End
Kyle Rudolph – 46% owned: Rudolph’s usage has spiked the last two weeks with 13 catches over that span. He also faces the Seahawks whose defense is most vulnerable down the seams. The Seahawks are ranked 29th in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Rudolph is the top add for this week.
Scott Chandler – 2% owned: Chandler faces the Eagles in week 13, who are actually among the best in the NFL against the tight end. Chandler’s value for this week is tied to Gronk’s status, who appears likely to miss a game. Given the state of Brady’s receiver corps and the fact that the Eagles defense has completely collapsed, Chandler is a good bet to find the endzone.
Owen Daniels – 17% owned: The Broncos have been using many 2 tight end sets since Osweiler took over and Owen Daniels has benefitted the most. He has 9 catches for 127 yards over the past two weeks and he prepares to face the Chargers in week 13. San Diego is ranked 25th against tight ends this year. Vernon Davis also could make for a solid play. If deciding between the two, Davis offers the higher ceiling, but Daniels has the higher floor.
Deep League Special:
Cameron Brate – 0% owned: Brate’s value could completely collapse if Seferian-Jenkins ever comes back. In the meantime, he is developing a nice rapport with Jameis Winston. Brate has scored touchdowns in back to back games, has seen his target totals rise over the past three weeks and he has great matchups the next two weeks (Falcons and Saints).
Vance McDonald – 1 % owned: His matchups are not particularly great, but McDonald has emerged as one of Gabbert’s preferred passing game options (especially in the red zone). He has gone over 60 yards and caught a touchdown in back to back games.
Week 14 Tight End
Crockett Gillmore – 23% owned: Gillmore is the top add for week 14. He scored 10 fantasy points in weeks 10 and 11, the Ravens offense is almost completely bereft of weapons, and he faces the Seahawks in week 14. For owners looking ahead to their first playoff matchup, Gillmore is your man. In fact, Gillmore’s week 14 matchup is so good that if you only have 1 roster spot reserved for the tight end, using him against the Dolphins in week 13 is a good idea.
Vernon Davis – 38% owned: The Broncos face the Raiders in week 14. Oakland is 30th in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Since I featured Daniels for week 13, Davis gets the nod here. Both men make solid plays, but I still think Daniels is safer.
Cameron Brate – 0% owned: Brate’s matchup in week 13 is pretty good. In week 14, he draws the hapless Saints. If you can’t stomach rolling the dice on Brate in week 13, perhaps this makes an even better spot.
Defense/Special Teams: DSTs are all about the matchups. Looking for spots against mediocre quarterbacks and porous offensive lines is the way to go here. Bad weather can also make an otherwise daunting matchup look a lot better.
Week 13 Defense
Tennessee Titans – 24% owned: The Titans are tied for 3rd in the NFL in sacks, and they have a home date against Blake Bortles and the Jags who give them up at a torrid pace. When these two teams met week 11 in Jacksonville, the Titans sacked Bortles 4 times and forced 2 turnovers. They are a safe bet for positive points in week 13.
Houston Texans – 49% owned: After a slow start, the Texans have caught fire the last few weeks. They have held 3 of their last 4 opponents to exactly 6 points and the 4th only managed 17. Their matchup at Buffalo is not ideal since the Texans are fairly average against the run, but it is not one to shy away from either. The way the Texans have played lately, they look nearly matchup proof.
Washington Redskins – 3% owned – The Redskins defense is trending in the right direction and they get a home date against a Romo-less Cowboys squad. Although the division race is still close, Dallas could be ripe for the picking coming off a very emotional defeat to the Panthers. There is plenty of risk in this pick, but the Redskins offer sky-high upside if Dallas melts down.
Miami Dolphins – 28% owned: The Dolphins are a bad football team. They still have some talent on the defensive side of the ball, however, and they face a depleted Ravens team that will be without their quarterback, their top wide receiver and their top running back. Starting any fantasy defense against the Ravens is not a bad idea.
Week 14 Defense
I have to say, I really hate most of the matchups for the streamer candidates in week 14. There is not a single matchup that jumps out as one I would like to exploit. Perhaps week 13 injuries will change things a little. Here are a couple to consider:
Detroit Lions – 10% owned: The Lions have been playing some pretty good football lately. In week 14 they face off against the struggling Rams in St. Louis. The upside is that the Lions have averaged 3.33 sacks per game since their bye and they have held all 3 opponents to 16 points or less. If they have another decent showing against the Packers this Thursday, they will be among the safest picks for week 14.
Tennessee Titans – 24% owned: The Titans are at the Jets in what figures to be a relatively low scoring game. I don’t love this matchup by any stretch of the imagination, but the Titans are very good at pressuring the QB and their run defense has improved lately. The Jets on the road are far from an ideal streaming target though.
Need more Streamer options, injury news, waiver wire pick-ups, etc.., head on over to Fantasy Rundown.